Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Only Book Club That Matters

Business mogul, feel-good guru, and literary critic Oprah Winfrey has posted the latest selection to her new, revamped book club--Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

I don't know whether that in itself is particularly newsworthy, except for Oprah's admission (pointed out by The New York Times on Monday) that she has never read the book herself.

Can Oprah really expect her army of suburban houswives to read an 862 page 19th Century Russian novel? Will they identify with characters whose names they can't even pronounce? Will they flock back to my store in droves, demanding their money back?

By the way, not that anyone asked, but my theory is that Oprah is picking dead authors for her book club now because when she picks a dead writer she only has to deal with the publisher, and she knows that any publisher will kiss her ass. (None of that Jonathan Franzen "I have reservations about the selection of my novel" crap.)

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