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Reading in Bed (2007)

by Sue Gee

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1276172,751 (3.43)6
Opening at the Hay Festival, and ending with the prospect of a spring wedding, Sue Gee's novel is a lively story of tangled relationships and the sustaining powers of good books, loyal friends and conversation. Friends since university, with busy working lives behind them, Dido and Georgia have long been looking forward to carefree days of books and conversation, when each finds herself caught up in unexpected domestic drama. Dido, for the first time, has cause to question her marriage; widowed Georgia feels 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.… (more)
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This is a story of two sixty-year-old women who have been friends since college. Dido is happily married; Georgia's husband has recently died. And life goes on, as it does, bringing with it illness, infidelity, watching your children struggle with life and love, caring for aging relatives. A good read with solid characters.

Two issues lessened my pleasure. First, the ending ties up just too perfectly. Second, the author inserts her own voice with comments such as "you guessed it" addressed to the reader. This took me out of the lives of the characters. ( )
  LynnB | Sep 10, 2015 |
This book starts off very quietly, telling about two women, life-long friends, who've had the good fortune that their husbands were friends too. They are now approaching 60, both are retired, Georgia's husband has died last year. But she is coping, of course she is.
There are children, grandchildren, the ongoing sorrow of a child lost by cot death, the joy of good health and good steady family relationships.
Yes, life is not like that - at least, never for very long. So very soon this book begins to hurt: the life without your life-long companion is painted a bit too expertly for comfort, and of course relationships are never simple and never just what they seem, and even marriages that have lasted 30 years are no guarantee for further happiness.
The storytelling is great, the characters very well developed, and the subject matter such that it kept me glued to the sofa for a whole Sunday afternoon. A very good book - my only critique being that it comes too close for comfort in its description of life as it really is.” ( )
1 vote mojacobs | Feb 15, 2011 |
I've just finished reading this book and loved every single minute of it. It's the story of Dido and Georgia, friends since university, who happened to marry two men who were also friends with each other. Lovely long marriages ensued, but sadly, as the book opens, Henry, Georgia's husband, has recently passed away. The parts of the book relating to this brought lumps to my throat, not because they were overly emotional scenes, but because they were understated, yet still so moving. At the same time, Dido and Jeffrey have their own problems to deal with.

The book starts with the two women returning from a book festival at Hay on Wye, and throughout the book there are various literary references, which work very well.

There are no speech marks in this book, with all dialogue being indicated by a dash only. For a short time at the beginning it required a little more concentration than usual, but I quickly got used to it and it all flowed so well that I began not to even notice the lack of speech marks.

This is my first Sue Gee book, but it won't be my last. Don't be fooled by the chick-lit style cover - this is a book with real depth and emotion, and I really cared about the characters. Highly recommended. ( )
  nicx27 | Dec 15, 2009 |
This wasn’t the lighthearted read that I was expecting but Gee’s writing pulled me into the lives of the characters and held me there. This is a book about life and death, bereavement, romance and of course, books. Whenever it showed signs of getting a little dark for me, Gee turned it around and lightened it up with her gentle humour. The opening pages take part in Hay on Wye, which is a Mecca for serious book lovers and immediately I was hooked. In this book we meet several characters and families whose lives are all in some way enriched by literature. Gee writes with a great sense of compassion and observation making this book a comforting read – in fact, it would make an ideal bedtime book ( )
2 vote kehs | Jun 26, 2008 |
An enjoyable read. It's a story of two close families going through very stressful times and how they deal with it and their relationships. Gee is at pains to tell you and to illustrate how middle class her characters are and how they fit the stereotype. It seems as though it is a tale written without a plan (which is fine) but then at the end is tided up nicely for us. The mad aunt Maud story is almost a sideline that rarely impinges on the main story. I like the style and would read Gee again. ( )
1 vote happyanddandy1 | Mar 23, 2008 |
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Opening at the Hay Festival, and ending with the prospect of a spring wedding, Sue Gee's novel is a lively story of tangled relationships and the sustaining powers of good books, loyal friends and conversation. Friends since university, with busy working lives behind them, Dido and Georgia have long been looking forward to carefree days of books and conversation, when each finds herself caught up in unexpected domestic drama. Dido, for the first time, has cause to question her marriage; widowed Georgia feels 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.

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