Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett: A review of the audiobook

Uncommon Reader CD

I saw Bennett's play The Habit of Art a few months ago and have been picking up his writing ever since.  I found this audiobook of The Uncommon Reader at my local library and listened to it on a road trip this weekend.

Bennett himself reads the story and it's wonderful.  A novella that comes in at under 2.5 hours listening time, this hilarious tale depicts what might happen were the Queen to pick up reading as a habit. After chasing her dogs around back of the Palace, the Queen wanders into the local library's bookmobile and ends up leaving with a novel and promoting a kitchen servant (who was borrowing books at the same time she was) to be her reading assistant.  As she becomes more and more of a reader, her behaviour around and outside the palace changes, much to the consternation of her staff, family, and the general public (who are now being asked what they are reading as the Queen does her walk-bys.)  

This novel speaks to the power of reading in a gentle and humorous way. The story is quite believable, in a sort of incredulous way, and the reading itself is wonderful, with Bennett voicing the various characters with much aplomb.

Highly Recommended!


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