Saturday, December 6, 2008

Review: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett AND My Dewey Tribute

Book: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Genre: Literary Fiction
For: Fun

Awhile back, I read a post on Dewey's blog about her love for a little tiny book called The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. She tells a wonderful story about how she came to read the book, but the words that stuck in my head the most are these:

As you may know, I give away all the books I read unless they belong to someone else, such as a family member, or, most often, the library. This year, I’ve only kept three books of the books I’ve read that belonged to me: The Three Incestuous Sisters by Audrey Niffenegger, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Maternal is Political by Shari MacDonald Strong. And I have to admit that although I enjoyed The Three Incestuous Sisters, I would probably have given that away, too, if it weren’t too heavy for me to want to mail.

But I have to keep The Uncommon Reader. I know I’ll want to read it again, and fairly soon. Keeping a book is really the highest praise I give; I have moved books from one house to another too many times to want more than my TBR books and my husband’s and son’s books in the house. I think every one of you would love this story, and I recommend it to you all.

After reading that, first, I was struck by the fact that she gives away all her books. Wow. And then to realize that if she does that, then the books she keeps have to really be something especially amazing. I couldn't stop wondering about The Uncommon Reader, so before I knew it, I found myself checking it out from the library.

So week or two ago, I read it. I thought about Dewey the whole time, knowing that this book was one she wanted to keep, wondering which parts stood out the most to her, thinking about what parts I liked the most so I could blog and share my feelings... and basically totally enjoying such a fun, unusual book about the love of reading.

It was only a couple of days after I finished this book that we all got the news about Dewey.

So this, my little review of this book, is dedicated to her.

What a fun little book this is! The Queen of England suddenly, and quite accidentally becomes a reader. She tries to discuss books with people and they cringe, they get embarrassed, and they try to change the subject. Then her people start getting worried about her, thinking she's losing her mind and that she's not properly doing her job. And soon, she starts pushing the boundary even further when she decides to write her feelings down! Ah, there's so many humorous little antidotes and quotable stuff. But, of course, I didn't write them down.

Let me just say that I agree with words of an uncommon blogger about The Uncommon Reader, "I think everyone of you would love this story, and I recommend it to you all."

I'll miss Dewey and her energetic blogging and reading enthusiasm. She was one of the first book blogs I stumbled upon when I first decided to plunge into the book blogging experience. I never did do the Read-a-thon, though it sounded fun, but I thought Weekly Geeks was a blast and I only missed a couple of weeks participating. Thanks to her for all the wonderful things she did to bring this book blogging community together. We hope to keep it all going strong!


  1. I remember how much Dewey loved this one. I have to add this to my list.

  2. It's on my to-read list as well and I'm sure I'll think of Dewey when I read it.

  3. Lovely post. This is a book I immediately added to my wishlist after her review, and I'd love to read it as a small tribute to her sometime.

  4. What a fantastic tribute to her Suey! Fantastic idea. I also talked about this post of hers and the fact that she must have loved this book to buy it.

  5. I'm so sorry you didn't get to share your review with Dewey, but it makes a wonderful tribute to her. (And now I have another book to add to my list...)

  6. What a great way to remember Dewey!! I remember her post on this because I too was blown away by the fact that she gave away all her books. That was something I didn't know. You're review as well has made me want to go get this book...Thank you!

  7. I remember that post, too. It's on my wish list, but I don't have a copy, yet.



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