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Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hello!  I am Choisya from Over the Pond. I am a retired widow living in the Home Counties with my elderly black cat and a couple of lodgers who help me pay for my holidays in Europe.  My other hobby is gardening but in the winter I spend a lot of time on these book clubs and have made many friends here over the past 5 years. 

 

My family, social and working life has been in politics and I worked as a researcher at the House of Commons and Downing Street for 35 years.  My father was a leading trade unionist and his mother, my grandmother, was a Suffragette.  So I am a dyed in the wool left winger, a real socialist no less:smileyvery-happy:'The Believers' is therefore of particular interest to me and I look forward to reading about a 'left wing' American political family with Americans:smileyhappy:.     

 

C.

Contributor
corym
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hello!

 

This is Charlotte Waters from Texas and I have not received my book yet.  Has anyone else had this problem?

 

Thanks

Inspired Correspondent
Maria_H
Posts: 791
Registered: ‎07-19-2007
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hi Charlotte,

 

Another copy is on its way to you.

 


corym wrote:

Hello!

 

This is Charlotte Waters from Texas and I have not received my book yet.  Has anyone else had this problem?

 

Thanks


 

 



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Author
Zoe-Heller
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎10-27-2008
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hello everyone! 

I have been experiencing technical difficulties but I'm on at last!

I spent last night trawling through all your posts to date - it made for fascinating reading. Before I go ahead and start answering some of the questions, I want to say something briefly about the vexed question of "likeable" characters. A lot of you have remarked on Audrey's monstrousness and quite a few of you have commented regretfully on the absence of any one to really root for in this novel. Hmm. Well, you've hit on a theme that often comes up in discussions of my novels: I don't place a very high premium on presenting admirable or exemplary characters. The truth is, I have a problem with the demand for nice people in fiction. Rather like the demand for happy endings or for inspirational, uplifting stories, it seems to me to be based on a false premise about what literary fiction is for. As I see it, it's not the job of fiction to present you with people with whom you might like to be friends in real life. Novels aren't cocktail parties! And aren't some of the most memorable and compelling fictional characters the nasty ones? (Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair? Sabbath in Sabbath's Theater? Iago in Othello?)

Of course, if I haven't managed to engender any moral sympathy or understanding for Audrey and her family, then I have certainly failed...but I'll come back to all this later. For now, that's all and I'll move on to the questions thread!

  P.S. One more thing: why don't people like Karla? I understand the animosity towards Audrey - but Karla? What's not to like? Her weight?


Learn more about The Believers.

Discover all Zoë Heller titles.
CAG
Inspired Correspondent
CAG
Posts: 218
Registered: ‎01-15-2007
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions


Zoe-Heller wrote:

Hello everyone! 

I have been experiencing technical difficulties but I'm on at last!

I spent last night trawling through all your posts to date - it made for fascinating reading. Before I go ahead and start answering some of the questions, I want to say something briefly about the vexed question of "likeable" characters. A lot of you have remarked on Audrey's monstrousness and quite a few of you have commented regretfully on the absence of any one to really root for in this novel. Hmm. Well, you've hit on a theme that often comes up in discussions of my novels: I don't place a very high premium on presenting admirable or exemplary characters. The truth is, I have a problem with the demand for nice people in fiction. Rather like the demand for happy endings or for inspirational, uplifting stories, it seems to me to be based on a false premise about what literary fiction is for. As I see it, it's not the job of fiction to present you with people with whom you might like to be friends in real life. Novels aren't cocktail parties! And aren't some of the most memorable and compelling fictional characters the nasty ones? (Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair? Sabbath in Sabbath's Theater? Iago in Othello?)

Of course, if I haven't managed to engender any moral sympathy or understanding for Audrey and her family, then I have certainly failed...but I'll come back to all this later. For now, that's all and I'll move on to the questions thread!

  P.S. One more thing: why don't people like Karla? I understand the animosity towards Audrey - but Karla? What's not to like? Her weight?


 

I am so glad you said that. I don't want characters in books to be always "nice". I much prefer them to be real and I think that is exactly what your writing does. Real people are not always good and kind. Doesn't everyone have flaws in their personality and certain moments when even the best can be down right awful. True, some more than others. However, I liked this book from the very beginning because of your writing style. I appreciated your comments.  
CAG
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Zoe-Heller wrote:  I don't place a very high premium on presenting admirable or exemplary characters. The truth is, I have a problem with the demand for nice people in fiction.

 

I understand what you are saying, and agree that often it's the not so nice people who are more interesting, in fiction as in life.   (Who do we gossip about, who makes the pages of People magazine, who do we read biographies of?  Not the nice people!)

 

But I will argue that along with the interesting not-nice people, there is a benefit in books to having some nice people we (who are, of course, all nice people ourselves) can relate to. A friend, as it were, inside the book who we can share little asides with, who we can cheer for when good things happen (who cares whether something nice happens to Audrey?).  

 

For myself, I like a book better when there are a mix of characters, a sort of literary sweet-and-sour-pork meal.  A sour-and-sour-pork meal isn't really very appetizing, is it?

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hi everyone,

 

Just wanted to introduce myself.  I see many names here I recognize from previous FirstLook(s).  Happy to see you all and anxious to join the discussion.

 

Suzi 

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
New User
hobbygirl
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Hello Everyone

I am late joining in, but I am truly enjoying the book. Can't wait to comment on the other threads. :smileyhappy:
Correspondent
PinkPanther
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-26-2008
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hello all!

 

I am looking forward to reading The Believers by Zoe Heller. This will be the 3rd First Look that I am a part of, and I hope that it will be just as interesting as the previous ones. Happy readings to all.

"I ought, therefore I can"
-Immanuel Kant
New User
loves-to-read-23
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-27-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hello,

 

My name is Heather Gilmer, I just signed up for The Believers, can't wait until my copy arrives. 

 

I am 23 years old; just recently moved from Tennessee to Arizona. I just finished The Twilight Saga, and I have been debating my next read for a few days. I think I am going to read something before the book arrives if anyone has a good suggestion please help me out. I LOVE all kinds of books, from classics to mild fantasies. Have a wonderful day, can't wait to get my arc.

 

Heather Gilmer

~loves~to~read~23~
Correspondent
detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Welcomes and Introductions

omg, I've been locked out of B&N's bookclubs for a week! I'd previously posted just fine in here, then haven't been able to log on since the 21st. Without access, I couldn't PM or email anyone here, but I did call and email general B&N support, without much luck. I see there are so many fewer posts than usual for a First Look discussion, I wonder if lots of people are having access issues? Whew, now to read the new posts and get back to the book ... I'm kinda scared to log off :smileysurprised:

 

Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcomes and Introductions


Zoe-Heller wrote:

Hello everyone! 

I have been experiencing technical difficulties but I'm on at last!

I spent last night trawling through all your posts to date - it made for fascinating reading. Before I go ahead and start answering some of the questions, I want to say something briefly about the vexed question of "likeable" characters. A lot of you have remarked on Audrey's monstrousness and quite a few of you have commented regretfully on the absence of any one to really root for in this novel. Hmm. Well, you've hit on a theme that often comes up in discussions of my novels: I don't place a very high premium on presenting admirable or exemplary characters. The truth is, I have a problem with the demand for nice people in fiction. Rather like the demand for happy endings or for inspirational, uplifting stories, it seems to me to be based on a false premise about what literary fiction is for. As I see it, it's not the job of fiction to present you with people with whom you might like to be friends in real life. Novels aren't cocktail parties! And aren't some of the most memorable and compelling fictional characters the nasty ones? (Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair? Sabbath in Sabbath's Theater? Iago in Othello?)

Of course, if I haven't managed to engender any moral sympathy or understanding for Audrey and her family, then I have certainly failed...but I'll come back to all this later. For now, that's all and I'll move on to the questions thread!

  P.S. One more thing: why don't people like Karla? I understand the animosity towards Audrey - but Karla? What's not to like? Her weight?


 

I think this is a great point and I have to admit I usually find the unlikeable characters to be more interesting and complex.

 

As for our underappreciation of Karla -- well, isn't that just her lot in life? :smileywink:  Actually, I like her and I expect others do, too; we just haven't discussed her much yet. But we will! She is scheduled to have her own thread on 11/10 and I know we'll have much to say about her.

 

Thanks for your contributions so far, Zoë!

Frequent Contributor
LucyintheOC
Posts: 69
Registered: ‎03-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Ms. Heller wrote: P.S. One more thing: why don't people like Karla? I understand the animosity towards Audrey - but Karla? What's not to like? Her weight?

___

 

In response to your question, I liked her the majority of the time while reading the book, but at other times, I got really put off by her and, at some moments, didn't like her much at all. This being said, however, now having had some time to reflect on the character, perhaps I was being unkind towards her because, perhaps, she was so damaged that she couldn't accept acts of kindness. Most of the time I felt very sad for her because I did like her and I wanted her to be more self-accepting and to like herself...because she really was, basically, a nice person. So, perhaps, what, at first struck me as being a little bit snobby, was really her inability to accept, and acknowledge, acts of kindness directed at her. I had high hpes for both her, and Rosa, and while both characters made progress, in the end, I was sort of disappointed in both of them. I won't say more here, because this is the Welcomes and Introductions thread; I will wait until later in a more appropriate thread.

 

Contributor
CDover1978
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

I actually enjoy all of the characters so far.  In many ways, I can relate to Audrey, Rosa, and especially Karla... It's quite interesting to compare my hysterically dysfunctional family to the Litvinoff's.

Courtney
New User
jenicole21
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-19-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hi, my name is Jennifer Dieffenbacher and I just received my arc copy today. So, I am a few days behind, but I am a quick reader =) I am excited to get started and to catch up.

 

I am an avid reader, a proud mommy of two little boys, a very happily married wife, and a high school English teacher. I live in beautiful Southern California, Murrieta to be exact. When I'm not chasing my kiddos around, you can usually find me reading.

 

I am pleased to be a part of the group, and can't wait to start discussing!

New User
BentBindings
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-22-2008
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hello,

 

My name is Michael. I'm an avid reader of anything I can get my hands on. I've never read Zoe Heller, but am interested by the description. Just got my ARC today, so I'm working on catching up. Just got through the prologue, and looks good so far.

 

Looking forward to my first foray into the First Look Book Club.

 

Thanks,

Michael

www.bentbindings.com

Michael
www.bentbindings.com
Contributor
sailorreader
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎02-08-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Welcomes and Introductions

I am enjoying this book and look forward to discussions.  What is the schedule for this series?  Anyone?
sailorreader
Inspired Correspondent
Maria_H
Posts: 791
Registered: ‎07-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Karen, our moderator has posted a discussion schedule in the News, Schedules & Updates thread.

 


sailorreader wrote:
I am enjoying this book and look forward to discussions.  What is the schedule for this series?  Anyone?

 

 



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New User
JENLACAR
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-17-2008
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Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hello everyone,

 

I just received my book yesterday but I promise to catch up with you all very quickly.  Can't wait to get started on this book.

 

Jenny

Contributor
Tigger31
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Welcomes and Introductions

Hi! My name is Tawnya and I just got my book yesterday. I have already started reading it and it is really interesting!! I am looking forward to talking to you all about it!
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