Best Alan Bennett books
Keeping On Keeping On
Best price for this book: $ 21.01
A collection of Bennett’s diaries and essays, covering 2005 to 2015
Alan Bennett’s third collection of prose, Keeping On Keeping On, follows in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful Writing Home and Untold Stories. Bringing together the hilarious, revealing, and lucidly intelligent writing of one of England’s best-known literary figures, Keeping On Keeping On contains Bennett’s diaries from 2005 to 2015―with everything from his much celebrated essays to his irreverent comic pieces and reviews―reflecting on a decade that saw four major theater premieres and the films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van. A chronicle of one of the most important literary careers of the twentieth century, Keeping On Keeping On is a classic history of a life in letters.
The Uncommon Reader: A Novella
Best price for this book: $ 1.55
From one of England's most celebrated writers, a funny and superbly observed novella about the Queen of England and the subversive power of reading
When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.
With the poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the most uncommon reader's life.
The History Boys: A Play
Best price for this book: $ 4.99
"A play of depth as well as dazzle, intensely moving as well as thought-provoking and funny." ―The Daily Telegraph
An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form (or senior) boys in a British boys' school are, as such boys will be, in pursuit of sex, sport, and a place at a good university, generally in that order. In all their efforts, they are helped and hindered, enlightened and bemused, by a maverick English teacher who seeks to broaden their horizons in sometimes undefined ways, and a young history teacher who questions the methods, as well as the aim, of their schooling. In The History Boys, Alan Bennett evokes the special period and place that the sixth form represents in an English boy's life. In doing so, he raises―with gentle wit and pitch-perfect command of character―not only universal questions about the nature of history and how it is taught but also questions about the purpose of education today.
The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van (Today Show Book Club #5)
Best price for this book: $ 3.38
In “The Lady in the Van,” which The Village Voice called “one of the finest bursts of comic writing the twentieth century has produced,” Bennett recounts the strange life of Miss Shepherd, a London eccentric who parked her van (overstuffed with decades’ worth of old clothes, oozing batteries, and kitchen utensils still in their original packaging) in the author’s driveway for more than fifteen years. A mesmerizing portrait of an outsider with an acquisitive taste and an indomitable spirit, this biographical essay is drawn with equal parts fascination and compassion.
Best price for this book: $ 10
An instant bestseller in the U.K., Untold Stories brings together the finest and funniest writing by one of England's best-known literary figures. In his first major collection since Writing Home, Alan Bennett opens with a poignant memoir of growing up in Leeds and closes with an account of his cancer diagnosis and recovery, with everything from his much-celebrated essays to his irreverent comic pieces and reviews in between.
The Complete Talking Heads
Best price for this book: $ 13.04
Alan Bennett's award-winning series of solo pieces is a classic of contemporary drama, universally hailed for its combination of razor-sharp wit and deeply felt humanity. In Bed Among the Lentils, a vicar's wife discovers a semblance of happiness with an Indian shop owner. In A Chip in the Sugar, a man's life begins to unravel when he discovers his aging mother has rekindled an old flame. In A Lady of Letters, a busybody pays a price for interfering in her neighbor's life.
First produced for BBC television in 1988 to great critical acclaim, the Talking Heads monologues also appeared on the West End Stage in London in 1992 and 1998. In 2002, seven of the pieces were performed at the Tiffany Theater in Los Angeles for a highly praised brief engagement, and in 2003 a selection of the monologues premiered in New York at the Minetta Lane Theatre. These extraordinary portraits of ordinary people confirm Alan Bennett's place as one of the most gifted, versatile, and important writers in the English Language.
Best price for this book: $ 21.64
Bringing together the hilarious, revealing, and lucidly intelligent writing of one of England's best known literary figures, Writing Home includes the journalism, book and theater reviews, and diaries of Alan Bennett, as well as "The Lady in the Van," his unforgettable account of Miss Shepherd, a London eccentric who lived in a van in Bennett's garden for more than twenty years. This revised and updated edition includes new material from the author, including more recent diaries and his introduction to his Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Madness of King George. A chronicle of one of the most important literary careers of the twentieth century, Writing Home is a classic history of a life in letters.
Best price for this book: $ 3.59
One of England's finest and most loved writers explores the uncomfortable and tragicomic gap between people's public appearance and their private desires in two tender and surprising stories.
In The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson, a recently bereaved widow finds interesting ways to supplement her income by performing as a patient for medical students, and renting out her spare room. Quiet, middle-class, and middle-aged, Mrs. Donaldson will soon discover that she rather enjoys role-play at the hospital, and the irregular and startling entertainment provided by her tenants.
In The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes, a disappointed middle-aged mother dotes on her only son, Graham, who believes he must shield her from the truth. As Graham's double life becomes increasingly complicated, we realize how little he understands, not only of his own desires but also those of his mother.
A master storyteller dissects a very English form of secrecy with two stories of the unexpected in otherwise apparently ordinary lives.
The Clothes They Stood Up In
Best price for this book: $ 5.87
This swift-moving comic fable will surprise you with its concealed depths. When the sedate Ransomes return from the opera to find their Notting Hill flat stripped absolutely bare—down to the toilet paper off the roll (a hard-to-find shade of forget-me-not blue)—they face a dilemma: Who are they without the things they've spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly the world is full of unlimited and frightening possibility. But just as they begin adjusting to this giddy freedom, a newfound interest in sex, and a lack of comfy chairs, a surreal reversal of events causes them to question their assumptions yet again.
The Ransomes' bafflement is the reader's delight. Alan Bennett's gentle but scathing wit, unerring ear for dialogue, and sense of the absurd make The Clothes They Stood Up In a memorable exploration of where in life true riches lie.
Alan Bennett: Plays: BBC Radio Dramatisations
Best price for this book: $ 30.17