The Uncommon Reader

by Alan Bennett | Humor |
ISBN: 0312427646 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingUrfinwing of Wolfsburg, Niedersachsen Germany on 1/14/2009
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
13 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingUrfinwing from Wolfsburg, Niedersachsen Germany on Wednesday, January 14, 2009
An amusing and entertaining read One shall not miss ;o)
I read it within a day, and seeing that there is no ring yet, I'll start one with this, if there are interested readers...

Journal Entry 2 by wingUrfinwing from Wolfsburg, Niedersachsen Germany on Thursday, January 15, 2009
So, there are readers, and this is the list so far:

Schneefee (NRW)
Suzanne4Books & SaschaBWk (Hamburg)
elhamisabel (Hessen)
turnpages (England/Österreich)
Anke68 (Hamburg)
(skipped: DA-Cameron)
coco7 (Rheinland-Pfalz)
soleille (Sachsen)
sternenwolf (Hessen)
DEESSE (France)

Journal Entry 3 by wingCatbookwing from Datteln, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Arrived proper and safely at my place today - and since I´v read the german version already - will soon be read and forwarded ...

A big THX to Urfin for "ringing" this book!

Journal Entry 4 by Schneefee from Hagen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Thursday, February 12, 2009
no, i definitely don't like this rough-cut-stuff :-( You can't thumb through the book properly. Hmpf.

Journal Entry 5 by Schneefee from Hagen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, March 13, 2009
sorry it took me so long to finish it, I'm quite busy with several things at the moment :-(

this book is so lovely, I really liked it!

Journal Entry 6 by Susammelsurium from Hamburg - Barmbek, Hamburg Germany on Thursday, March 19, 2009
Arrived safe & sound. Will have to wait a bit, as there is another Bookring to be read first.

I like the rough-cut stuff – what a fine paper, what fine layout and composition, what a nice illustration! If only they had kept the novella's praise away from the cover...

Update, April 3rd 2009: Lovely, witty, intelligent... in short: adorable! I loved it, thanks for sharing! I will certainly buy a copy for my permanent collection, but it might be the German edition because there were – I must admit – some parts which were difficult to grasp for me in the original version. I'll have to check with the translation first however – to see if it keeps the charming atmosphere.

The book will travel on soon as the next station literally lies around the corner.

Journal Entry 7 by Susammelsurium at By hand, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Released 13 yrs ago (4/7/2009 UTC) at By hand, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases


Nach ein wenig hin und her übers Wochenende heute erfolgreich übergeben!

Journal Entry 8 by SaschaBWk from Hamburg - Barmbek, Hamburg Germany on Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Yesterday I got the book from Suzanne4Books and today I have almost finished it.
So far it is really charming and funny, more from me, when it is finished.

Journal Entry 9 by SaschaBWk from Hamburg - Barmbek, Hamburg Germany on Thursday, April 9, 2009
I don't think that I can add substantially to the praise of this charming little book. Everything important is already said.

Only something that irritates me more and more: I don't want to read on the blurb what other people think about a book. If their praise is deserved I want to find it out on my own and if it is undeserved it is even worse.

Enough said, the book goes to elham as soon as possible.

Journal Entry 10 by elhamisabel from Frankfurt am Main, Hessen Germany on Thursday, April 16, 2009
It arrived yesterday but I didn't have time to journal it until now.
Thank you!
I'm a bit surprised, to be honest. Somehow I had expected it to be a 300-plus pages novel. Instead I got this tiny little book. I should have guessed, of course. It's Alan Bennett, after all, not John Irving. ;-))
Will start reading today and contact the next reader.

20th April:
Finished this over the weekend.
It is a quirky little book. I must say, I wasn't too happy about the caricature image the Queen and all other characters were given. I can guess why Bennett did it and I guess it is funny in a way but I wasn't impressed, to be honest. But then, it is a matter of taste and I know a lot of others liked it.
All in all a nice quick read and I had a good time doing so but I wouldn't want to keep the copy if I had bought it. ;-)

I've already contacted turnpages and got the address. The book will be mailed tomorrow.

21th April:
Book mailed this morning.

Journal Entry 11 by turnpages from Faversham, Kent United Kingdom on Friday, April 24, 2009
Herzlichen Dank!!

Journal Entry 12 by turnpages from Faversham, Kent United Kingdom on Friday, May 1, 2009
An uncommon story about uncommon readers written in an uncommonly sweet and funny way. This is not only the story about the Queen's passion for reading and the consequences of the same, it is also an author's perception regarding the processes of reading and writing as such! Very entertaining and surprising, too!

I already have Anke68's address and so the book will travel on today!!
THANK YOU for this ring!!

Released 13 yrs ago (5/1/2009 UTC) at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom



Travelling to Germany to its next reader... ENJOY!!

Journal Entry 14 by wingAnke68wing from Neu Wulmstorf, Niedersachsen Germany on Sunday, May 10, 2009
The book arrived here some days ago and I have already read it. Sorry for not posting sooner!

What a lovely book, fun to read, nice style of writing, a book you can really enjoy. And I don´t think the Queeen is ridiculed that much, she still is rather likeable, in my opinion.

When I get DA-Cameron´s address, the book will travel on. Thanks for letting me join this ring!

Edit: As DA-Cameron has read the book already, I will ask for Coco7´s address.

Journal Entry 15 by wingcoco7wing from Sprendlingen, Rheinland-Pfalz Germany on Friday, May 22, 2009
The book arrived here, thank you. I expected something bigger. Certainly it won't take me long to read this little book.

Journal Entry 16 by wingcoco7wing from Sprendlingen, Rheinland-Pfalz Germany on Monday, June 8, 2009
More praises from me: I really enjoyed this book, even laughed out loud some times. It illustrates the changes in personality through reading in a sweet way. I liked the way the Queen was described.

Journal Entry 17 by soleille from Leipzig, Sachsen Germany on Sunday, June 28, 2009
I was surprised by how thin the book is as well... but I guess that only means the queen will get to travel on soon, O'm really looking forward to it :o)

Journal Entry 18 by soleille from Leipzig, Sachsen Germany on Friday, July 24, 2009
One was quite entertained b this book :o)
Thanks for sharing this sweet little story....and for the record, I reall like the rough cut.
PMing sternenwolf now

Journal Entry 19 by sternenwolf from Steffenberg, Hessen Germany on Friday, August 7, 2009
Arrived with todays mail!
Thanks for sending and sharing at soleille and Urfin!
Looking forward to read it!

Journal Entry 20 by sternenwolf from Steffenberg, Hessen Germany on Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Finisched it before lunch and liked it very well. An amusing little piece of literature, isn't it? ;)

Everything else about it is said as well. Read it and enjoy it.
Thanks for sharing @ Urfin!

Travelling to DEESE as soon as I got the adress!

Journal Entry 21 by DEESSE from Erstein, Alsace France on Saturday, August 22, 2009
Arrived today.
Thanks sternenwolf and everyone for sending it on!

Journal Entry 22 by DEESSE from Erstein, Alsace France on Saturday, September 26, 2009
I had a great time reading this little charming book and now I'll "do my duty" (a JE) that one can travel back to Urfin at the beginning of next week.

In fact, I discovered some things I have in common with this "uncommon reader":

99% of the books I start I finish, like the Queen:
"'How far did your Majesty get?' 'Oh, to the end. Once I start a book I finish it. That was the way one was brought up. Books, bread and butter, mashed potato - one finishes what's on one's plate. That's always been my philosophy.'" (p.11)
And I also walk around my "palace" switching off unnecessary light bulbs ;-)

And since bookcrossing I always read with a paper in the book and a pencil handy to note funny/interesting/moving passages:
"(...) (t)hey would often come upon her in odd unfrequented corners of her various dwellings, spectacles on the end of her nose, notebook and pencil beside her." (p.46)
"The next stage had been when she started to make notes, after which she always read with a pencil in hand, not summarising what she read but simply transcribing passages that struck her." (p. 47)

That's why I'm able to quote here some passages that made me smile, laugh out loud or simply "struck me" too:

"'But ma'am must have been briefed, surely?'
'Of course,' said the Queen, 'but briefing is not reading. In fact it is the antithesis of reading. Briefing is terse, factual and to the point. Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up.'" (p.21 f.)

"'(...) I never seem to find the time.'
'That's what a lot of people say. One must make the time. Take this morning. You're going to be sitting outside the town hall waiting for me. You could read then.'
'I have to watch the motor, ma'am. This is the Midlands. Vandalism is universal.'
With Her Majesty safely delivered into the hands of the lord lieutenant, Summers did a precautionary circuit of the motor and settled down in his seat. Read? Of course he read. Everybody read. He opened the glove compartment and took out his copy of the "Sun"." (p. 22 f.) [ I didn't know this usage of the word 'motor' for car].

Here's one thing where I'm NOT like the Queen (I loved the Harry Potter books!):
"There were many who hoped for a similar meeting of minds by saying they were reading Harry Potter, but to this the Queen (who had no time for fantasy) invariably said briskly, 'Yes. One is saving that for a rainy day,' and passed swiftly on." (p. 43)

"Which ethnic classics did you have in mind, Sir Kevin? The Kama Sutra?" (p. 43)

"To her, though, nothing could have been more serious, and she felt about reading what some writers felt about writing: that it was impossible not to do it and that at this late stage of her life she had been chosen to read as others were chosen to write." (p. 46 f.)

"Too late. It was all too late. But she went on, determined as ever and always trying to catch up." (p. 75)

"And it came to her that for some reason Norman was sulking, behaviour she had seldom come across except in children and the occasional cabinet minister. Subjects seldom sulked to the Queen, as they were not entitled to, and once upon a time it would have taken them to the Tower." (p.104)

"(...) and if she took note of (Norman's sulking) now it was because she knew more of people's feelings than she used to and could put herself in someone else's place." (p. 105) --> a "result" of her reading?

"'Most of that experience,' and Her Majesty tapped her immaculately coiffed head, 'most of it is up here. And one wouldn't want it to go to waste. So the question is, what happens to it?'
The prime minister opened his mouth as if to speak and indeed half rose from his chair.
'The question', said the Queen, 'was rhetorical.'
He sank back." (p. 110 f.)

Journal Entry 23 by DEESSE at by post, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, September 28, 2009

Released 12 yrs ago (9/28/2009 UTC) at by post, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



One is on her way home - thanks for this ring!

Journal Entry 24 by wingUrfinwing from Wolfsburg, Niedersachsen Germany on Friday, October 2, 2009
The tiny book made its way home.
Thank you for being so careful with it, and for sharing your feelings about it.

Regarding the rough cut:
There were two thumbs-up and one thumb-down.

@ S4B and SBWk: I have the same opinion, and hope that the German publishers will stay away from this habit of listing all these praises in a book. Sometimes it is even cut out from a longer quote such that it is rendered from actually being a Verriß to sth. positive :o(

Journal Entry 25 by wingUrfinwing at Münster, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Released 12 yrs ago (6/22/2010 UTC) at Münster, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany


I send this to Amandil, she needs it for her reading club.

Journal Entry 26 by Amandil at Münster, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, June 25, 2010
Gestern schon in der Post, vielen Dank fürs Ausleihen und Schicken.

Journal Entry 27 by Amandil at Münster, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Monday, December 5, 2011
I am really ashamed, I started this book so many times...and I didn't finished it. The reading club last summer was cancelled because of the heat, and the last time the new book of Walter Moers deviated me. Sorry, and thanks for borrowing!

Tomorrow it will start the travel home.

Journal Entry 28 by wingUrfinwing at Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The book has returned from its journey, thank you, also for the chocolate :o) I'll probably take it to work tomorrow and share it with my colleagues (this must be the Xmas spirit;)

September 2018 RES for book-a-billy (if I can find it)

Journal Entry 29 by wingUrfinwing at Wolfsburg, Niedersachsen Germany on Friday, March 29, 2019
I'm listening to Alan Bennett himself reading his own text aloud :o)
an audio book I borrowed the other day from the public library:

The Convergence of the Twain by Thomas Hardy
"A Portrait of Jane Austen" by David Cecil
"Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave / My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty / According to my bond; no more nor less." (Cordelia in King Lear 1.1 90-2)
The Trees by Philip Larkin

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