Books I Loathed discussion

Oprah Books

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message 1: by Christen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Christen | 61 comments While I don't care for her as a human being, and I don't care for many of her book recommendations, I thought it would be interesting to get some feedback from you all on Oprah Books that you loathed and those you liked. There are hundreds of books on her list after all! And most of us have been forced to slog through at least one for a book club.

I loathed She's Come Undone.
I liked The Secret Life of Bees.

message 2: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Vanessa | 42 comments I am repeating myself here (have posted this info elsewhere) but perhaps it cannot be emphasized enough:

I HATED DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE by Isabel Allende - just a gussied-up Catherine Cookson type novel where the heroine made ridiculous choices (for love!) and transforms into an unbelievable proto-feminist shacked up with her groovy Chinese doctor boyfriend (who himself undergoes a transformation from loving chicks with bound feet to finding the heroine "quite good looking for a white woman" or something like that). BLEAUGH!

I can't say I loved it (because it is so harrowing), but I am grateful that I read it because no work of fiction has affected me more deeply - "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.

message 3: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Not all Oprah books are bad.

Here's a link to a list that purports to be the complete Oprah Book List:

The ones I've read:

The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver

Ok, engaging narrative but 'meh'.

A Map Of The World
Jane Hamilton

Too emotional/dramatic, which is one Oprah hallmark. A slow read.

White Oleander
Janet Fitch

I actually liked this one.

I Know This Much Is True
Wally Lamb

As we know, I loved this one. lol

Black and Blue
Anna Quindlen

This was an interesting book. I have issues with any book that details domestic abuse, but she did okay with the topic and there was a creepy element of the husband being a cop...

Here On Earth
Alice Hoffman

From memory, this one was hard for me to get into, I didn't finish but I don't remember why.

The Heart of a Woman
Maya Angelou

I liked this one.

She's Come Undone
Wally Lamb

I liked this one, too, but not as much as the other.

So, all in all, fair-to-middling prose. Not mindblowing, but not as bad as some of the pulpy trash one can pick up in a supermarket check-out line, either.

I have mixed feeling about Oprah's book club, but in the end I give it a gentle thumbs up because I'm all for literacy, and anything that gets more people to read (even if I don't agree with their choice of reading material) is all good by me.

message 4: by Jammies (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Jammies "I have mixed feeling about Oprah's book club, but in the end I give it a gentle thumbs up because I'm all for literacy, and anything that gets more people to read (even if I don't agree with their choice of reading material) is all good by me."

Brava, Xysea, brava!

Mine from the link you provided:

"Icy Sparks"
This was hard in some ways to read, but worth the struggle and a keeper for me.

"The Deep End of the Ocean"
Emotionally manipulative and with no redeeming qualities.

I've apparently managed to avoid everything else on the list.

message 5: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Wow, Sarah, thanks. That one is way better than mine! :)

I'll have to add to my list now:

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
The Reader, Bernard Schlink
One Hundred Years of Solutide, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

All of which I enjoyed, for various reasons, immensely.

Did the edit out the one that was the faux memoir? I don't remember the name of it, the author was maybe James Frey or something? :)

message 6: by Jammies (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Jammies "East of Eden" is one of my favorite books ever.

message 7: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Jessica It's a pretty impressive list, now that i see it, and quite diverse. There is something about it, though, I can't quite put my finger on why, that makes me feel like there is a certain Oprah Book Quality that I don't find appealing. It's not a list of books that I'd want to clip and put in my notebook that I take along to bookstores and libraries of things I want to read. What is it that these books have in common? A certain weightiness of purpose? A "read this, it will be good for you, even if you don't enjoy it" quality?

message 8: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Oh, I'm sure you're quite right about that Jessica. Which is why I can't give it a hearty thumbs up.

In the end, I agree with Nick Hornby. Reading for pleasure is all we should be doing. To paraphrase, "If you don't read the classics, nothing bad will happen to you. More importantly, if you do read them it doesn't mean anything good will happen to you either."

No one should read a book just because someone told them to, unless a grade depends upon it. Or the fate of the world.

(Which ever comes first. ;) lol )

PS I just noticed the James Frey book is still on there. I must have missed it the first time. Oops! :) Oh, and Middlesex and The Road are on my 'to-read' list...

message 9: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Yeah, Sarah, ITA.

I don't know Oprah, and I don't watch her show. So, to me, her name on the cover is neither a deterrent nor an encouragement, but simply a marketing gimmick. It is up to me, the discerning reader, to decide what I think, O label or no O label. :)

And I agree with you further that some author is getting rich somewhere, as is some publicist and some graphic designer. Oprah's doing her bit, and it's a good bit, if I do say so myself.

In fact, I think I just did. lol

message 10: by Jackie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Jackie (jaclynfre) | 27 comments Thanks for posting the Oprah list--but surely that can't be complete! I thought she recommended "The Red Tent" and "Plain Song" and "Midwives" . . . maybe I'm just lumping a bunch of trendy books into that category.

Anyway, my favorites on that list are:

White Oleander--This one simply crawled under my skin and haunted me for awhile. That sounds creepy, but it was almost cathartic--to mix metaphors.

Middlesex--Recently I heard an interview on NPR with the author, fascinating. This book was just completely riveting, in a tragic way. Wow!!

Poisonwood Bible--There are lines from this book that have woven themselves into my unconsciousness. However, I feel the basic flaw of the book was that the father was so unrelentingly unsympathetic. Were he just a bit more of a sympathetic character, the book would have been much more complicated and nuanced--in my opinion.

Tara Road--I felt this book was completely overrated!!

I've read many of the classics listed, but don't feel the need to comment here.

message 11: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) It depends on which list you mean, Jackie. Sarah's was, admittedly, much better than mine. I think Midwives is on that, but Red Tent is not.

I haven't read Middlesex yet, but it comes highly recommended and the queue at the library says it's not my turn yet, lol, but I'm looking forward to it...


message 12: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) I think all Edwidge Danticat's stuff is complete garbage, but I'm not at all surprised Oprah chose it. I would have been more surprised if she hadn't ever chosen a book by Edwidge Danticat.

I also think East of Eden is an awful, awful, awful book. I thought so when I first read it when I was 14 years old. A bunch of people with no formal education whatsoever sit around discussing the time they read the Old Testament in Hebrew, and tell us all how to live. Uh...right.

Of course, Oprah retracted her choice of The Corrections, which is arguably one of the two or three best books on the list, because Jonathan Franzen had the temerity to decline to stick his nose up her you-know-where far enough. Whatever.

message 13: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) More generally, I've long thought the whole Oprah's Book Club thing was extremely creepy. Everyone was so busy lauding the fact that "She got people to read again!" and "Anything that gets people to read must be good!" that they never seemed to notice a couple of really weird corollaries to the Book Club phenomenon. First, there's no evidence at all that Oprah was getting anyone to read. There was evidence that people were buying a certain book because she told them to -- quite a different matter. Second, I'm unaware of any general increase in book sales because of the Book Club. Certainly, it's empirically true that the sale of the authors she chose never increased generally -- for example, Jacquelyne Mitchard's books didn't undergo a bump in sales, nor did Pearl Cleage's, nor did Ursula Hegi's. One would think that if people were increasing their reading generally, there would be at least a little peak in sales of at least some of these authors as they went on to explore further works.

So I've always been a bit mystified by all chorus of hosannas surrounding the Book Club. There's a lot of reason to dispute the common wisdom that Oprah has been such a big boon for reading and literacy, despite the fact that everyone sort of acts like that proposition is beyond cavil. The whole thing really calls to mind nothing so much as a bunch of hypnotized people sitting around and waiting for The Great One's next instruction.

message 14: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

Michael (michael_harmon) | 3 comments This list that follows, of course, is one merely of my own - current - opinion.

* some excellent selections
* a draw that gets people reading, some that might not otherwise
* a plethora of wide styles and topics that should be known about, discussed and otherwise given attention, including areas of life that incorporate those of less-fortune or downright maltreatment (for example, Middlesex)
* an honest opinion, and a demonstration for enthusiasm about literature, especially modern and contemporary literature
* an attitude that allows for people to leave behind the misconception that may exist about literature being antiquated, out of touch, and not worth understanding even if one could understand it
* discussions such as this

* some poor choices
* a draw that gets people forming opinions about good writing that are in actuality uninformed about what it takes to be proficient in writing, or in a given style
* the possibility of wielding mass popular authority, strictly to wield mass popular authority (a.k.a., the ever so pompass "more people like me so what I say is true" attitude)
* a non-literary scholar giving what many may see as a kind of "definitive" list for cultured reading
* one person, even an highly educated one, being seen as authoritative when giving what is in reality merely one perspective
* money-money-money making
* a chance (not always acted upon, of course) to reinforce to the masses those so-called tacit societal ideals of shameless publicity and brown-nosing (which, I admit, can be a draw back to even the most prestigious awards)

There you have it. Perhaps when I am older and more transient, my perspective my fluctuate.

message 15: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:59AM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 58 comments I think Michael summed up some of the pros and cons of Oprah's book club nicely, so I won't attempt to add, other than to say that, IMO, the pros do end up outweighing the cons. Whether or not a book carries the Oprah sticker doesn't (I think) carry much influence on my decision to read it, nor on my ultimate opinion. For instance, despite thinking that Jonathan Franzen came across as decidedly unsympathetic in his particular brouhaha with Oprah, I still thought "The Corrections" was a terrific book. The backlash against Oprah does puzzle me a little bit, though - if people don't think it's a good thing, surely they are free to ignore it personally.

A slightly related phenomenon that puzzles me is the prevalent antipathy to the "large chain bookstore phenomenon". Mention of Borders or Barnes and Noble is enough to cause several of my friends to start to foam at the mouth. But my impression is that the spread and success of these chains has raised the general level of service and book availability across the board. And it remains unclear to me why smaller "independent" booksellers, (who also get my business) should feel a particular sense of entitlement about being sheltered from the pressures of the marketplace. like it or not they are in the business of selling books, and cannot reasonably deserve to get a free pass, based on some vague sentimental notion that they are "different" and deserving of special treatment.

I like going to Borders or Barnes and Noble. Sure, sometimes I wish the staff were a little more clued in, but overall, I think the selection available to me now far exceeds that of, say, 15 years ago.

message 16: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Vanessa | 42 comments I think the problem some people have with Borders and Barnes and Noble is that independent bookstores die when they move into the neighborhood. I lived in Atlanta when this happened - Oxford Books was a fabulous indie that EVERYBODY loved. Then Barnes and Noble moved into the Buckhead neighborhood (where Oxford was) then Borders came along not too long afterward. It was a death sentence for Oxford.

Where I currently live, Petaluma, we have a fantastic little bookstore called Copperfields that everyone loves - but it is possible that Borders is going to move in down the road. We are not a big enough town to sustain them both, and many people are terrified that it will kill Copperfields. It probably will.

While I have no problem with Borders or Barnes and Noble in general - it's great to have a bookstore in town - I hateany big chain killing off a small independent that has been a partof the community for years.

message 17: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) I'm just a self-labeled 'book slut'. I'll buy them anywhere they're cheap and easy to obtain. While I prefer to support mom-and-pop shops because I like competition and helping my fellow humans, in the end I need to go where the books I like are found.

The things about mom-and-pops that are great:

1. personal service
2. a sense of community
3. rare books, unique or old books
4. used or out of print books
5. strong knowledge of literature/a true passion for books

I think any little independent bookstore could work within that market, though the advent of internet buying and selling has dropped a lot of overhead for certain retailers, too. I don't think there's any real competition with the internet in terms of locating a product (book), availability and low overhead.

The used book stores I frequent have booming business, pretty much most of the year. The summers are slow when the students are away, but generally we have enough academics, intellectuals and bookhounds who feed their habits with trade-ins etc.

message 18: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 58 comments I love the term "book slut"! So much more expressive than, e.g. "bibliophile"

message 19: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
I realized I was a true book slut when I had three dates in a row, with different men, each ending with me luring them to a bookstore and then -- surprise! them buying me whatever book either they thought I HAD to read or that I grabbed and clutched like it was some scarce sustenance. When I was broke that was one of the more awesome ways I managed to still aquire books.

message 20: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
I should say when I had mojo. I am still broke.

message 21: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Kate, I almost want to challenge you to do it again, to see if you still got mojo. In a "triple-dog dare you" kind of

message 22: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 64 comments Mad-skills.

message 23: by Nate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Nate (innatejames) | 11 comments Honestly, and maybe someone can help me with the business logic of it all, I've never understood the "independent bookstores die when corporate bookstores move in" theory. Why would the presence of a chain store sway loyalist customers from an indie shop?

To me, indie stores and chain stores tend to cater to different crowds. I go to both myself but have noticed that my friends who don't read much tend to shop the chain stores that focus more on customer service and my friends that are Book Sluts tend to go to the indies because they walk into the store knowing mostly what they want and don't need an employee to help them find the Lit Crit section.

message 24: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Book slut! Fantastic. I was calling myself a bookaholic....maybe now I'll be a bookaholic book slut.

message 25: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 64 comments I understand the appeal of the big box store. Sometimes one just wants cheap prices and a big selection. I love my independantly-owned stores (book, hardware, pharmacy, etc) but I'll go to the big box if I just want to run in and know that they'll have what I need and I don't have to compromise. I save my trips to the store in the neighborhood for those times when I have time to shop, don't need/want something super-specific, and don't mind paying 10-20% more.

message 26: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 64 comments I think that the only way indies can make any money is to serve a tight niche. I mean, I buy my comic books at a comic book store - not a big box.

message 27: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Tara (snowytara) Sherri, I really like your comments. I would like to add a few things: I work at a very successful used/new indie bookstore in Alaska. The store has a devoted clientele, plus there is a lot of traffic from tourists during the summer. Our staff is full of incredibly intelligent "book people" that are knowledgeable, friendly, AND well-paid (with health insurance). However, there are some things that we can't do as well as B&N or Costco. We had complaints that our two Harry Potter #7 parties were not luxurious or "enthusiastic" enough (we had real owls!). I am told on a daily basis by customers that they could buy books cheaper at Costco, and that if we really want to make money we should lower our prices on new bestsellers.

A huge portion of our profits come from what we deem "sidelines." Sidelines are the non-book things: gifts, stickers, journals, cards, coffee mugs, action figures. Occasionally, I will ring out a customer who buys $500 worth of non-book merchandise. I truly, truly believe that if we did not carry this enormous collection of non-book flotsam the store would go under. Trust me, it makes me a million times happier to help someone find a new Oprah book than a box of designer band aids.

message 28: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Xysea  (xysea) Hi, Pollywaffleus! I'm so glad to see you here.
You made sense. Good luck on that interview. :)

message 29: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Tara, very interesting -- and depressing -- about non-book items at your indie store! I wonder what percent of profits are from that stuff at big chain stores selling only new books.

message 30: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 15 comments You are right,Sarah. While filming the Oprah segment Franzen commented to Oprah's staff that he thought that The Corrections was too sophisticated for Oprah's audience. I believe The New Yorker ran an interesting article about the whole Franzen-Oprah fiasco right after it occurred.

message 31: by Caroline (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

Caroline Good old Oprah... I'm not much of a book snob, but sometimes the Book Club just makes me cringe. I think it comes from working in a bookstore and seeing a whole lot of people march into the store in droves to pick anything up she mentions, and a fair chunk of them are most likely doing so to be part of the club rather than they're genuinely interested in the books. I can't begrudge her the fact that she does encourage people to get into good literature they otherwise wouldn't, though. I might not like the clique-ish attitude that seems to go along with some of her readers, but it gets some people to open up to other reading options so that's always a good thing.

I've only read 6 all the way through, all of which I enjoyed in their own ways. None of them are ones I picked up because Oprah recommended them, however, considering I've never watched her show. There's a lot of stuff on the list that looks good, so I expect I'll actually pick some up off the list.
Light in August by William Faulkner
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

I'm currently reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and really enjoying it, after putting it off for a really long time. Again, this was my own interest and noticing people who I respect liked it.

message 32: by Dianna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Dianna | 55 comments I had never even thought of reading books recommended by Oprah but she does have some good ones on her list. The only two I have read yet are "Anna Karenina" and "The Good Earth." But I really didn't even expect to find anything I would be interested in reading on her list. I don't dislike her, I just never thought of her as particularly intellectual.

message 33: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Clare | 53 comments Wow, I think Oprah has single-handedly made it important to read to many people who would never have otherwise picked up a book. Publishers loved it when Oprah picked one of their books as scales skyrocketed. I was so angry when Franzen (did I spell that correctly?)criticized her and she stopped the whole Oprah book thing for a while. Her books spoke to women but there were so many good ones! How could you not care for Oprah as a human being? She has done so much good and has been incredibly generous to all kinds of people. Of course none of us really know here as a "human being" (unless you actually hang around with her) but to me she is a role model. Even if you regard her book choices as ones you would not choose, how could we not admire someone who recommends reading? I love Oprah! Clare Stella

message 34: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

ScottK here here Clare....I as of yet have not picked up one of her nominations although the list has some interesting sounding books. But Oprah is indeed a great and caring individual. I had a chance to help her and the whole staff of Harpo last summer When She paid for all the staff PLUS THEIR FAMILIES to come and stay at the resort I work in.They were here for a week during their non prodction period and no money came out of the staff's pockets nor their families during that week.That plus her Angel Network and all she does in Africa makes her someone who should be respected ..even if you don't care for her much.

message 35: by MM (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

MM (localwest) | 5 comments Oprah's book club is interesting because it does expose a wide variety of people to literature they may not have glanced at otherwise. However, I work in a book store where people (middle aged women, no offense is meant to any) come in to purchase each new book recommended by Oprah and proceed to complain that they hate every book that she recommends because they are "weird." This was not an isolated event - It happens quiet often.

Basically, I think Oprah recommends good books on the whole; I don't like all of them, but I wouldn't expect to enjoy every single book recommended by anyone.

As to the comment made questioning whether or not Oprah's recommendations affect sales, I think the fact that both Middlesex and Love in the Time of Cholera, her most recent picks, are both currently on the bestseller's lists (though I'm sure the movie is helping Cholera as well) proves that Oprah has an astonishing buying power. My Nora Roberts reading grandmother read Faulkner (or attempted to) with Oprah a few summers ago, there is no denying that Oprah is convincing droves of people to buy books. With regard to the authors' other books not selling equally well, did Oprah tell them to buy their other books? Nope, just the one.

message 36: by Bronwyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Bronwyn | 29 comments I agree with Micheal, whatever people say about Oprah's book club good or bad. I think it's admirable that she promotes reading to the 1,000 of viewers that watch her show on a daily basis.

message 37: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Tara (tara_n) | 66 comments I have read some of the books recommended by Oprah, not always realizing they were recommended by her until I see the little stamp on the front cover. I miss her show so I usually never know what she has recommended or what the discussion about the book involved. So far, the ones I have read, were interesting and some of them I greatly enjoyed, like Middlesex and White Oleander. There have also been books that I just didn't understand what all the hype was for, like The Reader.

I do like that she has pulled into her book club, classics, like Elie Wiesel's Night and Love in the Time of Cholera. I remember reading Night in high school, and loved it. She definitely has influence and I think a lot of people flock to the bookstores to read the books that are on her "list", whether those books are good or bad.

I am not the biggest Oprah fan, sometimes I get a bit tired of her talk show, but I do greatly admire the things she has done like her Angel Network and work in Africa. For a woman that rich and that powerful to put so much attention and finances into programs like the Angel Network and the school in Africa, says a lot and I do respect her for that. I just see her book club as another aspect of things she cares about: promoting reading.

message 38: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Elizabeth I've only read two of the books- The Poisonwood Bible and I Know This Much Is True.

I enjoyed them both, but while I'm all for promoting literacy, I think she's using her position to promote less-than-worthy books, and I think people are being sheep and reading the books only 'cause Oprah told them to.

message 39: by lilias (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

lilias Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
Night by Elie Wiesel
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
Sula by Toni Morrison
White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Those are the ones I've read, and with the exception of Stones I liked them all.

I like this list. I even like that there is diversity in the quality of writing. I would not consider White Oleander or Here on Earth to be on the same level as One Hundred Years or Song of Solomon (one of my favorite books everever), but I still have recommended them both to someone. So I like that she promotes books that may be enjoyable to different people with different tastes. I would think she needs to in order to encourage reading on such a wide scale.

But I've been known to say "I saw it on Oprah!" sort of with my tongue in my cheek but not really. I like the lady.

message 40: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Tara (tara_n) | 66 comments Sheep or lemmings maybe -- I had a friend in college who went to the bookstore every time a new Oprah book came out. Another friend asked her if Oprah asked her to jump off a cliff if she would do it, and she said sure cause Oprhah knows a good thing when she sees it. That's a little frightening I think.

There are some that I want to read, not because Oprah has it in her club, but because I like the author (Toni Morrison or Gabriel Garcia Marquez). I do want to read Sidney Poitier's autobiography though, not because it's an Oprah book, but because I really like Poitier. I think my favorite movie with him in it is one he did with Anne Bancroft where he is working his first night at a suicide hotline and she calls in. I can't remember the name of it, but I just thought he was fabulous! I want to know more about him.

Speaking of "I saw it on Ophrah", I worked at BBW (bath & body works) and we had a pumpkin face mask that came out and we were told to really try to push it with the customers, but it just wasn't walking out of the store. Suddenly, Oprah has her "Favorite Things" episode and tells her audience that she adores the pumpkin face masks and uses it when she's enjoying a bubble bath. Within 2 days of the airing of that episode, we sold out. We could not keep the pumpkin mask on our shelves and had a waiting list for it. Every customer who came in said the same thing: "Do you have that face mask that Oprah talked about on her show? I must have it!". I bet bookstore employees hear something similar.

message 41: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Clare | 53 comments Scott K., I am glad to read that others admire Oprah Winfrey for her good works. I wish I worked for her (I wonder if she would like a private therapist at her beck and call?). Oprah certainly had tremendous influence on a large section of the population but I cannot understand why that is a bad thing.
I had to laugh when I read about the pumpkin face mask. I was picturing something like you'd wear on Halloween and finally realized that Tara was referring to a beauty product that ones puts on one's face. Sometimes I think my brain is leaking out the back of my head.
Anyone who influences people to read is a valuable person in my book (Ha! That's a pun).
Although Oprah may only suggest one book by an author, I hope that if people read that one they might consider searching for others by that author. That habit has led me to many fine books.
I am enjoying this discussion a lot. Thanks for all the interesting comments.

message 42: by Clare (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Clare | 53 comments I read Franzen's book and thought it was dull and uninteresting. That was before the whole Oprah incident. He must really think a lot of himself. Has he written anything else? As far as being a "sophisticated" reader myself, I read anything and everything as reading is my passion. I like some things and don't like others but am grateful every day that people keep writing books and my local library keeps buying them.

message 43: by Mary Ann (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Mary Ann | 19 comments My name is Mary Ann, and I am a Bookaholic.

message 44: by Mary Ann (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Mary Ann | 19 comments ..or a bookinator.

message 45: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Tara (tara_n) | 66 comments Clare -- I laughed that you laughed about the pumpkin mask. I think I could have been a little more descriptive when talking about since Halloween is tomorrow. Pumpkin beauty mask might be better LOL. Complete side note: it smells just like freshly baked pumpkin pie and one of our customer's said she had to taste it to see if it tasted like pie. She said it didn't taste all that bad but she didn't recommend eating the entire container.

So is Franzen's book worth the read, given the whole incident that happened with Oprah? I also am wondering about A Million Little Pieces. I remember hearing about the fallout from that but don't really remember hearing much about the book or what people thought BEFORE the fallout on Oprah. If I'm not mistaken, it was not completely true? Is it worth reading at least?

message 46: by lilias (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

lilias Oh god I had the same thoughts about the pumpkin mask. I had to reread that section of the post twice before realizing what it was. I still smile at the thought of smearing pie all over my face.

I am always suprised when I hear that Oprah is that influential. I'll happen upon her show every now and then, hear something about poop (she loves that subject), and tell someone else about it, but I never think that so many people rush out to stores to buy products. Well. I guess it's not that bizarre. But, again, if people are rushing out to buy books it's fine by me.

message 47: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 65 comments Tara, A Million Little Pieces was a huge success both before AND after the 'incident'. Oprah praised him to the heavens for his honest and candid portrayal of what it is like to go through and survive addiction. His story was published as a biography.

Turns out, he embellished quite a bit (said he was in jail for months [i think] but it was less than a couple hours). Oprah invited him back on, and basically told him he suckered her and all of her readers, shame on him. Well, seems to me like a good story is a good story, whether or not Oprah approves (no offense to Oprah, I have some issues with her, but overall think she is a good enough person from my perspective). The real issue I feel is that the publishers mislabeled it, should have said "based on a true story" or something like that. We all embelish our little anecdotes from time to time, this guy just got rich doing it!

The book is still selling like hotcakes, even with his admission to his embellishment, but then again, if the story is about an addict, and much of his experiences were either under the influence or sobering up, then are we really surprised that it isn't 100% true to life? I haven't read the book myself, kinda sick of all the addicts coming clean, (great for them no doubt, but I have heard too many of those already, up close and personal) but if it sounded good before, I am sure it will still be an enjoyable read. On Oprah's website she published the transcript of the episode where Frey was invited back to discuss the issue of his honesty.

message 48: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 65 comments Personally, I have read some books from her list, in spite of the fact that they made her list. I am just contrary that way. Someone gave me What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, I admit, not something I would have read, but it was actually very good. I think it is funny that many of her book club choices are classics, and people read them because they are on her list, and don't even recognize the fact that they were lauded long before Oprah came along, but hey if they read them, good. Just wish they would recognize that Oprah recommended it because it is a good book, not that it is a good book because Oprah recommended it, if that makes any sense.

message 49: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Tara (tara_n) | 66 comments Thanks Erica, I appreciate the info about the book. I think I might go ahead and check it out from my local library and give it a chance at least. I'll have to check out the transcript of the Frey episode too.

I know I embellish so that's why, when I attempt to write, I write fiction. LOL.

This isn't an Oprah book, but what is "A Million Little Lies"? A spoof?

So, this might sound shallow, but if I wrote a book and Oprah wanted to have it on her book club I don't think I would tell her "no". I would stand a good chance of ending up with a best seller on the New York Times list. Would I deserve it? Well, I don't know. I'm fairly critical of my own writing so I would probably tell her that I thought my book was crap when I read it in its final form and thought of a million things to do to improve on it even after the publisher and editor said it was fine. Hmm, that might be why I'm not a published author, it's not good to put down your own work as crap.

message 50: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Sarah (sarahsari) Map of the World - what a horribly depressing downer of a book. If there was a point to all the drudgery of this book I wish someone would share it with me. This book has made me skeptical of all the Oprah books that have come out since, for better or worse.

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