1 C

Oprah and her book club: The book influencer before BookTok



Oprah Winfrey, who has just revealed the hundredth title of her incredibly influential book club, adheres to a single maxim when awarding the coveted label – Oprah’s Book Club: Did the book move her? Did she think about her for days?

“When I can’t just forget a book, it’s always a sign for me that there is something powerful and moving about it,” Oprah explained to the AP news agency this week when she revealed the next novel for her club. That is Hello Beautiful from under the pen Ann Napolitanomodern homage the classics Girlhood time. The novel was published on the same day by Dial Press, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House. Oprah believes that the book’s universal themes of family and perseverance make it suitable for a round, borderline issue.

Choosing a sticker for the cover of the novel “Oprah’s Book Club”, otherwise it no longer automatically means dream sales, but it still helps ensure a special status in the publishing industry. Statistics show that nowadays she is most successful in promoting new works by well-known authors – when she includes a novel in her club Demon Copperheadit sold much better than the previous two volumes by the same author, Barbara Kingslover.

But even for a previously unknown author, getting a call from Oprah is still the equivalent of hitting the lottery or winning an Oscar. Oprah, on the other hand, says she’s incredibly impressed herself “over the very idea of ​​it”that someone might buy and read Anna Karenina just because she recommended it to them.

“The Queen”“She’s the Queen,” admits Jenna Bush Hager, host of NBC’s popular book column Read With Jenna. “I remember when I was still in high school, I read Guterson’s novel Snow Falling on Cedars just because I saw it recommended by Oprah at the local bookstore.”

Tolstoy returned to the most readOprah’s book club has had a huge reach and success since 1996, it has been reborn a few times, but also got involved in scandals a couple of times. But despite this, it survived all the upheavals and changes – both in the presenter’s television career and in the publishing industry itself, it was not buried by the boom of the Internet and not by the scandal related to the underrepresentation of minorities in publishing. Thanks to Oprah, contemporary authors who would otherwise never have had such a platform (such as Jacquelyn Mitchard and Jane Hamilton) found a huge audience, classic works that made it onto the list, such as the aforementioned Anna Karenina or Faulkner’s As I Lay Dyingclimbed the bestseller charts.

People recognize a sincere love of readingOprah Winfrey didn’t invent the book club concept for a mass audience, but she proved that a sincere passion for reading can achieve what even the most sophisticated promotional campaigns can’t.

And then there are affairs. Precisely her “problematic” choices – in this respect the two novels probably stand out A million little pieces James Frey (an autobiography that wasn’t really) and so on American Dirt Jeanine Cummins (criticized for its stereotypical portrayal of Mexicans) – have raised so much dust precisely because Oprah’s endorsement previously gave them a huge amount of credibility.

The book club was born out of book debates between Oprah and her producer, Alice McGee. In 1996, however, McGee suggested to the host that she could also share her reading suggestions with viewers. The first proposal was a novel As deep as the ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard, which has sold more than two million copies to readers.

Among the biggest hits were the works of established authors such as Joyce Carol Oates (We Were the Mulvaneys) and Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye), and previously unknown names such as Janet Fitch and Tawny O’Dell.

The club was even so successful that many suspected that Oprah was trading her endorsements. Even Quincey Jones, Oprah recalls, once asked her: “How much are they paying you for this book club of yours, honey?”

“I looked them up in the phone book”But in reality, the selection process was so informal at first that Oprah didn’t even bother to contact labels or agents. Wally Lamb I just called on the phone,” she said about the author of the novel She’s Come Undone, fourth title at her club. “In the beginning, I read a good book and looked for the author. On the back page, you found biographical information about the author, including where he lives. At that time, we still had telephone directories, and in any case, I could get the author’s number straight from directory.”

They’ve been doing background checks since the “Frey Affair”.Now the system is a little more structured. Leigh Newman, editor of the book section for the online magazine Oprah Daily, first contacts the editor and arranges a “surprise call” to the author or. to the author. A whole team of people comb through the author’s background so that nothing “problematic” comes up later in the day, be it accusations of plagiarism or a criminal past.

This check was introduced when it was revealed that it was in the novel A million little pieces vastly fictional, even though it was promoted as the autobiography of a recovering addict. Oprah dragged the author, James Frey, back on the show and forced him to apologize and explain in front of millions of viewers.

“I took it all so personally,” remembers today. “I probably shouldn’t have taken it to heart, but I felt like he let me down, and I let the readers down… I was the one saying, ‘Can you think this is a true story?’ ‘ It made me feel silly, embarrassed.”

More to follow.

Source: Rtvslo

Subscribe to our magazine


━ more like this

General for the Race around Flanders with Pogačar

In the narrowest circle of favorites van der Poel and van AertThe E3 Saxo Bank one-day classic is the general for the prestigious Tour...

John Grisham Struggles With Southern Heritage: I Grew Up In Mississippi With Racism In My Blood

American writer John Grisham notes that he still struggles with his own racist thought patterns. "Growing up like I did, you have to...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here