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Podcast Episode Discussions > Episode #30 - Celebrity Influence on Book Selections

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I wanted to chime in on this topic which was discussed in episode #30...this is another topic we recently chatted about in my book club, in particular, the influence of Oprah on literature. I am curious about the thoughts of others.

When Oprah began her first reading list, the concept of the book discussion group seemed to really be taking off. The books she chose piqued my interest, and I did read about 1/2 of her initial list. I found most of the books to be awful, with the exception of the always-fantastic The Poisonwood Bible, A Fine Balance, and I Know This Much is True. Even Midwives was interesting.

After closing out that list and deciding to move onto more of "the classics", I found myself resenting Oprah just a little. On one hand, I was glad that people were starting to read great literature because OPRAH (chimes sound and a gold aura forms around her) suggested it, but on the other, I was irritated that it took Oprah to get people to read books that we all already know are incredible and have probably been reading since 12th grade AP English.

So where do I go for my reading recommendations? Obviously, since I am a huge fan of this group, I always respect the opinions of Michael and Ann. I started a shelf just for this group and I have read several books from the Podcast. Bookmarks magazine is also fantastic. If you have never checked it out, it is not your typical snooty review rag. It is a "for-the-people" magazine and I love when my issue comes. Lastly, I listen to my friends and book group members.

Celebrities will never persuade me into reading a book.


message 2: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments I also am less inclined to read a book when I see it was an Oprah pick. Although I did like an Anita Shreve book I read and I love Barbara Kingsolver.

Altho I have my issues with the O, anything that encourages reading and gives the publishing industry a boost is a worthy thing.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

The Oprah Book Club creates what I call "The U2 Effect!"
When I was in college, U2 broke onto the scene and at that point, the people who knew about them were mostly from a subculture now known as "Alternative Music" fans (but which then had no name.) Within five years, you had to stand in line for tickets, often for hours, if not overnight. In ten years, tickets could only be obtained through ticket services at exorbitant prices; and when you did go, the people around you were people you probably wouldn't be anywhere near outside of the arena!
To cite a specific example from The Oprah Club, I've read "Anna Karenina" twice and loved it. I was thrilled when the book was chosen one year for her Book Club. I liked the resources that were available online. What I didn't like was going to a social event, and having the book "trampled" by people who really couldn't get beyond the basic linear narrative. I wondered if the people who claimed to have read it, really liked it or understood it beyond what could be translated to a movie. The lack of critical understanding bothered and saddened me.
So, while I duly note *what* Oprah has selected for her Book Club, I'm careful NOT to read it while it's "hot!"
BTW, I don't go to U2 concerts anymore either!


message 4: by Merry (new)

Merry (m75248) Stephanie wrote: "I wanted to chime in on this topic which was discussed in episode #30...this is another topic we recently chatted about in my book club, in particular, the influence of Oprah on literature. I am cu..."

Her power is scarey, what else can she get her viewers to do!!! I too "do not" read O picks, but I am glad more people read, and this I thank her.


message 5: by Kate (new)

Kate | 9 comments I confess, I'm behind in listening to the podcast, but I'm going to chime in anyway.
As far as Oprah goes, I may read her selections on occasion, but I always search for the copy without the Oprah seal-of-approval.
What bugs me more are the testimonials of actors or musicians about "must read" books, I always think "why should I care what they read?" I'm more likely to rely on book reviews or recos from this group because I know that they're discerning readers. A celebrity could be, but what do I really know about them?
End rant. :)


message 6: by Merry (new)

Merry (m75248) Kate wrote: "I confess, I'm behind in listening to the podcast, but I'm going to chime in anyway.
As far as Oprah goes, I may read her selections on occasion, but I always search for the copy without the Oprah ..."


HI Kate, Yes to your comments, "celebrities" could have a hidden agenda, also I don't like the power they have, to mention a book and millions sell, that is creepy to me. I love BOTNS - no celebs just people who love to read.


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