Monday, November 16, 2015

Novella November Review: The Uncommon Reader

This is my second book for Novella November and certainly a good choice! My mother is from England and, although I have yet to visit, I have always loved everything English, especially the Queen and the late Queen Mum, who shared my birthday which made it extra special each year.  

This book was a joy to read from beginning to end.  As soon as the Queen's badly behaved dogs ran into the traveling library and she discovered it's existence, I was hooked.  Her transformation from nonreader, to passionate reader, to writer was truly beautiful to read.  One of the most delightful parts of the book was how the Queen's advisors tried to secretly sabotage her reading and her reaction to their attempts.  

One of my favorite parts was when she hid her book behind the cushion in her carriage during an event. When she returned, the book was gone.  When she found out that her security had thought the book might be a "device" and destroyed it (really it was just hidden from her), she simply declared that a new copy had better find its way to her desk by morning and continued her journey, leaving behind a very unhappy staff member. It was a perfect moment.

I often found myself chuckling out loud as I read some of Her Majesty's responses to her staff and their bumbling attempts to discourage her reading. I will not give away any more of the story but I highly recommend picking this book up.  I may even read it a second time!

Synopsis from Amazon:
When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.

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