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The Reading Group

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  7,010 ratings  ·  807 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, P.S., 464 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2003)
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3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,010 ratings  ·  807 reviews

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Jul 09, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sharon Metcalf
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, owned
Perhaps I should have read The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble a few years back when I was a dedicated chick lit reader. At that time I couldn't get enough of Elizabeth Nobles writing and I remember being spellbound by each of her books. Having since joined reading groups of my own - both here on Goodreads and irl - my reading horizons have broadened and consequently my enjoyment of this one was possibly less than it otherwise would have been. I still have a fondness for this genre and I was ha ...more
Patricia Williams
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished this book. It was not because I did not enjoy it but that I've been traveling that I have not had enough time to read, so it took me a while. But the book was very good IMO. In the beginning I was not sure I would like it but I got into the characters and I wanted to know more about them. This story is written in 12 chapters. Each chapter is a month and each month there is the book the book club is reading. AT the beginning of the chapter, there is story about book club meetin ...more
Hilary G
Dec 10, 2012 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
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, not for any great or particular reason but every character seemed to have a little piece of me in them. I looked forward to each new chapter, some of them although lengthy really hit a nerve in regards to how the characters were being treated or how they behaved themselves. Cressida and Polly definitely were a true mother & daughter team and I loved them.
This was an easy read. I listened as an audiobook - lovely British accent(!) - it kept me company on a drive up and back from the coast, and while walking and crocheting. I loved the conversations around the books each month - I may have to add some of those books to my TBR list(!) - and then the way we were given glimpses into each woman’s life throughout the rest of the month - and how the book storylines sometimes played out in, or were in direct opposition to, the dramas in their own lives.
May 07, 2008 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
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
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was sure this book would be a favourite, given my fondness for book clubs, smart chick lit, and British books in general. This bestselling novel revolves around several women who are all members of a reading group, and in each chapter they discuss (briefly) a different book before the action turns to their personal lives. However, for me it just felt flat. For the most part, the women were self-absorbed and I just didn't feel connected to any of them. Now, if Elizabeth Noble had chosen to writ ...more
ॐ Pixie
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2017
I rarely write reviews but this book needs one to warn readers expecting a story about a reading group, as suggested by the title. Yes, there is a reading group, but the story is only very loosely based around it to allow for them to get together to gossip about nappies, motherhood (oh the wonder! oh the miracle!) and what adorable thing Little Chloe said today. There's barely a couple of paragraphs each month referring to the books chosen and read and why, and one month they don't even bother w ...more
Amanda Young
This book was painful to read. These characters! I've met them a thousand times before in other chick lit and frankly I've never met a set of characters that I could care less about. Especially Polly!
I'll just leave this right here and move on to something new and hopefully better.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one lost a star from me because of the presentation of abortion. I understand that it is the author's book and they have a certain perspective on abortion, but it felt a little as though only one side of the story was presented.
A group of women of varying ages and backgrounds form a reading group. Throughout the year they each experience joys and sorrows that bring them closer together as a group. The premise is good and the book is entertaining enough, I just thought the author could have done so much more with it.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an entertaining beach read. Some might call it chick lit, but I don't like that term. I took it on my trip to Europe and it was perfect--not too taxing, enjoyable, a light read.
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
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Echt de moeite waard om te lezen, leest vlot, is ontroerend.
K. Osborn
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, easy beach read.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, chick-lit, fiction
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.
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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