The Uncommon Reader (Paperback)

Alan Bennett

What would happen if the Queen became a reader of taste and discernment rather than of Dick Francis? The answer is a perfect story.

'Oh Norman,' said the Queen, 'the prime minister doesn't seem to have read any Hardy. Perhaps you could find him one of our old paperbacks on his way out.'

Had the dogs not taken exception to the strange van parked in the royal grounds, the Queen might never have learnt of the Westminster travelling library's weekly visits to the palace. But finding herself at its steps, she goes up to apologise for all the yapping and ends up taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett, last borrowed in 1989. Duff read though it proves to be, upbringing demands she finish it and, so as not to appear rude, she withdraws another. This second, more fortunate choice of book awakens in Her Majesty a passion for reading so great that her public duties begin to suffer. And so, as she devours work by everyone from Hardy to Brookner to Proust to Samuel Beckett, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen's literary odyssey to a close.

Subversive and highly enjoyable, The Uncommon Reader offers the perfect argument for reading, written by one of its great champions, Alan Bennett.

Publication date: 03/07/2008

£7.99

7.99

ISBN: 9781846681332

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Fiction

The Uncommon Reader (Paperback)

Alan Bennett

The bestselling classic reissued for the Queen's 95th birthday

What would happen if the Queen became a reader of taste and discernment rather than of Dick Francis? The answer is a perfect story.

The Uncommon Reader is none other than HM the Queen who drifts accidentally into reading when her corgis stray into a mobile library parked at Buckingham Palace. She reads widely ( JR Ackerley, Jean Genet, Ivy Compton Burnett and the classics) and intelligently. Her reading naturally changes her world view and her relationship with people like the oleaginous prime minister and his repellent advisers. She comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with much that she has to do. In short, her reading is subversive. The consequence is, of course, surprising, mildly shocking and very funny.

Publication date: 25/03/2021

£7.99

7.99

ISBN: 9781788168069

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Fiction

Reviews for The Uncommon Reader

'For all its hilarity The Uncommon Reader has a heartfelt tone. It offers a lament on old age, some thoughts on reticence and a backward glance at a life wasted.'

 Sunday Times

'An exquisitely produced jewel of a book.'

 The Times

'Pure gold ... you would be hard put to find a defter satire on British philistinism ... the dialogue is priceless.'

 Mail on Sunday

'Light, fresh, witty and warm.'

 Daily Telegraph

'Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader would make a perfect stocking filler for just about anyone.'

Monica Ali Guardian

'Testament to Bennett's extraordinary skill - genius even'

Nicholas Lezard Guardian

'Wonderfully subversive'

 Independent

Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett has been one of our leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His television series Talking Heads has become a modern-day classic, as have many of his works for the stage, including Forty Years On, The Lady in the Van, A Question of Attribution, The Madness of King George Ill (together with the Oscar-nominated screenplay The Madness of King George) and an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. The History Boys won Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and Olivier awards, as well as the South Bank Award. On Broadway, The History Boys won five New York Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics' Circle Awards, a New York Drama Critics' Award for Best Play, a New York Drama League Award and six Tonys including Best Play. The film of The History Boys was released in 2006. Alan Bennett's collection of prose, Untold Stories, won the PEN/Ackerley Prize for Autobiography, 2006. His 2009 play, The Habit of Art, received glowing reviews and was broadcast live the following year by National Theatre Live. In 2012 People premiered at the National Theatre to widespread critical acclaim. The film of The Lady in the Van starring Maggie Smith was released in 2015, sending Bennett's memoir of the same name to the top of the bestseller list for nine weeks.

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