I go through long spells of reading books that are ok, not great, not brilliant, just ok. Then I get lucky and start hitting some gems. One of those gems was The End of Your Life Book Club, and from that book I found The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. Bennett is an author I was not familiar with, but I should have been . He is better known as a playwright and wrote the play The History Boys and co-authored the screenplay for the movie. I LOVED The History Boys! He also wrote the play and screenplay for The Madness of King George another movie I love. So I shouldn't be surprised by his absolutely brilliant little book The Uncommon Reader, it was wonderful, and far too short at 120 pages. I plan on rereading it immediately!
The story is simple, one day while chasing her dogs outside at Windsor Castle Queen Elizabeth notices a Book Mobile, a traveling library from the City of London parked out back. The dogs enter it and she follows. Inside she chats with the driver/librarian and the lone patron, Norman, who turns out to be a worker in her kitchen. Not wanting to be ungratful, and though she's not much of a reader, "she read of course, as one did, but liking books was something she left to other people." she checked out a book. She worked her way through the book and meant to have someone else return it the next week, but instead finds herself in the book mobile once again where, with the help of Norman her kitchen helper she checks out another book, and soon her fascination with books really takes off. To the dismay of nearly everyone she turns into a reader.
Oh it was so much fun to watch her journey through books and how she grew as a person.
What a great movie this would make, I picture Judie Dench or Helen Mirren (hasn't she played her once before?) playing her.
If you're looking for an amusing, well written book I couldn't recommend it more highly. Mac, after listening to me go on about it, says he's going to read it too.