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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Welcome from your moderator

Welcome to the Barnes and Noble online discussion of Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children, an extraordinary new “comedy of manners” set among the “glittering chatterati” of contemporary New York, and including the events of September 11th. I’m looking forward to hearing from you! Are you familiar with Messud’s fiction or new to her work? Do any of her portrayals hit close to home for you?

I’m Rachel, your moderator for the month. I’m a mom and a librarian, and have recently relocated to the South.
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bobzyeruncle
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎09-25-2007
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

[ Edited ]
Hi Rachel,

Thanks for moderating.

Can we please remind people (or maybe tell me that I'm misinformed) about posting spoilers, or at least labeling them as such?

It's my understanding that we read this book over the course of the month. Perhpas I'm wrong and we're supposed to have read it before we discuss??

Granted, some people will get done earlier than others ... and some have already finished, which is fantastic, but to post plot points in very early discussions (eg, first impressions, introductions of participants, and questions to the author) will certainly detract from other readers' enjoyment of the book.

For example, I now know that two characters will be married and that's something I'd have never thought would be given away in a question to the author before the club has really officially started.

Sorry for the whinge, I just think some ground rules ought to be established.

Message Edited by bobzyeruncle on 09-30-2007 01:43 PM
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Bob
www.bobzyeruncle.com
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Walrus
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎09-28-2007
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

Sorry, sorry but every bookclub I ever heard about in order to discuss you had to read the book first. ALSO THE QUESTION WAS ADDRESSED TO THE AUTHOR - DIDN'T realize others would read it also and expected some answer today Monday. Did not see any ground rules posted or would have followed them. If everyone starts to complain it is not worth the trouble to discuss.
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KathyH
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-25-2006
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

Hi Rachel,

Where in the South did you relocate? I have friends in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (originally me through a pen pal relationship). I spent last Thanksgiving with them and already have my ticket for this year.

KathyH
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KathyH
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-25-2006
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

[ Edited ]
Hi Walrus,

I know, I know. Every new experience includes people who have been involved for ages and we tend to forget we were once the "new kid at school." Welcome to this experience and I hope it begins many new ones for you. I look forward to hearing your "take" on this book.

KathyH

Message Edited by KathyH on 10-01-2007 01:36 PM
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Cathykinn
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

Not at B & N do you have to pre-read the book....We are usually very good at observing the chapter boundaries within which the discussion is going and using "spoiler alerts". I just started the book and, like Bob, never dreamed I would learn much more than I wanted to know just from reading the introductions.
Cathy
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Walrus
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎09-28-2007
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

I don't think I really understand and it should have very clearly stated in the beginning that you read the book as you go along or it seems as fast as Bob goes along. He is, in addition reading other books at the same time and appears to be an author himself so is perhaps approaching the discussion from a different view point. Anyway there were other references to events that happen very near the end which were moderator remarks so again I did not realize I would spill the beans. I did see the repeated sections divided by chapters but again just thought it was duplication for some reason since everything seemed to be repeated over and over etc. Be that as it may, I still think you have to mention some of the plot and action in order to analyze the characters and the story the book is trying to tell us. I really appreciate Claire Messud response to my question about the use of so many parenthesis and dashes to convet her stream of consciousness thinking. I knew what it meant just thought at times somewhat excessive. It was the first time I "conversed" with an author even though I live across the street from a large Barnes and Noble store where they do have many author signings and sightings. I have to admit that the word that really got to me was flummox. Never ever heard anyone in N.Y.C. use it. There were others also that you would need a dictionary for. I should have writted them down had I known there would be a club. You will know them when you see them. Don't mean to sound flippant but if I want to read Shakespeare would read Shakespeare. Will try to jump in time and time again when I sense others have caught up- never thought it would go on for a month. I liked the book not clear if I would recommend to friends and family. Ididn't love it and although the characters may be real they were not my favorites and as the saying goes would not cross the street to meet them and can't say whether I'll even remember them for long.
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KathyH
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-25-2006
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

Hi Walrus,

I just received this book and two others I want to read and discuss, so this weekend I'll read them. The one on the history of the Korean War may take more time!

Please keep reading readers' posts and jump in. There are too many "viewers" and not enough "participants," in my opinion. I love to hear what other readers think and on what tangents their reading led them.

As for reading with a dictionary, you might tackle The War of the World by Niall Ferguson.

KathyH
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: Welcome from your moderator

Hi Walrus, please continue to jump in and post your thoughts. We need more input, and its always good to have many people at the table.

I agree with you that these characters are not very likeable; I found them frivolous, maddening and full of themselves.

Some books have marvelous, lovable people that you can't help but fall in love with, like Jane Eyre or David Copperfield, so you continue reading because you want to know more about them, and what will happen to them.

Other books have great plots, like suspense novels, where characters are not always well written, but you continue reading because you want to know how it all ends.

This book is different. It's the style of writing that holds my attention. If you've read Jane Austen, you'll know what I mean. The author writes about people she's spent a lot of time with observing, studying. She knows them inside and out. It's up to the readers if they like them or not.

But it's the WAY that she writes about them, exposing their flaws and their imperfections. That's one thing that so good about this book.
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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