Oprah chooses Franzen for new book club selection. And why this is interesting.
After the smash success of Franzen’s last novel, 2001’s “The Corrections,” hopes were high. Nine years later, “Freedom” is a blockbuster of a novel. (It’s been the #1 bestseller in Hardcover fiction since it’s release.) The Chicago Tribune recently called Franzen the “Lady Gaga of the book world” for being everywhere, even on the cover of Time Magazine with a headline proclaiming “Great American Novelist.”
So, really, Franzen didn’t need the Oprah’s Book Club stamp of approval.
Yet – Oprah chose the book the latest selection for her book club.
Oh yeah – and she called it a “masterpiece.”
This becomes especially interesting when you learn that, back in 2001, Oprah chose “The Corrections” as a book club selection, to which Mr. Franzen expressed some disapproval. Basically, he said that some of the past selections of the club had been “schmaltzy” and “one-dimensional.” However, what really irked some people was his statement that “The Corrections” would be “a hard book for that audience.” This comment got him accused of all kinds of elitism and sexism, as he also said he was really looking to attract a male audience.
That’s a nice way to alienate the largely female Oprah audience, who open their pocketbooks happily for things she endorses.
So – It’s nine years later, and the biggest book in the country was selected by the biggest book club in the country, despite past controversy.
I don’t even want to begin to speculate on who buried what issues, but the Oprah stamp is a stamp of mega-bucks, and making whatever kind of peace the two needed to make is simply a smart business move.
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, dude. And don’t be a snob. Middle American housewives can read, too.