Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Uncommon Reader

by Alan Bennett.

I have another book, that I read before this, that I will blog soon (Sex God, by Rob Bell. Not my usual, to say the least) and I'm currently reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (flipping awesome so far.)  The Uncommon Reader has both snuck in and queue-jumped.

My glasses broke a couple of days ago (bear with me), and so I ordered some replacement pairs. They were due to arrive today, and as I'm off to Latitude this afternoon, I was hoping they would. Packages being too big for our letter box, I thought it best to wait around for the Postie.

Posties arrive early, right? That's what I always thought. It's a morning job, I've been brought up to believe, and I've never had much reason to question that.

However, after giving my new tent a trial run in the front garden (prime Postie-viewing spot, too) and reading 20-odd pages of Cloud Atlas, and coughing ridiculously for unreasonable lengths of time, Postie still had yet to come. It was about 10.30 by this point.

A lesser man (you) would have given up at this point. Not I. I knew Postie would be along within the next few minutes, so I perused my Dad's bookshelves for a joke book or something -- there wasn't enough time to bother recommitting to Cloud Atlas -- that would distract me for a minute or two. Instead of a joke book, I spotted this Bennett novella, which I've been intended to read since it first emerged. 'Sod it,' I thought. 'I'll read the first couple of pages.'

124 pages later, Postie knocked. I finished off the last sentence and tried on my new glasses. For some reason, one of the pairs has a red frame.

So that's how I ended up reading this book, at this point. An interesting story, no doubt. And I think I casn justify it under my Summer Of Strangers, because I've never read Bennett's fiction before, only memoirs.

While this blog isn't really a reviewy place, I should probably mention what I thought of the book...

I loved it. Funny and smart and so easy to read. It's sort of a fable, sort of a fairy tale, but exceptionally down to earth and without any fairies (well... No.)

The eye-twinklingly smart Queen is a charming lead, with a well-tuned bullshit detector that matches her absolute need for one.

I hope it doesn't make me lazy or shallow that one of my favourite things about The Uncommon Reader is it's lack of length. And I hope it doesn't make me illiterate or word-clumsy that I can't write anything that conveys how good this book is as completely as the fact I read it in one impromptu sitting.

1 comment:

  1. BENNETT. LOVE IT. This is a great book. Err. Not sure what else to say there