Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Uncommon Reader

One day while shelving books, I spotted a small thin red book and I grabbed it. It was titled The Uncommon Reader and written by Alan Bennett. I thought the cover looked very nice - it features a silhouette of a woman reading a book with a crown on her head - a silhouette of the Queen of England. She is reading very politely too, with her pinky held slightly away from the rest of her fingers.

The plot does center around the Queen of England. She one day stumbles upon a mobile library and borrows a book out of politeness. That sets off an appreciation and newfound love for reading, one that is not too welcome by other members of the staff, including the Queen's private secretary. Her love of reading grows but not everyone appreciates it, but she does manage to get across to some people, including the public. Towards the end of the story, the Queen realizes that reading will only take her so far - it is time for her to take the next step - to write.

It was at this point that I realized that the Queen's problem is my problem. There are so many books that I have that I want to read, more now that I just went to the annual book sale we go to. At the same time, I want to write, to write a book, a story, but because I spend so much time reading, I sometimes don't have time. I think I should follow the Queen's example and spend a bit more time writing now that I actually do have the time.

At the end of the story, the Queen announces her idea to write, and many of her staff and previous prime ministers are against it; the prime minister at the current time is worried that her book will reveal things (probably about him and others) that will be embarrassing to him, so he reminds the Queen that she must abdicate to write the book she is thinking about writing. She then asks them all, "Why do you think you are all here?" And like that, the story ends.

I really enjoyed this story. The writing was nice and calming and witty in many places. I loved the theme of reading and I love history, such as British History, so reading a story about The Queen was interesting to me. Something else I loved about the book was that Charles Dickens was mentioned at least three times. There were a few minor things that I didn't find too funny, but for the most part the book was a lovely read.

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