The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Uncommon ReaderA very quick read (120 pages) about the Queen of England who discovers a love of reading when she wanders into a bookmobile. She reads widely and indiscriminately with the help of a young palace employee. She finds that she is changed by what she reads, as well as by the process of reading.

The Queen as a character is immensely likeable and honest, yet the author gives insight into the very real class and status differences she has always had to live with. One (as the Queen refers to herself) gives an insider view of what life as a monarch may be like.

The act of reading as subversive and suspect is also explored – very interesting for those who love reading, books and libraries. Though the style is light and funny, there are many poignant moments, and a surprise ending as well. Highly recommended.

The Commoner by John Schwartz

The Commoner by John SchwartzOffering a peek into the largely closed and secret world of the Japanese royal family, The Commoner by John Schwartz is the story of Haruko, the first commoner to marry into the oldest monarchy in the world. Set in the years immediately after World War II when Japan was undergoing great change, Haruko goes from the relative freedom of a well-educated college graduate to a tightly the controlled world of a princess whose only duty was to produce a male heir. Spare and beautiful, it is a culture very foreign to us, but the thoughts and feelings of its characters are universal. While the storyline is somewhat similar to recent real-life events in Japan, this is a novelization, beautifully imagined.

Welcome to the new Reference Blog!

Welcome to the Davenport Public Library’s reference blog. The focus of this blog will be two-fold:

-reference services – websites, databases, current information you can use

-and reader’s advisory – books worth reading (as well as movies to watch and music to listen to), staff picks, what to read next.

We will be drawing on the various interests and talents of our reference staff to bring you a lively and interesting site. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the department and the diverse personalities that make it up. Comments and discussion are encouraged. Be sure to check back frequently (or subscribe to our feed) – there’s always something new happening at the library!

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