Mailbox Monday #152 & Some Winners

Before I get to the mailbox, I wanted to congratulate some winners.  The winner of Jane Austen Made Me Do It edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (my review) was Eva.  The winner of The September Queen by Gillian Bagwell (guest post) was Gwendolyn.  Congrats to you both.

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is the Mailbox Monday tour blog.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  Astride a Pink Horse by Robert Greer, which came unexpectedly in the mail.

2.  The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone, which also came unexpectedly in the mail, which I gave to a friend.

3.  The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, which I picked up from the library sale and had to add to my own personal library after reading a copy from the library at Dewey’s urging.

4.  Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott, which I picked up from the library sale since I want to give her fiction a try after reading Bird by Bird.

5.  Puppy Love, a snuggle book, which I picked up at the library sale for “Wiggles.” She’ll love it because the outside of the book is fuzzy and the back has a fuzzy tail.

6.  Little Miss Giggles Has a Giggle by Roger Hargreaves, which I picked up at the library sale for “Wiggles.”

7. Natasha’s Daddy came from her visiting “auntie” who went to the library sale too.

8. Elmo’s Delicious Christmas came with the visiting “auntie” on the plane!

What did you receive?

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett is a witty look at how the Queen of England’s love of reading impinges on her duties and helps her evolve as a human being. There is a great deal to love about this small volume, which I first heard about on Dewey’s Hidden Side of a Leaf. I couldn’t commit full force to the Dewey’s Book Challenge, but I wanted to make mention of her and the challenge with this post since Dewey highly recommended this book when she read and bought it.

At first, the Queen of England isn’t sure what to make of the traveling library that she runs across at the palace. Once she begins reading, she can’t stop and takes it upon herself to appoint a kitchen boy as her amanuensis, a writing assistant to conduct research and perform secretarial duties, named Norman. He helps her select books from the traveling library and from the London Library.

“[Norman] came back full of wonder and excitement at how old-fashioned it was, saying it was the sort of library he had only read about in books and had thought confined to the past. He wandered through its labyrinthine stacks marvelling that these were all books that he (or rather She) could borrow at will. So infectious was his enthusiasm that next time, the Queen thought, she might accompany him.” (page 19)

She becomes so engrossed in her reading that she begins carrying books with her in the carriages and to official functions and begins to look upon her normal daily activities, like being briefed on the events of the government and world, as the “antithesis of reading” (page 21). Her speeches before Parliament became tedious and “demeaned the very act of reading itself” (page 33).

It’s interesting to watch how certain members of the staff react to her reading habit and how they conspire to eliminate it. Despite all of the government’s machinations, however, the Queen perseveres. Readers will adore the end of the novel and how it turns the rest of it upside down.

Also Reviewed By:
Hidden Side of a Leaf
Tea Leaves
A Novel Menagerie
Things Mean a Lot
Library Queue
It’s All About Books
Bloggin’ ’bout Books
Books on the Brain
Page After Page
Books of Mee
paper diet books
just add books…
The Bluestocking Society
Melody’s Reading Corner
Reader for Life
Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
Rebecca Reads
Bermudaonion’s Weblog
Book Chase
A Reader’s Respite
Shelf Life
Reading and Ruminations
Confessions of a Bibliophile
Lesa’s Book Critiques
Outlandish Dreaming
The Family With Three Last Names
Under a Blood Red Sky
Linus’s Blanket
Behold, the thing that reads a lot
A Comfy Chair and a Good Book
One Literature Nut
Literate Housewife