In case you’re new to the world of disliking Oprah, her book club used to be a HUGE deal. She pimped a book, and it would immediately become a best-seller, such were the loyalties of her barely-conscious followers. She was largely responsible for the success of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, then she scolded him in front of America when it turned out his book was a novel in memoir’s clothing.
But just as detrimental to Oprah’s book club was the public embarrassment surrounding The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen’s 2001 opus that’s easily one of the best American novels of the last decade.
In 2001, Mr. Franzen offended Ms. Winfrey when he suggested in interviews that some of Ms. Winfrey’s book club picks were middlebrow ["schmaltzy" was the accurate term he used - Ed.] and that being chosen as a book club pick — as his novel “The Corrections” was — could turn off male readers. He apologized [unfortunately] but was promptly uninvited to appear on her television show. [Media Decoder]
Well, it’s nine years later, Oprah wants her final season to be a big deal, and Franzen is back with his first book of fiction since The Corrections (Freedom, which is getting high praise). Hmmm… I wonder if they can bury the hatchet.
Nearly a decade after their public literary feud, Ms. Winfrey has selected “Freedom,” Mr. Franzen’s best-selling novel, as her next book-club pick, according to booksellers who have seen early copies of the books. The selection is expected to be announced on Friday’s “Oprah” broadcast.
Shocking. Although an Oprah endorsement won’t be enough to keep me away from Freedom. Just as soon as I finish The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, the only author who consistently impresses me more than Franzen.
Hello? Anyone? I lost you at “book,” didn’t I?