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The Reading Group

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  6,307 Ratings  ·  721 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’s lives becomes intertwined, both through the books they read and the real-life stories they tell.

Inspired by a shared desire for conversation, a good book and a glass of wine, Clare, Harriet, Nicole, Polly a
Paperback, 429 pages
Published 2005 by Perennial (first published 2003)
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Jul 09, 2007 K rated it did not like it
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
Hilary G
Dec 10, 2012 Hilary G rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 14, 2007 Julie rated it really liked it
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.
Carol Vuillemenot
Nov 17, 2008 Carol Vuillemenot rated it really liked it
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
Feb 09, 2009 Kass rated it did not like it
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
It took me a while to get this book, and I was attempted to abandon it early on.

I liked the idea of the book group and sharing the stories of the main characters, but I found it confusing in parts, especially during the book group as there was a lot of dialogue between more than two characters and I couldn't work out who was talking when.

The stories of all the characters were quite complicated and could almost have a whole book for each of them to get deeper into their stories as they were all d
Jul 07, 2008 Melinda rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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.
Jun 19, 2015 Xene rated it it was ok
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.
May 07, 2008 BoekenTrol rated it liked it  ·  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
Izetta Autumn
Jun 27, 2007 Izetta Autumn rated it did not like it
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
Jun 03, 2010 Karen rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
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
May 22, 2009 Christi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
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
Apr 13, 2012 Juliette rated it it was ok
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
Jul 02, 2015 Meghan rated it really liked it
So, I actually really loved this. The book switches perspectives often as it explores the lives of the women in this book club. Though some of the women were not previously friends, they become very close over the year in which the book takes place, mostly thanks to the book club. Nothing particularly earth-shattering happens, but the difficulties of real life definitely hit home: infidelity, frustration with kids, unplanned pregnancies, complicated relationships, infertility, aging parents, sib ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it
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
Feb 10, 2008 Teresa rated it it was ok
Shelves: other-fiction
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
Jul 13, 2014 Saraya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Echt de moeite waard om te lezen, leest vlot, is ontroerend.
K. Osborn
May 26, 2016 K. Osborn rated it really liked it
If you liked Angry will LOVE this book! Couldn't put it down. Sad, but triumphant and so very believable because the characters were so flawed! Good read for sure! :)
Kelly Fitzmaurice
Jul 28, 2014 Kelly Fitzmaurice rated it really liked it
Fun, easy beach read.
Mar 30, 2014 Stacie rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction, 2014
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.
Katie Pozzuoli
Mar 19, 2017 Katie Pozzuoli rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I felt that the women were real characters with depth. I could identify with many of their emotions, but, as with real people, I was sometimes confused, perturbed, or in strong disagreement with their actions. I thought their narratives were compelling and I finished it in just a few days. I did think the premise that their lives were intertwined with the books they read wasn't executed very well - or at least not very clearly, especially if you were unfamiliar with t ...more
Ceelee Sunshine
Sep 22, 2016 Ceelee Sunshine rated it it was amazing
I love the euphoria...and sometimes sheer relief.... when I finish a book! I want to talk about it, to think about it days afterward. even as I am starting a new book maybe even five minutes later. I just finished THE READING GROUP about 30 minutes ago and I have to say I totally loved it! The characters feel real to me and to find they were actually based on real people of the author's acquaintance, and even herself and her own reading group, is really exciting and gives them more depth. Obviou ...more
Dec 24, 2012 Clo rated it really liked it
What a lovely book to read just before Christmas?

I've been a fan of Elizabeth Noble ever since I read her bestseller; things I want my daughters to know and I love her style of writing, she always always develops her characters in such a way, I am sure these characters will stay with me for a few days.

So we start off with 5 women; who all know each other through someone and they all have a story to tell. I enjoyed it from that start because towards the end of the book I felt like they were my be
Mary Ann
Jan 02, 2017 Mary Ann rated it it was ok
I'd read a similar book a while back only it was set in the U.S. The friend who recommended it to me said she could see a part of each of the characters in her book club - that grabbed me and after reading, I agree in part. There is always someone with significant other issues, someone with kid issues, someone dealing with an aging ill parent, etc. But it seemed like the importance of being a mother and having ones entire life revolve around ones kids was the key message. If you weren't one, or ...more
Aug 30, 2009 Leah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2009
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 startling revelations and transformations despite their differences in background, age and respective dilemmas.

What starts as a r
The Reading Group: A Novel (P.S.) by Elizabeth Noble tells the story of a book club which consists of a collection of middle-aged women facing a variety of challenges in their lives and how the friendships they develop support them through these crises. Although it deals with heavier topics, such as infidelity, abortion and the death of one's parents, it is a decidedly light-hearted novel which celebrates female friendship.

The book is told from the perspectives of each of the book club members (
Nov 18, 2015 Karyl rated it it was ok
In reality I'd give this 2.5 stars

I had the great good fortune to be part of a really great book club when I lived in Virginia. We had a lovely group of women (though our membership fluctuated a great deal more than the one featured in this book), but we never really got to be as close as the ladies in The Reading Group grew to be. Perhaps it's because we met at the library instead of a person's home, but also perhaps it's because most of the members didn't have the major issues that these lad
Oct 01, 2011 Carolyn rated it it was ok
This is another book about a book club. I love the concept of the story, and seeing the books they read every month. Of course, this then leads to me adding more books to my to-read list!

You have 5 women, brought together through the two main characters who start the group, Harriet and Nicole. Polly and Susan are also best friends, and members of the club, and Susan's co-worker, Mary asks if her daughter Clare, can join the group too, just to get out with other women. Good thing there's a charac
Mar 02, 2014 Sabine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-read
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
Nancy Kroneberger
Sep 10, 2016 Nancy Kroneberger rated it really liked it
This book was a good read. It follows a group of 5 women through one year of their book club experiences. One woman is a happily married mother with college-age sons, whose mother's health is failing quickly. Another woman appears to be happily married with three kids, but later we find out her husband is a serial cheater. Another woman seems to have the perfect family--husband who adores her and three children, but she keeps longing for a man from her past. Another woman, who has recently becom ...more
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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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