This is a quick little novella to read in a few hours.
It’s about Queen Elizabeth discovering the joy of
reading. You’ll enjoy if it you are an Anglophile and
like reading about the monarchy in a humorous manner
or if you like to read!
One day when QE is herding her little beloved barking
Corgis away from a visiting van at the palace–she realizes
that the van is a traveling library. A skinny little kitchen
boy, Norman, is borrowing a book and he is chosen by the
Queen to tell her about the van and along the way, he
recommends a book for her to read.
It’s Ivy Compton-Burnett. She finds it dry reading–and
doesn’t intend to really read it at all, but follows it with
Nancy Mitford . . .and discovers that reading is really
quite delightful. And that she is more in touch with her
subjects. (Reading) “it was shared, it was common . . .”
I liked making a list of the authors she reads in this short
little book—and considered how many I had read and I
wondered how many YOU had read . . .some were:
Anita Brookner, Ian McEwan, A.S. Byatt, Dylan Thomas,
John Cowper Powys, Jan Morris, Kilvert—
Sylvia Plath, the memoirs of Lauren Bacall, Winifred Holtby,
Henry James (disliked at this point), Dr. Johnson, Pepys.
Alice Munro, Rose Tremain, Kazuo Ishiguro, Beckett, Nabokov,
and on to Dickens, Thackeray, Eliot, the Brontes. And, yes,
Time goes on and the Queen still does her daily duties of
opening fire departments or attending concerts in her
honor, but she always brings a book—and spends less time
choosing which brooch to wear!
Near the end she rereads Ivy Compton-Burnett and likes it.
Of course her viewpoint is changed and enlightened–and at
the end of the book she thinks that perhaps she should be
still reading, and . . .writing.
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