The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett
Walking her corgis, the Queen stumbles upon a mobile library and Norman the kitchen worker borrowing a book. Since she meets the librarian, she feels she ought to borrow a book. From there she gradually slides down the slippery slope of habitual reading . . .
Next thing you know a royal procession is delayed for 2 minutes while the Queen's forgotten book is fetched. Norman is promoted to a page so he can recommend books. The Queen starts terrifying staff and visitors by asking them what they are reading, sometimes even giving them books. (If your queen gives you a book, you're being ordered to read it, right?) Visiting heads of state are asked to discuss authors they've never heard of.
The Queen's secretary, Sir Kevin, takes a dim view of all this, as do most of the palace staff. But can even drastic measures stem the tide of books?
This is a 120-page novella for US$12. So a little expensive new. But funny. I was laughing out loud. It's a touching picture of a new reader discovering books and finding their worldview widened, and the Queen is a no-nonsense personality and witty. As the quote on the back of the book says, this is a story about 'the redemptive and subversive power of reading, and how one book can lead to another and another and another.'
Rating: 5 corgis out of 5