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Friday, 12 December 2008

The Uncommon Reader

I have just finished reading Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader. It's one of the most charming books I've read for a long time. The Queen stumbles across a mobile library when she is following the corgis. In order to be polite she borrows a book and starts talking to ginger haired Norman who works in the kitchen and is also looking for something to read. A touching and unlikely friendship develops between them. Norman recommends books for her to read but Her Majesty is soon off on a journey of her own. She is never seen without a book in her hand even reading one in the coach on the way to the state opening of Parliament. She hides it behind the cushions whilst she goes to make her speech and discovers it has been exploded as a suspicious object on her return. There are many incidents like this as the Queen's courtiers try to break her obsession with reading and her friendship with Norman. To say more would be to give away the plot - slight though it is. The masterpiece is the finale with Her Majesty inviting the whole of the Privy Council to tea and making a speech to them. I loved it.

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