Thursday Quotables: The Uncommon Reader


Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.Β  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!

NEW! Thursday Quotables is now using a Linky tool! Be sure to add your link if you have a Thursday Quotables post to share.

Uncommon Reader

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
(published 2007 )

This slim novella is such a delight for a bookworm like me! What would happen if the Queen of England suddenly become an avid reader? In this fictional account of the Queen’s love of books, it’s all-consuming, highly inspirational (to her), and highly annoying (to everyone else). Here are a few snippets that I found so amusing:

1 – From a conversation with a servant about the Queen’s first book borrowed from the bookmobile near the palace grounds:

“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.”

2 – On why she’s so hooked:

The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included. […] … and this took her back to the beginning of her life. As a girl, one of her greatest thrills had been on VE night when she and her sister had slipped out of the gates and mingled unrecognised with the crowds. There was something of that, she felt, to reading. It was anonymous; it was shared; it was common. And she who had led a life apart now found that she craved it. Here in these pages and between these covers she could go unrecognised.

3 – On how irritating her Majesty’s reading is to her usual companions:

This dislike of the Queen’s reading was not confined to the household. Whereas in the past walkies had meant a noisy and restrained romp in the grounds, these days, once she was out of sight of her house, Her Majesty sank onto the nearest seat and took out her book. Occasionally she threw a bored biscuit in the direction of the dogs, but there was none of that ball-throwing, stick-fetching and orchestrated frenzy that used to enliven their perambulations. Indulged and bad-tempered though they were, the dogs were not unintelligent, so it was not surprising that in a short space of time they came to hate books as the spoilsports they were (and always have been).

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (, if you’d be so kind!
  • Click on the linky button (look for the cute froggie face) below to add your link.
  • After you link up, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

14 thoughts on “Thursday Quotables: The Uncommon Reader

    • Oh, I can definitely see wanting to re-read this one from time to time. Actually, I’d bet the audiobook is really fun… that gives me an idea!

  1. lol, I love the bit about the dogs hating books! It’s true though, oh so true! My cat GLARES at my kindle! He hates it with a passion! He’ll meow and meow and meow until I put it away if he’s feeling lonely and unloved lol. I can totally relate to that πŸ˜›

    • Ha, that’s so cute about the cat! For me, it’s my kid — he’s always complained that I don’t like to have fun because I’d rather sit on the beach and read than go play in the lake or something equally active.

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