Alan Bennett
The Uncommon Reader

Author: Alan Bennett
Read by: Alan Bennett
BBC Audio
RRP: 12.99
ISBN: 978 1 4056 8747 8
Available 03 September 2007

It was the corgis' fault. When they strayed through the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Queen discovered the City of Westminster travelling library. The Queen has never had much time for reading - pleasure's always come second place to duty - "though now that one is here I suppose one ought to borrow a book". She is about to discover the joys of literature, albeit late in life...

Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader is an amusing tale that sees the Queen getting hooked on reading books after she accidentally happens upon the local travelling library.

One book leads to another and the Queen is soon engrossed in the delights of reading. However, this uncommon reader creates an uncommon problem. The royal household dislikes the Queen's new interest; it makes them uneasy. Books are devices that ignite the imagination. And devices like that are likely to explode.

It's not long before the Queen is pretending to be ill so that she can skip royal engagements - instead spending time reading her books.

Alan Bennett reads his new story about HM the Queen's all-consuming new interest, which was (or is about to be - as this review was written before broadcast began) originally aired on Radio 4 between 10-14 September 2007.

For those that enjoyed the original broadcast, you'll be delighted to find plenty more on this CD collection - which is twice as long as the version broadcast.

This is a heart-warming, amusing tale that illustrates why Alan Bennett is still one of the UK's best loved authors.

Pete Boomer

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