I was at Stansted airport waiting for a flight to Poland a week ago. I was bored, and with nothing to do except walk around the shops my eyes fleeted back and forth from the digital board hoping our gate would be open sooner rather than later.
I had circled the departure lounge three, four times before I lost count and decided I’d had enough before eventually pointing to my wife and spiralling into ‘WHSmith Books’.
I remembered my MA tutor advising me to find books by playwright Alan Bennett and to read them over the holiday. This would help me comprehend the style of genre I was attempting to write for my next writing assignment.
I located a couple and popped them into my backpack (I purchased them of course).
When we finally boarded the aircraft I pulled out ‘The Uncommon Reader’ and glanced at the front cover – ‘a masterpiece of comic brevity’. Then I began reading, already with a prempted smile.
The Queen comes across a mobile library one night whilst walking her Corgis and borrows a book. As strange as it may seem that the Queen would borrow a book in this fashion, the narrative really does provide the reality through a real yet comical setting. The Queen is written in a way that she retains her eminency but is ever so endearing. Her hunger for reading grows and her preference to public duty dwindles as she starts to neglect it. She reads obscure and unknown readers, from Marcel Proust to Vikram Seth and Thomas Hardy to Anita Brookner, but then her seditious world of literature leads her to question her life and the political world she heads.
The story is short but is full of anecdotes and facts about politics and the world of the written form. Her equerries conspire to bring the Queen’s literary odyssey to an end, but she insists on writing her own book. Bennet upholds the Queens virtue with a twist in the plot on the very last page. There is absolutely nothing to dislike about this humorous novella.
You get 120 pages of page turning addiction, and is a book aimed at everyone. It’s funny, serious, technical and light all at the same time, and the premise along with the characterisation is just superb.
Is must have been great. When the aircraft finally landed I had finished it. I’m scared of flying, but this is the first time I didn’t noticed the 1 hour 40 minute journey. A classic remedy to pteromerhanophobia or aerophobia (as it’s easier to say).
Happy New Year to you all!