So, I am biased. Sue me.
The Uncommon Reader is the perfect novella. Alan Bennett (beloved author of the most perfect and revered History Boys) asks an uncommon question: what if the Queen of England started reading? How would it impact her? And on a different scale, how would it impact her nation?
The emphasis is both psychological and cause-consequence. As is usual with Mr. Bennett (ha ha), the narrator’s voice is often the funniest. Observation and a hint of Irony are wittingly used to further the story. One cannot help but laugh when one is reading dialogues such as these:
‘I’m just kicking the tires on this one, ma’am, but it would help if we were able to put out a press release saying that, apart from English literature, Your Majesty was also reading ethnic classics.’
‘Which ethnic classics did you have in mind, Sir Kevin? The Kama Sutra?’
Sir Kevin sighed.
Albeit a short read, The Uncommon Reader is an uproarious tongue-in-cheek jab at monarchy, the English and non-readers. I recommend it to all but mostly to those who appreciate a good joke.
‘Oh, Norman,’ said the Queen, ‘the prime minister doesn’t seem to have read Hardy. Perhaps you should find him one of our old paperbacks on his way out.’