Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, January 22, 2007

Oprah's back in the book club saddle again

On Friday,January 26,Oprah will be announcing her first Book Club selection of 2007. It's been awhile since her last pick(Night by Eli Wiesel) and after that whole James Frey mess,I'll be surprised if she goes for another memoir. The only clue so far about the new book pick is that it's a Harpercollins title. Amazon already has a pre-order listing for it and are covering all bases by having every format type available(hardcover,paperback,audio and large print).

So,with that in mind,here are some of my guesses as to what might be the brand new Oprah book of the year. I used to do this when I worked at my former bookstore job and occasionally was right(Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell and Midwives by Chris Bohjalian were two of my better hunches). I would even bet a nickel with one of my co-workers,which we never really collected on but it was a fun bookworm brainteaser.

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris would be an interesting choice. I read this book last year and it's a wonderful Patricia Highsmith type of novel,about a nearly retired private schoolteacher's game of cat and mouse with a returning student. It's not as touchy-feely as some of Oprah's previous picks but there are some twisted family secrets as well as a look at the changing face of boarding school life.

G&P just came out in paperback,which makes it a good choice for those who hate to lug around a hardcover(not to mention shell out $26.95 at the cash register). It's a long shot but you never know. If you haven't read it yet,keep it in mind when you're in desparate need of a thumping good thriller.

It certainly would be a nice feather in Vikram Chandra's hat if Oprah selected his new epic,Sacred Games. She has chosen lengthy reads before(The Corrections,Anna Karenina,I Know This Much Is True)and one of her earlier picks,A Fine Balance,takes place in Mumbai where Sacred Games is also set. A literary look at Mumbai past and present would be a great discussion topic.

It is a hardcover so some would squawk but otherwise,this is a prime pick. Oprah hasn't done contemporary fiction for a long while now and this would certainly get her back on track. I'm still reading Sacred Games(it's taking me longer than I thought)and will review it at some point on this blog but it's not due to lack of interest,folks. Sacred Games is an intense character study of two men making their way in the devious and deadly world they've been placed in. A really top notch novel.

However,if Oprah is still in memoir mode(she did select another one after Million Little Pieces,after all),The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner is tailor made for her. A real life rags to riches story that's been made into a hit film with Will Smith which will probaly recieve some Oscar nominations.

Oprah's already done a show promoting both the movie and the book but that doesn't mean she can't select TPOH as her 2007 selection. Unlike the MLP debacle,there's no question about the authenticity of this story and if Will Smith does get an Oscar nom,follow-up show!

My final guess is The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty for the following reasons: it's not only a classic but a Pulitzer Prize winner as well(as was To Kill A Mockingbird),it takes place in the South,particularly New Orleans and it's available in large print. In fact,the only listing I could find for TOD on the Harpercollins website was for the large print edition,which leads me to think that maybe a special new edition is waiting in the wings with a certain oval label!

Oh,well-we'll all know by Friday afternoon. Good luck to whatever the next newly appointed read Oprah will deem worthy of promoting and may it not suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that has plagued other picks in the past.


Robin Brande said...

Great suggestions! I haven't read a single one of those, but as always, your descriptions tell me I should. Add more to my list . . .

lady t said...

Hey,Robin,now that Oprah's back in the book club biz,maybe she'll feature Evolution,Me and Other Freaks of Nature. It could happen:)

Anonymous said...

I think Oprah should have picked I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. It's easy to overlook because of the subject matter, but was really one of the most well-written books I read last year.

Robin Brande said...

I'm sorry, but I would have to totally pee my pants if Oprah ever called me, so I'm afraid that's just not a good idea.

Thanks anyway.