Monday, June 4, 2007

Oprah and Literature in the Same Sentence?

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is release day for the 58th book in the Oprah Book Club program and being the good boy that I am I will comply with the embargo requirements laid down in order to get the book before release day.

That said, I have to say that Ms. Winfrey's staff has dramatically ramped up its standards with its last few selections. The current selection is Cormac McCarthy's The Road; no one will deny that McCarthy is an excellent writer and storyteller, and The Road, while typically gruesome, is certainly a book that can capture the imagination of a large cross-section of the 20% of us who admit to reading fiction.

If anything, Oprah's crew has made an even more literary selection for this summer. As is usual, to make the book accessible, the book has been repackaged (slightly) with the "O" sticker on a recognizable quality trade paperback at $15. We'll revise this posting tomorrow morning with a few words about the newest selection...aaand, we're back. Those of you who subscribe to our blog e-mail already know that Ms. O's team selected Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex.

The novel captured the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, indicating that it is not a light book, but a rather good book. The next 500,000 sales of it are probably going to be purely on Oprah's recommendation, but this story of three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family is destined to be a classic.

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