The Uncommon Reader

I have just read Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader, a book of no more than 121 pages, which was  described by the Observer as “a masterpiece of comic brevity.”It’s the story of what happens when the Queen stumbles across a mobile library parked outside the Palace, and the amazing journey of self-discovery she goes on after developing an insatiable desire for reading. It’s a journey full of surprises and I won’t spoil the ending for you, but wanted to share what happens when Her Majesty’s love of reading encourages her to think that she is now ready to read more in public (other than the boring address to parliament) and  after reading a book on the Elizabethan Settlement  she phones up The Archbishop of Canterbury:

” ‘Archbishop. Why do i never read the lesson?’ ‘I beg your pardon ma’am?’ ‘In church. Everybody else gets to read and one never does. It’s not laid down, is it? It’s not off-limits?’  ‘Not that I’m aware, ma’am.’ ‘Good. Well in that case I’m going to start.Leviticus, here I come. Goodnight.’ The archbishop shook his head and went back to Strictly Come Dancing.”

Delightful stuff, but would it be so ridiculous for the Defender of The Faith to read the Bible lesson in church one Sunday? Can you imagine the look on the vicar’s  face when her Majesty turns up- Worship is sudenly not so common after all.

The surreal nature of the book made me think of Her Majesty by the Beatles so I include this here for your amusement


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Filed under Archbishop of Canterbury, Beatles, bible, literature, religion, Royal family

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