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The Reading Group PDF, ePub eBook

4.6 out of 5
30 review

The Reading Group

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The Reading Group PDF, ePub eBook 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 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 and Susan undergo startling revelations and transformations despite their difference in background, age and respective dilemmas. In The Reading Group, Noble reveals the many complicated paths in life we all face as well as the power and importance of friendship.

30 review for The Reading Group

  1. 4 out of 5

    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 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 on topics that were too big for her, and then dealt with them in a superficial way. I felt that even her choice of complex scenarios was clicheed -- sandwich generation, midlife crisis, finding the courage to finally leave an unfaithful husband, teen pregnancy, etc. All of these topics have been done to death in literature, and she did not bring any original twists to them. If you're going to write about hackneyed situations, at least make them a little unique by varying the circumstances and/or the characters. But not only were these situations and everything about them clicheed, they were dealt with very superficially. Complaint #2a: I think that some of the problem was that there were too many characters and situations for Noble to delve deeply into any one of them. Basically, I feel she bit off more than she could chew both in terms of the situations themselves, and in trying to write about all of them in one book -- especially since this was really meant to be chick lit. I do think that chick lit can have deeper themes; e.g., "I Don't Know How She Does It" managed to pull off a light, breezy, and often funny tone while simultaneously offering a very real and complex exploration of the conflicts of a working mother. However, the genre is limited in its ability to remain light while exploring these themes and chick lit authors need to be realistic about maintaining that balance. Basically, this book was trying to be both a light, breezy chick lit book and a deep, complex exploration of psychologically significant situations. It ended up being neither of those things. Complaint #3: Although this book was ostensibly about the book group and how their relationships/interactions gel, there was actually very little focus on the group qua group. It was more about the individual women and their particular situations, occasionally including interactions between women who were friends before they joined the book group. I didn't get any sense of women who ordinarily wouldn't have met being thrown together and interacting in this setting, and how their relationships developed. Complaint #4: Dialogue needs to include occasional indications of who's saying what, not to mention visual details, especially if the dialogue is taking place among four or five people! During the actual book club meeting interludes, brief and sporadic though they were, you could never tell who was saying what about the book. In this way, the author missed a great opportunity for characterization and for executing the ostensible theme of the book (i.e., the connection between the literature and the characters' personal issues). Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest, and if you're still reading, I thank you for your patience!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Metcalf

    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 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 happy to spend time immersed in this story of several women whose friendship was cemented through their bookish chats. Centred around the five core members of the reading group with hordes of secondary characters in the shape of children, parents, siblings, husbands, partners, lovers it sometimes became tricky to keep track of them all. However, it wasn't offputting and as their stories unfolded this became easier. The Reading Group shone a spotlight on these womens lives and relationships. It covered universal subjects - motherhood in all shapes and sizes. Women desperate to become pregnant, others stressing over unplanned pregnancies, even those grappling with their decision to terminate. It was about mothers of children both young and old and the lengths they would go to for their offspring. It also touched upon the difficulties of aging parents, of losing family members. It was about the men in their lives - devoted husbands, cheating husbands, lovers, fiancee's, the works. I thoroughly enjoyed the bookish chats as we were privy to the twelve books they read throughout the course of the year. It included bookclub style analysis of some I'd read, others I own, many already on my TBR and a couple of new ones to be added. As I said at the outset, if I'd discovered this before I found Goodreads I would have probably have loved it even more as almost every one of the twelve would have been new to me. Although reading it when I did meant I had a better appreciation of the joys of sharing friendships, our own stories and the value of quality books through my own Reading Group(s).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Williams

    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 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 meeting, discussion they had and food they ate, then the chapter went on to tell you what was going on in each person's life. I tried in my mind to connect what was going on with the book they were reading but I was never able to do this. But I still really loved the characters and the stories of their life. Escellent read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    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 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 stuff about any of them, with the possible exception of Alice. Curiously, while she lost her grip on reality, she seemed the most real of this bunch to me. I felt frustrated and a bit angry really, because a novel based on a reading group was such a good idea and it is a shame it was squandered on such a trivial story. To be honest, I was less interested in the characters than the books, and these were well and truly pushed into the background. I couldn't believe it when I got to the end and everyone was saying how important and meaningful the reading group was because it had been treated as so peripheral, just a literary device for getting so many whining women in the same room at the same time. When the women were chatting about the books, either you couldn't tell whose opinion you were reading, or one person hijacked the subject to relate it to her own angst-ridden domestic life. I didn't learn anything new about these women from anything they said about the books or even the book choices they made. Are we like this? I think not. I think we are more different from each other than this group of female, married, middle class WASPs. Most of us have a thread that links us (Brats, or whatever) but have lived different lives in different places. I think I could recognise one of Hel's reviews even if it were posted anonymously. I could certainly recognise one of Ray's. Sue's remind me of her – ordered and thoughtful. Carl is usually a bit of an agent provocateur, something this group could have done with. They were so civilised, so polite, so DULL. I wish I could have joined and thrown in Atomised or The Story of O. This was such a "women's book", just like the women's page in newspapers, full of household hints, tips about child rearing, cookery, flower arranging, weight loss and how to please your man. But I thought Elizabeth Noble accidentally said a lot about women that was negative. This was usually because her characters were so two dimensional. An example - many women like charming rogues, but because Gavin was textbook womaniser with no light or shade (and definitely no charm), Nicole's desperation to hang on to him looked merely pathetic. I think I'll stop now, but not without mentioning those names. Nicole, Eliot, Polly, George and Martha – and Cressida for God's sake – how Home Counties can you get? (This is where you all declare offspring called Martha, and cousins called Cressida). This book hadn't been properly proofread. I saw several typographical errors, which annoyed me. It bore the hallmarks of being rushed out to cash in on the current vogue for reading groups, and I doubt the story mattered much. I doubt also whether the book would have done a tenth as well without that title. Had it not been called The Reading Group, I think it would have sunk without trace.

  5. 4 out of 5

    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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    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 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 become more and more intertwined. This novel deals with bonding and friendship from a very interesting angle.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kass

    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 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 to anyone in the book. I didn't like anyone in the book. And I got tired of everyone and everything being predictable in the book. Also, the writing was pretty lousy for a book that was sweeping a nation (as it says on the back cover). It wasn't just me, the book club on the whole tore it into tiny little wine-soaked pieces. We all agreed it had unlikable characters, unfinished story lines, and half-baked ideas. It was even offered up that perhaps the author was drinking while writing and forgot where a storyline or character began and ended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Grada (BoekenTrol)

    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 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 constructed, too made up. Things are going wrong in life: one has a divorce, another can't have chilrden, some have a bad relationship with their parents. That doesn't neccessarily mean that the one who has a divorce finds a new love who accepts her daughter AND the baby, that, by the way she (mother / grandmother) takes care of, since she wants her daughter to have what she couldn't a (good education, going out and have fun with friends and a good start in life because she herself had a baby at a young age. The one who has no children finds her way to Romania, to help the children in a foster home (and meanwhile starting her own reading club there). The friend who has a bad relationship with her sister finds out that her sister is actually her niece. Her mother was her aunt, that took her in, when her mother was killed in a car accident. The nieces / sisters are now coming to terms with the past and living happily together. The friend who thought she didn't love her husband anymore drove him out of their house eventually. BUT, when he left, she found out how much she really loved him, wrote him a letter and back he came. They too lived happily everafter. For me that was way too many happy endings in one book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    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 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 dealing with quite deep issues. That said, once I got into it, I did want to know how each story would be resolved.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elinor

    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 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 write about MY book group, that novel would have been a lot more interesting!

  15. 5 out of 5

    ॐ Pixie

    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 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 with that. Yes, I know book clubs can oftentimes be more about the chat and camaraderie..I GET IT ALREADY. Back to the books please. I'd also like to point out that for someone child-free by choice (like myself) the 'cloying-baby-smell-cutesie-toesies' shit can get old REALLY quickly. And it is ALL ABOUT the 'cloying-baby-smell-cutesie-toesies'. 433 pages of it!. I can only surmise that the author was either pregnant, broody or a new mother when she wrote it, as it comes across as almost evangelical about how special the baby/mother bond is. Ad nauseum. I have nothing against babies (even though I care not to squeeze one out), or mothers for that matter (I have a rather wonderful one myself) but I feel that this book drew me in under false pretences. I only finished it because I am bloody-minded like that. I have given it a VERY generous 3 stars based on the character development only (especially Harriet).

  16. 5 out of 5

    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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Suezq

    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.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda Harraka

    This book didn’t interest me, I believe I don’t like books that jump from character to character.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    Couldn’t waste anymore time on this book. It evolves around the lives of members of a reading group. It’s not grabbing me after 100 pages, confusing at times. When a book feels like a chore to read it’s time to give it up.

  22. 5 out of 5

    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 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 start with what I appreciated. As a member of a book club I liked that many books were discussed - many of which I'd now like to read. I also appreciated Noble's realistic portrayal of book group dynamics - there's always an assertive one, someone more mild, someone who never reads the book and likes to socialize. This I found funny and even enjoyable as I compared it to my own reading group. Too, the idea that two different friends with drastically different marraiages interact is a level slightly below interesting. And that's where it ends for me. I like a good no-need-to-think-too-hard novel just as much as the next person, but the way in which womyn are portrayed in this novel unsettles me. I would have dismissed this if one of the major protagonists (spoiler coming don't read if you don't want to know part of the ending) has an abortion after conniving to get herself pregnant to make her man stay. The plot then delivers a wolf in sheep's clothing dissection of abortion, with which I have serious issues because it ultimately intimates that abortion is bad for womyn because they will be wracked with guilt (and other womyn, namely your friends, won't approve.) While that could be realistic for some communities and interesting to build upon, the complexity (though the author tried) is missing. For this reason and the number of characters it's necessary to follow, the dialogue which doesn't always flow (this could admittedly, be me as an American reading a Brittish novel), and the sheer length, make this not my number one pick for a lazy summer read. Instead, I would suggest a Sophie Kinsella novel - full of good laughs, completely unrealistic, and no abortion themes (as yet) that disservice womyn. The protagonist may be immature (this is in fact why we love her) but she's at least checked in her fantasies.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    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 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 wanted to spend my next 200 pages read on a better written book--so I am starting another one rather than finish this one. I will say that abandoning books (or movies, or chores, etc.) midway through is not something I typically do. It is not a decision I took lightly. There were things I enjoyed about the book, such as: - the character of Susan - the promise of what this book could have been and the relationships between the women - the premise of a book about a reading group But this book fell short in the following areas: - Depth of characterization (too many characters, not leaving enough room to go deeply enough into any one) - Depth of discussion about the books the women in the reading group read (while I won't be finishing this book, I will be reading some of the selections herein) - Depth of plot (too many back stories, leaving none of them to be developed in any real depth) I think the author had a very good idea--and was very ambitious in including so many characters and subplots. But in the end, she bit off too much. The book wasn't executed well. Perhaps if my time wasn't so valuable, I would've read this book through to the end to see how things were resolved. But, given the fact that I didn't even care even after reading 50% of the book through, tells me that the author failed to create a compelling work and compassionate characters. Two stars is the best I can do for Elizabeth Noble, and that is simply giving her the benefit of the doubt and being generous, since I didn't feel it was worth finishing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    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 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 something serious, but a few situations in this book really were serious and the characters had to learn to get on with life. I liked that it didn't dwell too much on the sadness in life and that it showed how we love each other and how we keep loving our friends and family no matter what happens. It's a human flaw to keep loving someone even if they have made bad decisions in life and that's OK. So this book is about what happens outside of a book group. Each chapter gave a book summary and showed the women meeting at the book club, but that was sort of a secondary or even tertiary point in the book. The meetings didn't actually add a whole lot to the book, they were kind of just there to reiterate the plot and what the characters where going through. In the end, I really liked this book because it wasn't all about those lame book groups that just hang out and don't talk about the book group. It's about the people in the book group(see the Margaret Atwood quote at the beginning). I like that. Possibly, if I had read this book at some other time in my life I would not have liked it. It's an easy read that talks about some complex issues, but doesn't beat them into your head. It's a book about women and how they relate to each other, but doesn't make those relationships too sticky or too sour. It's a book about how to keep loving even when it hurts, but it doesn't make you want to throw up, or at least, it didn't make me want to throw up!

  25. 5 out of 5

    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 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 thoughtful conversations around and about the book that gave nothing of importance away. I hate to be a big stupid American, but this book was a little too British for me. I've also read quite a few British authors, but this was the first one where I just really got lost in the British speak. I don't know what a PC is for them, or a GP, or an Aga (which I still don't know, but suspect it's a stove) yes I figured it all out, but by the time I did, the story was a bit muddled for me. I don't mind too much, but part of me wonders how much of it was done on purpose or how much other British authors change how they write with Americans in mind, or do the editors take care of the big things when it gets printed in America? Finally the two main story lines was basically a retelling of two storylines in Lipstick Jungle, but even if I hadn't read that book, it's the same old song and dance. One woman loves her cheating husband, her best friend is in a marriage with a man she's not "in" love with, blah, blah, blah.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    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 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, sibling/family drama, feeling fat...it's all in here! I chose this book off the library shelf because it had a pretty cover and an intriguing title, and I expected a light, fun read; I was therefore surprised at the depth of emotion that the author was able to explore, and I found myself tearing up several times. Sometimes life is hard, and this book does a great job showing how regular people make the best of it. I did find it hard to get into; the constantly shifting perspectives confused me at first, and I had to keep referencing the character list to keep everyone straight. The book takes place in England, so there were many British-isms, which I happened to love. Also, the book is organized chronologically by month, and we get a little summary of each month's chosen book for the book club before each monthly "chapter." I am sure these books were somehow supposed to parallel the story, but I was unable to make the connections, which is not surprising because I usually have trouble with that particular writing technique.

  27. 5 out of 5

    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, 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, perfect for someone with only small pockets of time to read. I hate to admit that I did struggle with some of the language. Being from the United States, I didn't know what some words or places were. For the most part I was able to figure it out from context. I started to really enjoy the fact that the women spoke a little differently than what I'm used too, it reminded me that they were in a different country. It was really kinda charming. I think I may start using "brilliant" and "clever" more often.

  28. 4 out of 5

    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 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 comments. However, I'm a huge fan of The Alchemist, and it wasn't a favorite among the group. (They must have missed the bigger picture.) I'd recommend it, I suppose, if you can get into it faster than I did. It wasn't a bad book, but took a long time getting through.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    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.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Fitzmaurice

    Fun, easy beach read.

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