Monday, October 11, 2010
The Uncommon Reader
The Uncommon Reader is a wonderful novella that is meant for readers and lovers of books. It's for anyone who's ever been asked the questions, 'Why do you read? When do you have the time? What do you read?' Did you notice that only people who don't read ask questions like that? How can I answer the question, 'what do I read?' To answer that question, I'd have to write an essay. Well, The Uncommon Reader gives us witty and charming answers to all these questions from the point of view of the Queen of England, who's just discovered her love for reading at a very advanced age.
One day, while out walking, the Queen comes across a mobile library. Wishing to be polite, she borrows a book at random and though it turns out to be quite dry, she finds herself borrowing another and another after that. She soon discovers the joys of reading, becoming an opsimath or "one who learns only late in life." Her staff and advisers are dismayed and try to discourage her new hobby.
This is a charming little book filled with wonderful quotes about the joys of reading.
“What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do.”
"You don't put your life into your books, you find it there."
"The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included."
“Can there be any greater pleasure’, she confided in her neighbour, the Canadian minister for overseas trade, than to come across an author one enjoys and then to find they have written not just one book or two, but at least a dozen?’ And all, though she did not say this, in paperback and so handbag size.”