The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble

Posted: November 24, 2009 in Reviews
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From the dust jacket :

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 reading group gradually evolves into a forum where the women may express their views through the books they read and grow to become increasingly more open as the bonds of friendship cement.

My Views :

I must admit truthfully that it took me a while to get in to this story. I was actually bored within the first half an hour of the reading ,with the number of characters that keep appearing at different times of the story , I tried very hard to like it,  but even at the end it left me wanting . As you have read the blurb you know that it’s about a book club and that was the main reason for me to get this book . I loved reading Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler which was fast , hilarious , thought provoking  and intelligent all at once and had thought this would generate somewhat similar reactions from me.

I know many people have loved this book but I didn’t enjoy reading it. I wanted a little more. I wanted to know the characters  well rather then being subjected to their mundane  conversations which were at times very very confusing. The frequent flitting between the different characters  didn’t let me get comfortable with any of them.

But in all this, there were things I liked about the book , their book club meetings where in there was spontaneity and spark , something that  the rest of the book lacked very noticeably .The book selections too were good and I was actually thrilled when I had seen the index initially , where the  chapters are  named with the books they read for each month.Other than that rest of the book was a dull affair.

This was my first Elizabeth Noble book and I know people love her writing , so I guess I picked the wrong one and would definitely want to read more .

Do you have any suggestion for my next Elizabeth Noble book?

Have you read this book , if yes then did you like it ?

My rating : 3 out of 5

I would like to give you a glimpse of something I really liked in this book:

It’s their book club meeting for Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist :

‘This is a novel, isn’t it?”
“I want a word with the twenty million people whose lives
have been changed by reading this book, according to the blurb
on the back.”
“Me, too. Right, Susan. You chose it. Tell us why . . .”
Susan grimaced. “Because I believed the blurb on the back?”
It was a question. “Nice cover, not too long, author looks a bit like
Roger in the photo?”
“Not good enough. If our numbers weren’t already down without
Clare, I’d think we should drum you out of the group.”
“Hang on. Don’t say sorry to Harriet. She’s not the boss of us.”
Nicole was laughing too. “You don’t have to apologize for your
choices in this group. That, as discussed ad nauseam, is the
whole point of reading groups. They make you read things you
never would otherwise. Don’t they, Harriet?”

  1. Nicole says:

    I haven’t read Elizabeth Noble yet, but I do have a few of her books. This is one of hem, so I am disappointed to see that you didn’t like it, but I am looking forward to reading it at some point. When I flipped through the book i thought that the writing might be that which I would enjoy.

  2. I don’t think I’ve read Elizabeth Noble’s work either, but too many characters in a book does nothing but confuse me. Thanks for the review.

  3. I read this book and wasn’t very impressed – I found the characters really irritating. I guess I have a big problem with people who have affairs, but I thought that most of the people in this book deserved a big slap and should just stop moaning.

  4. athomewithbooks says:

    The idea of the story does sound really good – it’s too bad the actual reading of it wasn’t as good as the conception. I haven’t read anything by this author, but I know I’ll be skipping this one.

  5. Amused says:

    I read Noble’s ‘Things I Want My Daughter’s to Know’ this year and seriously couldn’t put it down. It was so sweet and sad and good. I highly recommend that as your next Elizabeth Noble read!

  6. Veens says:

    I have not read anything by the author but I would definitely have picked this one up… good u told me! Now I want to read Jane Austen book club 😦

    And that last one is good.. I really like it..

    I wish we had a book club 🙂

  7. priyaiyer says:

    sounds like a cool read!!

    came to your blog after a long, long time, and i am green with envy at your book collection.. it’s just so different!! and every book that you mention here seems to be worth a read..

    can i raid your bookshelf sometime? 😀