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Friday, September 23, 2005

Oprah's book club doing contemps again

The New York Times reports that in another change of heart, Oprah is again focusing on books from this era. After two years of only opting for the classics, Oprah has chosen James Frey's A Million Little Pieces as the book of the month, stating that she wants "to open the door and broaden the field." The memoir is a revealing look at the author's rehab at a treatment center for alcoholism and drugs. Of course, Mr. Frey's book shot up to number 1 at Amazon after the announcement, proving again the book currency that Oprah holds.

Needless to say, the book publishers are estactic. Ms. Winfrey (or should that be Miz Oprah) has proven savior for the vacillating industry on several occasions. And those authors who signed a petition earlier this year appealing to Ms. Winfrey to reinstitute contemporary literature in her book club roster should also be happy. Meg Wolitzer, one of the petitioners, said that Oprah's book club made the authors of contemporary literature feel "relevant." Although it initially appeared that Oprah blew off their plea, she now says that she was moved by it.

Still, maybe her change of heart comes from the dip in popularity her book club has suffered since she began concentrating on the classics only. Her last pick, three books by Faulkner deemed as the "summer of Faulkner", did not bring in the numbers of enthusiastic readers that Ms. Winfrey had hoped for. As for her contemporary picks, she says she is now open to non-fiction, which she had not previously chosen.

Mr. Frey is pleased as punch, as well he should be. An Oprah sticker on one's book guarantees sales and fame. Something a certain...ahem...Mr. Frantzen...didn't appreciate when she chose him, citing his aversion to corporate branding.

Well, Oprah can feel free to brand me anytime she wants. But I have a feeling that a certain nether region might need to dip in Celsius before that happens. Oh well, I'll have to rely on good word of mouth...and a lot of good luck.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/23/2005 11:04:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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