Saturday, December 19, 2015

Best of 2015: Queens and Bookmobiles

One of the many items [old and new] enjoyed by Burbank Public Library staff during 2015, recommended for your consideration:

Reviewed by Naomi A.,
Reference Librarian

The Uncommon Reader,
by Alan Bennett

In this novella, the queen of England (unnamed, but assume…) is out walking her Corgis when one runs away. She retrieves the dog from in front of a bookmobile parked near Buckingham Palace. She feels it would not be polite to just ignore the bookmobile, so she goes in and looks around. She is amazed at the variety of books inside. Again, she feels that it would be impolite not to take out a book, but she doesn’t know what to select. Norman, an avid reader who works in the palace kitchens, helps her choose one.

Over the months, based on the books Norman continues to select for her and then upon her own choices, these books open up a whole new world to the queen. She gets fresh and different ideas and insights into her life and the lives of her family and her subjects, which sometimes lead to some very funny situations. While traveling in her royal carriage, she waves to the crowds with one hand while holding a book out of sight with the other hand, so she can keep reading. Now that she has become a reader, the books that she reads continue to give the queen a different outlook on life.

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