8 Dec 2009



Led by her yapping corgis to the Westminster travelling library outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen finds herself taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett. Duff read though it is, the following week her choice proves more enjoyable and 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, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen's literary odyssey to a close.

..... From the back cover.

First Sentence: At Windsor it was the evening of the state banquet and as the president of France took his place beside Her Majesty, the royal family formed up behind and the procession slowly moved off and through into the Waterloo Chamber.

Memorable Moment: It transpired that with no prior notification to her attendants the Queen had abandoned her long-standing lines of inquiry - length of service, distance travelled, place of origin - and had embarked on a new conversational gambit, namely, "What are you reading at the moment?" To this very few of Her Majesty's loyal subjects had a ready answer (though one did try: "The Bible?")

A Book Club read and probably not a book I would have picked up for myself. Written by Alan Bennett, an author for some reason I wouldn't have thought of reading, and with a rather plain red cover, this book would, more than likely, have stayed on the shelf - just goes to show how wrong I could be.

"A beguiling bedtime story for grown-ups" claims the Daily Telegraph. "A masterpiece of comic brevity" says the Observer. The Uncommon Reader is both of these and so much more.

At only 121 pages, it may seem like a short read and it is but, that said, it's long enough - any longer and I think the author may have been in danger of ruining what was a wonderful, at times, laugh-out-loud novel, full of witty observations - I just love the idea of the Queen neglecting her royal duties (not to mention her corgis) in order to read.

With an ending that both Husband dearest and I found ever so slightly disappointing though I really can't say why without giving away some of the plot - all I will say is, this book is well worth the read.

MY RATING: 5 out of a possible 5.


Kelly said...

Sounds like a fun book. I'm not familiar with it or the auther. Must be a British thing.

I had to smile at mention of her Corgis, though. (I'm such a sucker for dogs)

Just Playin' said...

It sounds most interesting though I haven't heard of it either. I love to visualize the Queen with her feet up, a cup of tea, and a blankie!

Vivienne said...

An interesting read. I am just trying to imagine the Queen disregarding her duties in order to read. I can totally relate to that.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Yes I would take Edward over Jacob any day. Jacob is cute though and wouldn't turn him away. LOL! Jacob is a bit annoying (to me) in the books. I guess I am a vampire girl.

Kissed by an Angel said...

The book does sound like fun!! I just can't imagine the Queen slacking though!!


Jenners said...

Sounds like a fun, delightful read ... and a book I probably would have passed by left to my own devices!

Alyce said...

I read this one last year and loved it. I'm glad to see that you liked it so much too!

chitra said...

though I do not know much about what you have written about the queen i am trying to learn lot of things from your blogs.
I loved the seasons greetings and the flash game you have posted.

kiirstin said...

Oh, I loved this book. I read it in an afternoon and laughed out loud at points. It left me with a huge smile on my face. It was outside my regular reading lines, but I picked it up on a whim after reading someone else's review of it and I just thought it was marvelous.

I think -- think -- I understand what you mean about the ending, though. There was just something a little... something. Hard to talk about without giving it away!

Rob Innis said...

Must warn my friend, who has a garden party invitation in the pipeline, about the Queens small talk!

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Christian, iwspo.net