27 Mar 2011

READING IN BED.

The 28th book in my 100+ Reading Challenge.

READING IN BED by SUE GEE.

'People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.'

Friends since university, with busy working lives behind them, Dido and Georgia have long been looking forward to books and outings, conversation and carefree days. Alas: life is rarely as one wishes it to be. Dido, for the time, has cause to question her marriage; widowed Georgia is certain her husband will return to her. Meanwhile an eccentric country cousin goes wildly off the rails, children are unhappy in love, and perfect health is all at once in question.

With so much at stake, even this old friendship comes under strain. As hatches are battened down, it takes all their loyalty and humour to recover the easy, confiding intimacy of the past.
....... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: There they go, two clever women of sixty, making their way through the wet towards the car.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Each longs for the solace good books offer, but life is taking over from art, and Dido, with today's discovery, isn't sure if she'll find pleasure in reading, or anything else, ever again.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: A reading group read, keeping it is not an option, this will be going back for other groups to read and discuss. I won't be buying a copy of this but will probably look the author up at another time.

Left to my own devices despite a wonderful title - Reading In Bed (my favourite place to read) - and the promising blurb of the back cover, I'm not too sure I would have read this.

A very slow start, if I had been a reader with a '100 page rule' I would never have finished the book but as it was I carried on and was glad I did.

With several interesting plots, some of which, I'm sure most of us will identify with, and well observed characters, once again I'm sure most of us will know/know of someone just like them, this was an enjoyable, and in some ways, comfortable and familiar read.

I say in some ways a comfortable read as it was not all like this, two strands to the story being particularly harrowing, but that said it was a story all about relationships and as such was bound to have its 'ups and downs'.

"Was it chick-lit?" asked a friend. I wouldn't have described it as such, no, as, to me, it wasn't 'fluffy' enough and dealt with two very serious issues (if not in an overly deep way). "Aah, hard core chick-lit then." Not a term I've ever heard before but, yes, I suppose its one way of describing it.

My problem with the book then?

I just didn't like the authors style of writing. Grief another book without chapters, I hear you say. No, this wasn't my complaint this time ....... lack of speech marks was what really annoyed me. Confusing and just plain lazy(?) I really didn't like the lack of these and the authors use of a hyphen instead.

Also, though I'm no fan of collections of short stories, I think that perhaps given the number of strands to this book and the number of characters playing a major role, it may well have proved a more suitable (and, especially in the beginning, less confusing) format if each of the 'events' was dealt with as an independent story with the common theme of friendship, family and books running throughout.


17 comments:

Mary said...

What a thoughtful review. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (read recently) also didn't have quotation marks. It was annoying at first but then I got used to it. I'm not sure why authors do that unless it's an evil way to make sure readers read every word, LOL. Personally, I think it's gimmicky and don't appreciate it.
What I do appreciate is your review of this book :)

Arti said...

From the way you started this post and looking at all the characters this looked promising... But then the interest slowly started fizzling away when the whole review neared its end!! Could it have been better if written by some other author, the seems good enough??
Have a wonderful day:-)

Arti said...

Sorry missed the word 'plot' before seems good enough.

Misha said...

Lack of quotation marks ruins books! I wonder why authors do that. It makes everything so difficult to comprehend!

Vivienne said...

I am not keen on the lack of quotation marks either, yet they seem to be a growing trend.

Kelly said...

I think I would problably enjoy this one. Not using quotation marks for speech bothers me, too, though. That and when they go on and on for quite sometime without identifiying the speakers. Sometimes I lose track of who said what!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Someone had recommended this book and I acquired it last year, but have not read it yet (story of my life lately).

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Great review.... hmmm... I would probably pass on this one.

Jenners said...

Oh I hate when writers don't use puctuation like that. It just makes reading more difficult.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Great honest review! Sorry you didn't care for the writing style though. :) But that happens from time to time. Thanks!

Valerie said...

Lack of chapter breaks and quotation marks get to me, too. The authors who do that have to be really good to be able to get away with it. Unfortunately, I don't come across many that pull it off well enough.

Suko said...

This sounded like a post about the pleasures of reading in bed. Sorry that you did not enjoy this book more.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I hate it when it is things like that that distract from the story. Wish you could have enjoyed yourself more. Well, hopefully the next will be fun.

GMR said...

You know what? I had the same reaction. The cover and title looked interesting as did your memorable moment, but the blurb for me...eh...fell short. I know, you can't judge a book by the blurb, but I get the feeling this one mightnot be for me despite the bookish title love. Thanks for sharing though...enjoyed the review!

BookQuoter said...

This is why I love blogging. I get spared the trouble of borrowing this book, or spending for it. That format would bug me too!

naida said...

Too bad it wasn't so great. The lack of quotation marks would annoy me as well.

purplume said...

I don't think I've read anything without quotation marks.