I had picked up Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader from the library simply because I like his books. The are gently wry, lacking in sentiment, rich in off-hand humor -- all the things I treasure about the best Brit lit.
I did NOT expect the book to kick off into gear through the first-page agency of a pack of corgis. (OK, "corgyn" if you wish to get all Welsh on me.) They're the royal corgis, in fact, and they are leading Her Majesty The Queen on a chase, and as it happens the local bookmobile is in the way. Her Majesty has never been on a bookmobile before. She doesn't read much literature. But in Bennett's world that is about to change. (You might like the New York Times review here.)
Good Lord, the royal corgis. I've never posted on them. The UK Times Online has a funny little snippet on their room in the Palace. And at the Official Website for the British Monarchy, you can read about Family Pets (as well as working animals and horses and such). The Queen also has dorgis, a dachshund/corgi mix. And former Royal butler Paul Burrell has unsportingly "kissed and told" in an interview: "I slept with Chipper the Queen's corgi."