The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett – or, what reading can do for the Uncommon Writer

Alan Bennett The Uncommon ReaderI’ve just finished reading ‘The Uncommon Reader’ by Alan Bennett. It is a charming and amusing story, which begins when the Queen discovers the mobile library in the grounds of Buckingham Palace one day. She goes on to discover the joys of reading, a luxury she has had little time for up until then.

The story is Alan Bennett all over; I could hear his voice while I was reading. I also realised after I was about halfway through the book that it was a discourse on writing as well as reading.

Read if you intend to write

The advice to read, read, and read some more, and to read diversely, is given over and over again by writers and authors. This is just what the Queen does in this story. Once she starts reading she finds it difficult to stop, even taking books with her in the royal car, waving and reading at the same time. Reading is important for absorbing language, grammar, and techniques of writing. Reading fills us with knowledge and inspiration.

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