Oprah's Latest Pick

Posted: October 5, 2007 in Today's Random Book Gossip

cholera.jpg

I’m not usually one to comment much on Oprah, though not because I don’t like her or anything. It’s nothing personal. I’ve looked on while she’s been doing her book club thang, but I’ve just not really been too pulled in by it all. But these last couple choices she’s made, for her book club picks, have caught my attention.

I’ll admit it, I did participate in her Faulkner read, back in the summer of 2005. After I finished choking from shock she’d chosen not one but three of his books, I hung out on her message boards, doing my best to help out and explain Faulkner to the befuddled. I converted a few readers, too, or at least they told me so, possibly in order to shut me up.

As a Mississippi native myself, I considered it a sacred duty helping the masses to understand one of my triad of literary icons (the other two being Virginia Woolf and Charles Dickens). I’m very familiar with Faulkner and his works, so it was also just a darn good opportunity for me to acutally use that somewhere in the real world. That it helped others appreciate him more was the icing on that cake.

But aside from that experience, I’ve really had little true interest in Oprah’s book club endeavor. And that’s not just because I’m a bit of a book snob, though I do have my moments. I respect what she’s doing, especially now that she’s off her dysfunctional family trend and onto some really good, valuable literature. That other stuff wasn’t to my taste. Some of it may have been perfectly good to read, but frankly, getting beaten over the head with one, single theme of sorrow and tribulation gets a little old. I can get that much at home, thanks.

Now, though, she’s taken her club to a higher level altogether. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a monumental writer. It hardly gets any better than him. Plus, now her themes actually vary, from read to read. That’s a good thing, too. It keeps you from the urge to pull an Anna Karenina, a potential byproduct of reading a constant diet of misery.

I may actually try to squeeze in Love in the Time of Cholera, and read along with Oprah and her crowd. It all screams of conformity, and that really does give me the shudders, but you know, this is one of the better uses of conformity. If I had to choose between Oprah-conformity and going back to that 80s fashion trend of wearing leggings, I think it’s better I go with Oprah. On many levels.

And of course I encourage everyone else to jump on the bandwagon with me. Conformity, after all, loves company.

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