The Subversives discussion

Down With The O Manifesto

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message 1: by Brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:40AM) (new)

Brian | 32 comments Mod
First, things this group is not:

Honestly — and this comes first — I have nothing against Oprah.

She seems nice enough, the few times I've seen her television show. I don't know her personally, so I can't really say if that's all an act or what.

So this isn't a group dedicated to the assassination of Oprah (character or otherwise). You can find that on, and it's sister site

This group isn't an excuse to spout racist or misogynistic slurs, either. I like black people and wish them well, and I like women and wish them well, so take your dastardly buggery somewhere else, and spare me the time it will take to read, mock, and eventually delete your monumental stupidity.

Rather, this group is opposed to the cultishness of Oprah's book club. It's that ticklish little feeling you get in the back of your throat when someone picks up a book simply because it's on the list of Oprah-approved reading materials, as if the Big Red O were some kind of arbiter of taste and awesomeness.

You know: the kind of person that wouldn't touch it when it was a crusty old high school English teacher recommending it, but picks it up the minute the sticker goes on.

In general, it is hoped this group will inspire independent thought among it's adherants, rather than go-team-go stupidity, Oprah-bashing, or other such churlishness.

Ultimately, I hope we all realize that there are no arbiters of taste, that red O or not, we start to appreciate novels for what they are, rather than for who or what they make us seem when we are seen reading them.


message 2: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:43AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 31 comments I stand in solidarity. I'll add that, while some would argue that ANYTHING that gets a person to read is a good thing, I believe that there has to be a better way than Oprah leading the sheep to the trough. I kind of wish she would encourage people to find out what THEY like, not just blindly follow what SHE likes. Plus, she likes a lot of books/authors that I find distasteful anyway.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you! Thank you! How I loathe that O. I especially hate it when classics have that O on them. I wanted to buy a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude the other day but it had the O on it and, I know this is stupid beyond words, I didn't buy it because I didn't want anyone to think I was buying it just because Oprah said to. Aaaargh. They aren't even stickers, they're imprinted on the book so you can't peel them off after (or even before!) you've bought the book. I guess I'll have to go to and find a non-O copy. Stupid me.

message 4: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:44AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 31 comments Good question Sherri.


message 5: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Patrick New to this group, and have been inspired to join by Sherri, whose best work can be enjoyed at Books I Loathed, appearing now elsewhere on this website...

The Oprah thing seemed odd to me, as I don't red fiction, but I get a bad feeling in my gut whenever authors appear anywhere on TV besides C-SPAN 2 with Brian Lamb, as I just don't think TV can do justice to the creative effort neededto think up, write, and get a book published...

That said, following up on the previous two comments...there are plenty of "mandatory" reading lists out there worthy of our commentary...have any of your ever looked at the Modern Library Top 100 books for fiction and for non-fiction? I'm sure you have, and you may have some negative reactions to it when they came out in 1999...if you can still summon up any angst felt from those long ago days over that list, please share...

Just a thought...

message 6: by Christina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Christina | 5 comments I do give an ounce of credit to Oprah for attempting to encourage literacy among the realms of couch potatoes through her "book club." for those poor people who do not live in an area where they can actually talk to others about books, it served a noble purpose.

That being said, it has morphed into the same sort of cultish nonsense as the O magazine zealots.

Now, a good source for books that should be read on general principle is the Banned Book list. Granted this changes regularly and I am not certain there is one definitive list, but it is a good starting point.

message 7: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 31 comments I agree with Christina. I'm part of the Banned Book group as well and have decided that my goal for next year ( year...I'm a loser) is to read as many of the books on that list as possible.

Patrick, do you know what criteria is used to choose the Modern Library Top 100?

message 8: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Patrick No idea, Alex. I think that's what irritated so many readers. Some of the frustration I remember reading about was over the rankings in addition to what made the list and what didn't, as in, what fool could possibly rate X novel over Y? That sort of thing.

message 9: by Brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Brian | 32 comments Mod
Whoah, whoah, whoah...

I'm not allowed to just criticize? I have to provide a constructive alternative as well?

I feel like Chris Baty in the second year of Nanowrimo ( Rules? I know no rules. Hmmmm. Feel like I've been pantsed in high school gym class all over again.

Hey, wait, I've got an idea. I'll post it on a second thread, a place for people to add lists of books they recommend! Moo hoo ha ha!

message 10: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 31 comments Works for me, Brian!

Patrick: this is (IMHO) the core problem with most "best of" lists. Everyone has an opinion on what's good or bad. Without objective criteria, it's just a subjective list.

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