ISBN-13: 9781846681332
Publisher: Profile Books
Published: 2008
121 pgs

I was first introduced to this little gem after reading Nymeth's lovely review a while back. What shall I say? I am absolutely in love with this book! I trust most readers (especially booklovers) would enjoy this little story about how reading has became an obsession for the Queen of England.
It was all the dogs' fault, as the Queen quoted, as they had wandered off and was heard to be yapping at something in one of the yards. It happened to be a travelling library, and it parked next to the bins outside one of the kitchen doors. Now the Queen had never seen this sight before, and she was very happy to befriend Mr Hutchings, the driver cum librarian and Norman Seakins, a young man working in the kitchens and had happened to be in the library looking at books when the Queen came into the library.

Fascinated by the sight of books and also feeling a little obligated to borrow a book, the Queen selected a book by Ivy Compton-Burnett. And it seemed from that moment onwards, her opinions on books and reading changes. She became engrossed in them so much so that she had Norman transferred out of the kitchen to be her amanuensis (Norman looked up this word in the dictionary and realized it refers to a literary assistant position; one who writes from dictation and copies manuscripts).

With Norman being her amanuensis, the Queen began to read more and more and less interested in her day-to-day activities, which is much dismay to Sir Kevin Scatchard, her private secretary and the other advisors. These days, her conversations always surrounded around books and until the Prime Minister decided to do something about it.

The Uncommon Reader is a delightful read to all booklovers, and I personally feel this novella is a good introduction to the non-readers to reading as it is fast-paced and written in a subtle, humourous style (it is a classic in my opinion). I had a wonderful time reading this book, and I could definitely relate to the Queen when she felt some of her time should be devoted to reading.

You have no idea how many post-it tags I used for tagging my favourite passages. Here are just a few of my favourites:

“Pass the time?” said the Queen. “Books are not about passing the time. They’re about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, Sir Kevin, one wishes one had more of it.”

The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included.

It was a few weeks later that she looked up from her book and said to Norman: "Do you know that I said you were my amanuensis? Well, I've discovered what I am. I am an opsimath."
With the dictionary always to hand, Norman read out: 'Opsimath: one who learns only late in life.'

And one that made me chuckle:

Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met with in the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them.

Other blogs reviews:
A Guy's Moleskine Notebook
A Striped Armchair
Bart's Bookshelf
Bermudaonion’s Weblog
Blogging ‘bout Books
books i done read
Books of Mee
Care's Online Bookclub
Fizzy Thoughts
It's All About Books
Just Add Books
Page After Page
Reading Adventures
Rebecca Reads
S. Krishna's Books
Stuff as Dreams Are Made On
The Bluestocking Society
The Biblio Brat
The Book Zombie
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
The Written World
Things Mean A Lot
(Let me know if I have missed yours.)

28 Responses
  1. Mari Says:

    I requested this from LT Early Reviewers but didn't get it. :( Can't wait to read it. :)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I think I would have liked it so much better if the Queen hadn't been the main character.

  3. Sandra Says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed this story, I did too.

  4. Ladytink_534 Says:

    Gah! Does everyone have to tempt me with this one?! It sounds so good but I've been avoiding picking it up until I whittle down some of my TBR pile. I doubt I'll be able to keep away much longer! Great review though :)

  5. Melody Says:

    Mari - I'm hoping you'll receive a copy of it soon!

    Jill - I quite like the idea of the Queen as the main character, but then again any character would work well to me since the main issue is about reading. :)

    Sandra - I'm glad you enjoyed this book too!

    Jen - LOL. I understand about those TBR pile. I bought quite a few books lately so it looks like my pile barely move at all despite my readings! ;) Can't wait to hear what you think if you get to it!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I think this is a perfect book for book lovers. I have read so much about this book.

  7. Julia Says:

    Nice to hear that you enjoying this book :) I might be tempted to get it if I can remember to grab it at my local bookstore...great review!

  8. Melody Says:

    Violet - Indeed it is! :)

    Julia - Thanks! I hope you'll get this copy soon. :)

  9. Unknown Says:

    Fizzy Thoughts wrote a review of this today saying that she didn't really like it. Everyone else seems to love it though - I'm very tempted to dig my copy out and read it today, after being reminded about it twice!

  10. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    Haha! It's always good to blame the dog! I've heard so much about this book! Obviously, based on the list of reviews, I am on the tail end of it. I will put it on my list for sure!

  11. Debi Says:

    I have this one on the mountains of TBR, and I really hope to get to it soon. Even sooner, after you review.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Scenes from the movie The Queen came to my mind when I was reading this witty book.

    Here is my review:
    The Uncommon Reader

  13. Iliana Says:

    those quotes are delightful - I especially like the one about passing time. So true!

    One of these days I will get to the book. Thank you for such a wonderful review!

  14. The Bookworm Says:

    i've heard very good things about this book, great review!
    you quotes some great passages. you must have used alot of post-its! lol

  15. Melody Says:

    Jackie, Sandy - Great! I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts soon. :)

    Debi - I hope you'll enjoy it, Debi!

    Matt - I haven't seen that movie yet! Now you've really piqued my curiosity! ;)

    Iliana - I wish I could post more quotes, haha. I think this book will appeal to most readers.

    Naida - LOL. I always make sure to have some post-it tags handy, otherwise scrap papers will do! ;)

  16. It is always the dog's fault. :-) I loved your review of this own, Melody. It sounds like such a delightful book!

  17. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I've to applaud the dogs for getting the Queen to read in the first place, LOL.

    I'm hoping to read more of this author's books in future. :)

  18. S. Krishna Says:

    I loved this book! Here's my review.

  19. Melody Says:

    Me too, Krishna!
    Thanks for your link! I'd it included when I drafted this post. :)

  20. Alice Says:

    Great review, Melody! I read this while being in the bookstore. I can relate to your post-it-note saga. LOL. Some of my books are so full of markings that my hubby thought something really big is going on with that particular book I was reading.

    Glad you like this one! :D

  21. Melody Says:

    Alice - Thanks!

    I know non-readers must think of our post-it tagging habits very weird! LOL.

  22. Kim L Says:

    I've been wanting to read this one for a long time. Glad you enjoyed it!

  23. Melody Says:

    Kim - I hope you'll get to read it soon!

  24. I've already decided that the next time I purchase a book (I'm on a ban right now) it will be this one. But this comment, "What shall I say? I am absolutely in love with this book!" makes me want to get it RIGHT NOW! Can't wait. :)

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for reminding me I need to get a copy of this. I am going to the library tomorrow so will see if they have it. It's such a fun idea for a book. By the way, I adore your page layout. If you get bored of it and change to another one you must send me the code :)

  26. Melody Says:

    Trish - I hope you'd read this soon! I love this book so much! :D

    Rhinoa - Thanks! I'll forward you the link where they've all these new cool templates! :)

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for the linking Melody. Nice review. I love your blog layout!

  28. Melody Says:

    Thank you, Mee! :)

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