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The Reading Group

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  5,509 ratings  ·  627 reviews
The Reading Group follows the trials and tribulations of a group of women who meet regularly to read and discuss books.Over the course of a year, each of these women become intertwined, both in the books they read and within each other's lives.

Inspired by a shared desire for conversation, a good book and a glass of wine-Clare, Harriet, Nicole, Polly, and Susan undergo star
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Paperback, 464 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2003)
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K
I really need something light and fluffy now, but this book is giving me ADD. I just hope it turns out to be better than "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons"...

Update: OK -- now I must rant.

Complaint #1: I have nothing against middle-aged or any other kind of chick lit. However, I feel that chick lit by definition should be both light and short. This book was neither. I found the process of reading it slow, and the book was way longer than it needed to be.

Complaint #2: This author tried to take
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Julie
It did take a bit for me to get into this book, but once I did, I became very invested in the characters. The characters of the book are of all ages and at different stages in their life. I liked that aspect, and that the issues they dealt with were so different.

The book also made me want to be a part of a reading group and read all the books that they discussed.
Hilary G
Ex Bookworm group review:

I tried to like this book, but I didn't. I tried not to be prejudiced against the sort of women who live in Surrey and who have the luxury of enough money and time to agonise at length about how miserable they are, but I was. I think this was Elizabeth Noble's failure not mine. I wasn't the one to keep mentioning Agas. If "Surrey women" are portrayed as caricatures, as cardboard cut outs, you can't blame me for not caring a damn about them. And I didn't. I didn't care a
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Carol Vuillemenot
I enjoy reading stories from a feminist view. This novel is written by an English author in an English setting, but it could have been an American setting without any problem. Five women meet monthly to discuss one book each month. These five women are of different ages, background, and contrasting dilemmas -- transform themselves through the shared community of a book group and become a forum for each of the women's views, expressed initially by the book. As the months pass, these women's lives ...more
Kass
Feb 09, 2009 Kass rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: British lovers of predictable, unfinished, boring reads
Recommended to Kass by: Book club
Read this one for, of all things, a book club. It's about several women who form a book club and follows each of their lives through a year of book clubs meetings and much personal drama.

I had a hard time reading and finishing it because it's just no mytype of book. It's British Chick Lit, and well, now that I'm married and a mom I just have a hard time relating. Then again, most of the characters were married moms so you'd think I could relate to at least one. The problem was I couldn't relate
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Melinda
Once I got into this "chic lit" novel, it kept me interested. The quibble I have is that all the women in the novel are either a) mothers or b) soon-to-be mothers. The one character who doesn't have children (but, of course, she wants to) is banished to helping children at an orphanage in Roumania. Come on. Not all women want or have children. It would have been nice to read a novel that didn't make the assumption that all women do.
Karen
Jun 03, 2010 Karen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: could-not-finish
Oh, I so wanted to just love this book! There was even a point, once I could keep the various characters and spouses straight without having to refer to the author's "cheat sheet", where I started to care about some of them and looked forward to how their stories each unfolded. But that was short-lived. At page 216, I had to make a decision to either suck it up and finish the book, or cut my losses. Frankly, I couldn't bear another 200 pages. It just didn't matter to me how things turned out, I ...more
Juliette
My biggest issue with this book is that Miss Noble took it upon herself to give away some pretty big spoilers from the books that are discussed in the reading group. So if you have any desire to read any of the books on the list (which I did) and don't like spoilers (I don't). Don't pick this book up until you've read them. And yes, I know that this is a book about a book club, but I've read three other books about book clubs and the other three authors managed to have thier characters have very ...more
Andrea
My opinions on this book changed as I read it. At first, there were too many characters to keep straight in my head. Fortunately there is a cheat sheet at the beginning of the book that helped a lot. The layout of the book bothered me in the beginning also. It seemed like really long chapters with few clear stopping places and choppy stories. After a while I got used to changing story lines and could see how it benefits the story. I also realized that the choppiness created many stopping places, ...more
BoekenTrol
May 12, 2008 BoekenTrol rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to BoekenTrol by: Found it in the library
Shelves: stories-of-life
I was interested by the book, because the text on the back side of the cover intrigued me.

The book itself was good, but for me not more than the 3 stars I gave it initially.
Somehow, in the course of the story, it became more and more predictable. The daughter of one having an affair with and having the baby of another friend that is unwantedly childless is one.
But, if it is a book about LIFE, why does there have to be a happy or good ending to everything in this book? I think that is too const
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Izetta Autumn
I would have said simply, that this is a book best for a summer read, when you've run out of the books that are "serious literature," and that it would be an escape. There are a few laugh out loud moments - a wife desiring that her husband be shanked while he waits outside a gas station bathroom for her. But the other jokes, I don't think are actually intended to be funny - like the way grown womyn over 35 behave and the now cliche dramatization of harried housewives of a certain means.

Let me s
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Christi
First, this was written by a Britsh author... she uses the word leant instead of leaned and other interesting British grammar.That bugged me at first, but then I got used to it.

OK, I really wasn't expecting much from this book. I mean, just look at the cover. It really looks ridiculous! I've read some other reviews that complained that this book took cliches to the next level, but I really didn't feel that way. For some reason this book gripped me and I kept reading. I wasn't looking for somethi
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Xene
i wanted to throw this book across the room several times while forcing myself to finish it. i am a little bit mad at myself for wasting hours of my life reading it, and am pretty sure i've developed new scowl lines from actively giving the book dirty looks while reading it. i should have followed the sage advice of nancy pearl and quit at 100 pages minus my age. i will stop short of listing all my grievances and move on with my life.
Teresa
This book took me forever to finish. It was such a slow read for me. I enjoyed the stories, but there were so many characters right off the bat that I had a hard time keeping them all straight. Fortunately there is a character guide in the front, so that helped.

I enjoyed all the subplots. I think that it is a very cleverly written book. It was interesting to read about their reviews of the books that they chose for their book club. There were several books that I'd like to read because of their
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Stacie Mass D-Struction
Yawn. Snore. I kept waiting for this book to get more interesting. It did not. The one character I was most interested in was shuffled to the back of the book and forgotten about. Yawn indeed.
Saraya
Echt de moeite waard om te lezen, leest vlot, is ontroerend.
Kelly Fitzmaurice
Fun, easy beach read.
Christine Blachford
Plot: The loves and lives of a group of women who get together once a month to discuss their book of choice, and get together more frequently to discuss their families. Lots of different situations, lots of twists and turns along the way, but most importantly, a happy ending.

Characters: There’s Harriet who is clever but unsatisfied, Nicole who’s dealing with a straying husband, Polly who’s daughter is about to become a mom herself and Susan who is losing hers.

Style Of Writing: Really, really, fo
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Brigitta
I’ve been meaning to read The Reading Group for ages, as the premise of the novel is what I like the most: it’s a book about books. Well, more precisely, it’s a book about five women forming a reading group and discussing a different novel each month – five women, who are in very different places in their life, and end up in even more different – and sometimes surprising places. What could be more interesting, right?

And it was interesting, I have to admit it: although the actual discussions abo
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Sabine
Ich habe dieses Buch gerne gelesen und war gefangen in den Geschichten der völlig verschiedenen Frauen. Jede hat ein eigenes Päckchen zu tragen, doch gemeinsam schaffen sie es, auch größere Krisen zu umschiffen. Es geht um Liebe und Betrug, um glückliche und zerstörte Ehen, um Mütter und Kinder und vor allem um Freundschaft.
Das Buch liest sich leicht und flüssig, der Sprachstil ist angenehm und umgangssprachlich – eben so, wie Frauen zwischen zwanzig und fünfzig reden. Die verschiedenen Charakte
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Jo
A decent enough read - thank goodness for the character list in the front because I had to refer to it regularly to keep all these women straight - and by the end I actually felt fond of them, which makes it even more disappointing that on the next to last page of this long & not particularly compelling book (which was fine) the women in the one of the women - with NO rebuttal - suggests that to be feminist means "shaving my head, wearing dungarees and quoting Germain Greer." I felt disguste ...more
Joanne
At first I thought I was going to find it difficult to keep the many characters in "The Reading Group" separate in my head. However, to Elizabeth Noble's credit, she manages to make them all very distinctive and so this was never a problem. I very quickly found myself getting drawn in to each of the character's lives and looked forward to finding enough time to read the next chapter. There was a number of unexpected plots twists which kept me reading too - always a plus point!

Nevertheless I foun
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Lori

I'm always leery of a book that has a cast of characters in the first few pages...it makes me think it's going to be confusing or there are too many characters or I'm not going to care enough to remember them on my own.
This one was more of the first one. The first half of the book left me trying to remember who was who and I don't like to do that.

The story follows a book club over the course of a year through the tumult and upheaval in the lives of its members.

I liked all the characters - I mean
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BooksAndTea
Nope. Any book that lists its characters either on the back or within the first few pages tells me it's a badly written book that doesn't do much to differentiate between the characters. I was right.

The book presumes to be about a group of women and their various family members, partners, etc. and the books that they read throughout the year. Sadly, it's really more about their personal lives and dramas and less about the books. It was like reading a soap opera, sigh. It could not hold my attent
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Kate Millin
I found it a little difficult to get the different characters and their relationships sorted at first because the book chops and changes between them. The book is broken into monthly sections with. Brief description about the book the group are reading that month at the beginning. The discussion bout the book is not attributed to characters which makes it interesting to work out who is saying what. The rest of the book is broken into vignettes based on each character or combinations of the chara ...more
Fiona Groves
I loved Elizabeth Noble's 'Things I want my Daughters to Know'. In fact, the book is still on my book shelf to re-read one day (okay I'm an optimist but hey you never know I might actually have time to re-read books one day).

This book is not of the same standard, I did, however, enjoy it. I liked the whole reading group idea and how the lives of the five members intertwined. They were all dealing with fairly relatable issues and I did find myself getting frustrated with some of them because of t
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Ann
I read this book immediately after I finished a terribly depressing one. I needed to get the taste of the latter out of my mouth. However, if it was funny and frothy I wanted, that isn't what this author wrote. Each of her characters faces a challenge, has reached a crossroads. Reading how each meets her challenges and chooses which path to take made me realize that every one of us makes decisions we then must live with every day. Can we, then, be more compassionate and kind as we meet each othe ...more
Hannah
I want to write a nice review of this book, because I really did enjoy reading it. But the more I think about it, the worse it becomes. At the end of the day, I felt so frustrated reading this book with the abrupt switches between characters - I found myself just settling in and finally getting to know a character and suddenly I'd be scrambling to catch up with some other character. It was confusing at times, and incredibly frustrating. This chopping and changing has meant that many things seeme ...more
Sam
As an indulgent reader of British "chick lit" I absolutely adored this novel, have not felt this way about a book with a "pink cover" since I stumbled upon Marian Keyes early works. There are women and there are relationships and there is drama, and within all of this there are some really serious, life-altering decisions that are explored and incurred and dealt with in real and raw ways. This is a brave first novel in a genre that doesn't take enough real risks, I'm glad I picked it up off the ...more
Lpeterso
Having recently joined a book club, this book caught my eye. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded person by person but overall felt like way too much drama was taking place. Granted, this is a made up set of circumstances and the reader knows from the beginning it would span one year in the lives of the book club participants. What an exhausting year!

I liked the writing, which generally flowed well but once in a while was a little bit awkward on account of British English references. I liked it
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
(1)literature & fiction

Elizabeth Noble was born in High Wycombe, Bucks, and now lives in New York with her husband and two daughters. She studied English at Oxford University and after graduating embarked on a career in publishing before taking up writing full time. She is the author of seven novels, The Rea
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