PDA

View Full Version : Despite bad blood, Oprah selects Jonathan Franzen's FREEDOM for next Book Club pick.



leahzero
09-17-2010, 10:41 AM
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-09-16/oprahs-brilliant-book-club-pick-jonathan-franzens-freedom/


This time, Franzen will not flub his move. This time, he’ll appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show some days or weeks from now, ready to be grilled (à la James Frey (http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Oprahs-Questions-for-James)) or, more likely, ready for Oprah to declare why she felt Freedom (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374158460/thedaibea-20) deserved her special attention. The hatchet, real or perceived, will be buried once and for all, and a key karmic blip in the feel-good narrative that is Oprah’s daytime talk show will be sanded over, with big ratings to boot for what’s certain to be a performance that will keep both parties in the headlines for weeks to come.This is a bold move, as Franzen notoriously dissed Oprah's selection of his previous novel THE CORRECTIONS (http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20135698,00.html):


In the Philadelphia Inquirer he deemed The Corrections "a hard book for that audience," meaning Oprah (http://www.people.com/people/oprah_winfrey)'s readers.Personally, I'm already weary of the Franzenfervor, but I think this is a brilliant decision on behalf of Oprah. She comes out looking good, able to turn the other cheek, and Franzen, perhaps, will show a little humility to the great unwashed book-reading public this time.

aruna
09-17-2010, 10:44 AM
Sounds good. I loved The Corretions.

Jamesaritchie
09-17-2010, 02:52 PM
I suspect she picked this book because of the bad blood, not despite it. It makes her look good, and him look bad.

Either way, I won't be reading it.

Toothpaste
09-17-2010, 06:13 PM
I know it wouldn't be right to do so, but I kind of wish Oprah would purposefully choose books that didn't get a lot of press and that would truly benefit from her selecting it, as opposed to books that are already huge.

But I know the point is simply to choose books she likes, it's not meant to be strategic. Still. Think of all the other brilliant not very well known authors out there for whom this would be a life changing moment. As opposed to Franzen who is already big, AND who already had one of his books picked.

The Lonely One
09-17-2010, 09:46 PM
Beloved aside I don't care what books Oprah likes or puts on her show. I didn't care that she backed Obama and I don't care that she hates Frey. I don't care if she hosts her show in the center of a Hawaiian volcano or on the moon. I don't care if she builds a giant ice machine in Africa via Mosquito Coast or if she finds a cure for cancer or settles tensions in the middle east.

Maybe she's a good person, maybe she's a publicity hound. Maybe she's a saint maybe she's the devil incarnate.

I have more intelligent ways of choosing books. If Franzen's book is good, and it fits my tastes, I'll read it. If not, a proud-spirited TV show host isn't going to convince me.

Toothpaste
09-17-2010, 09:57 PM
Fair enough, I don't tend to make my book choices from her recommendations either. BUT. Many people do. Millions of people do. And to be one of her picks is a career changing opportunity. So to give the opportunity to someone already huge seems like a waste of one.

However I acknowledge that it isn't Oprah's job to give people opportunities, that she just wants to choose the books she likes. Still . . .

leahzero
09-17-2010, 11:59 PM
I agree with Toothpaste. The whole point is the free publicity, and Franzen sure as hell didn't need it this time around.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
09-18-2010, 12:16 AM
I've never heard of Franzen.

Darzian
09-18-2010, 12:17 AM
Beloved aside I don't care what books Oprah likes or puts on her show. I didn't care that she backed Obama and I don't care that she hates Frey. I don't care if she hosts her show in the center of a Hawaiian volcano or on the moon. I don't care if she builds a giant ice machine in Africa via Mosquito Coast or if she finds a cure for cancer or settles tensions in the middle east.

Maybe she's a good person, maybe she's a publicity hound. Maybe she's a saint maybe she's the devil incarnate.

I have more intelligent ways of choosing books. If Franzen's book is good, and it fits my tastes, I'll read it. If not, a proud-spirited TV show host isn't going to convince me.

Well, I would care if she found the cure to cancer....

But the point is, as Toothpaste said, that thousands of people buy the books that Oprah recommends. So while I personally don't care what she likes, if she liked a book of mine, the popularity of the book is bound to soar (at least for a while). If the book was really good, then it could go on to become a bestseller.

aruna
09-18-2010, 10:17 AM
I've never watched Oprah's show and have only ever seen glimpses of her on TV or in magazines, so I personally don't care what she recommends. But she's obviously not a force to be flippantly dismissed, because her influence on the reading public is enormous. But, Toothpaste, I thought she had discovered a few new authors? I was under the impression that that was what she was famous for -- raising unknown authors out of obscurity?

Priene
09-18-2010, 10:25 AM
Franzen is a great author and I'll definitvely read his next one, though I'm not sure Franzen needs Oprah's publicity anyway.

Amadan
09-18-2010, 10:32 AM
I've never watched Oprah's show and have only ever seen glimpses of her on TV or in magazines, so I personally don't care what she recommends. But she's obviously not a force to be flippantly dismissed, because her influence on the reading public is enormous. But, Toothpaste, I thought she had discovered a few new authors? I was under the impression that that was what she was famous for -- raising unknown authors out of obscurity?

Sometimes she picks unknowns, sometimes she picks authors who are already famous (and in some cases, dead, since she's picked classics like Anna Karenina and The Sound and the Fury; Tolstoy and Faulkner need the publicity even less than Franzen does...).

tutty
09-18-2010, 03:00 PM
Beloved aside I don't care what books Oprah likes or puts on her show. I didn't care that she backed Obama and I don't care that she hates Frey. I don't care if she hosts her show in the center of a Hawaiian volcano or on the moon. I don't care if she builds a giant ice machine in Africa via Mosquito Coast or if she finds a cure for cancer or settles tensions in the middle east.

Maybe she's a good person, maybe she's a publicity hound. Maybe she's a saint maybe she's the devil incarnate.

I have more intelligent ways of choosing books. If Franzen's book is good, and it fits my tastes, I'll read it. If not, a proud-spirited TV show host isn't going to convince me.

Lmao. I don't think one method is "more intelligent" than other. As long as someone's reading, what does it matter? Unless you're never read a book based on a recommendation from ANYONE. I mean, Christ, if someone out there has tastes similar to Oprah, why not give it a go? Or if someone's a reluctant reader, why not go based off a known tastemaker and expand from there?

The Lonely One
09-18-2010, 06:16 PM
I was more referring to those individuals whom watch her show as if her opinion were God, including book recommendations, health recommendations, presidential recommendations, and everything else. They think she's the messiah or something. It's the follower mentality I urge against. Reading a book based on her recommendation then realizing you actually like it because of your own tastes is one thing. ONLY reading what's on the book list because the O says so seems hardly fair to the wide world of literature. If everyone followed Oprah no one else would get read. And the size of her following is not to be ignored.

I don't blame her or think she's evil, I just think people should think for themselves.

KTC
09-18-2010, 06:46 PM
I agree with Toothpaste. The whole point is the free publicity, and Franzen sure as hell didn't need it this time around.

i don't think free publicity is the whole point. i think the whole point is championing books she genuinely likes...and the free publicity is the side effect that she knows will happen.


i don't find oprah to be relevant. i don't listen to her...and i hate the little oprah stickers that get put on her picks...makes me think about not reading the book, actually.

ChaosTitan
09-18-2010, 06:55 PM
I've read three books that have been part of her book club, and those in spite of the selection, not because of it.

Beloved, because it was foisted upon me in high school and I hated every single word.

White Oleander, because I was interning at JWP while the movie was being made, and my boss told me to and I loved it.

ETA: Where the Heart Is, because I loved the movie. The book was better.

I don't avoid her picks, but 99% of the time, it isn't something I'd have chosen to read anyway. Although The Corrections is on my bookshelf somewhere, waiting to be read....

scarletpeaches
09-18-2010, 06:58 PM
I've read White Oleander, I Know This Much is True and She's Come Undone and wouldn't have heard of them were it not for Oprah's book club.

Newsflash: she's watched all over the world and books that are big in the U.S. don't always get the same publicity abroad.

Amadan
09-18-2010, 07:03 PM
I was more referring to those individuals whom watch her show as if her opinion were God, including book recommendations, health recommendations, presidential recommendations, and everything else. They think she's the messiah or something. It's the follower mentality I urge against. Reading a book based on her recommendation then realizing you actually like it because of your own tastes is one thing. ONLY reading what's on the book list because the O says so seems hardly fair to the wide world of literature. If everyone followed Oprah no one else would get read. And the size of her following is not to be ignored.

Ya know, sometimes the Oprah hate is just ridiculous.

Have you actually looked at the books she's chosen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah%27s_Book_Club#Oprah.27s_Book_Club_selections )? A lot of them are not my cup of tea, but she's not just choosing frou-frou beach books.

I don't think anyone should read "only what's on her list," but considering how few people actually read books regularly, you could do a lot worse than following her recommendations. And it's been said that Oprah has been substantially responsible for keeping the mid-list afloat. When she recommends a book and millions of people read it, a lot of those people will then read other books by that author, or similar books.

Oprah is enormously popular, but I don't think she's any more "messianic" than any other popular celebrity, and I'm sure less worried about mindless Oprah fans than I am about mindless Glenn Beck or Paris Hilton fans.

WendyNYC
09-18-2010, 07:03 PM
I don't have any particular opinion about her show since I don't watch TV during the day, but I did google her list (http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Complete-List-of-Oprahs-Book-Club-Books). Wow, I've read A LOT of the books she recommends. And I just bought FREEDOM a few days ago (not because of O) along with ROOM.

Maybe all those people buy what she recommends because they've enjoyed her picks in the past.

scarletpeaches
09-18-2010, 07:12 PM
I just googled her complete reading list to see how many I've read or would like to.

I don't get the Oprah hate at all. I don't like movie tie-in covers or the Oprah-sticker either in case people think that's all I read, but...meh. I guess I should just stop caring whether or not people believe I've been a bookworm all my life and just enjoy what I read, no matter who recommended it.

HelloKiddo
09-18-2010, 07:40 PM
In the Philadelphia Inquirer he deemed The Corrections "a hard book for that audience," meaning Oprah's readers.

What an asshole! Can you say "pretentious"? I'm glad I decided not to read Freedom. I had been considering it until now.

I doubt that was called for. Is his book really so hard that an audience that reads Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cormac McCarthy, and William Faulkner would be blown away by it? I find that hard to believe.

willietheshakes
09-18-2010, 08:07 PM
What an asshole! Can you say "pretentious"? I'm glad I decided not to read Freedom. I had been considering it until now.

I doubt that was called for. Is his book really so hard that an audience that reads Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cormac McCarthy, and William Faulkner would be blown away by it? I find that hard to believe.

That comment was only part of what Franzen said, as to why he didn't want his book in the book club.

And, unless I'm mistaken, with the exception of Morrison, all of those books/authors you mentioned came AFTER the Franzen debacle. Maybe Oprah listened? Maybe Franzen raised the bar?

Toothpaste
09-18-2010, 08:09 PM
i don't think free publicity is the whole point. i think the whole point is championing books she genuinely likes...and the free publicity is the side effect that she knows will happen.




And I also said as much.

My point is, there are a lot of fantastic lesser known books out there, so why not kill two birds with one stone? If I had the power to push an author's career into the stratosphere while at the same time promoting reading and good books, why wouldn't I try to do both?

Now I know it isn't Oprah's mandate to do so, and I respect that she has listed some of the classics which are already popular but might have gone a bit out of favour in recent years, she breathes new life into them, but still. If I had her power, I would go out of my way to uplift unknown authors. I mean, it isn't like you'd have to compromise. Like only really famous books are good books, and therefore choosing lesser known books means choosing lesser books point blank. We all know there are brilliant pieces of writing out there that for whatever reason didn't get the acclaim they deserve. It isn't as if she'd have to compromise her beliefs in choosing something lesser known. It would, however, take more work seeking out those books, so I suppose that's part of the problem.

Anyway, she is under no obligation to help an author's career, it's just when you have the opportunity to do so, I don't see why you wouldn't. And in my mind choosing Franzen is a bit like choosing JK Rowling. Everyone's reading it anyway.

scarletpeaches
09-18-2010, 08:10 PM
I've never read a Franzen book. I wouldn't know him from Adam.

Toothpaste
09-18-2010, 08:13 PM
I've never read a Franzen book. I wouldn't know him from Adam.

Be that as it may, it's still been on all the best seller lists so clearly people are reading him.

scarletpeaches
09-18-2010, 08:15 PM
Be that as it may, it's still been on all the best seller lists so clearly people are reading him.Maybe where you are. As I said before, Oprah is watched worldwide and she may be promoting books that are well known across the pond, but are not so much elsewhere. The world's a big place and readers are not all from the States or Canada.

Oprah's under no obligation to promote the little guy. I mean, if I was asked to list my favourite books, I would mention my favourites, not the most worthy, or those by authors who needed a leg up.

rhymegirl
09-18-2010, 08:29 PM
Ya know, sometimes the Oprah hate is just ridiculous.

Have you actually looked at the books she's chosen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah%27s_Book_Club#Oprah.27s_Book_Club_selections )? A lot of them are not my cup of tea, but she's not just choosing frou-frou beach books.

I don't think anyone should read "only what's on her list," but considering how few people actually read books regularly, you could do a lot worse than following her recommendations. And it's been said that Oprah has been substantially responsible for keeping the mid-list afloat. When she recommends a book and millions of people read it, a lot of those people will then read other books by that author, or similar books.

Oprah is enormously popular, but I don't think she's any more "messianic" than any other popular celebrity, and I'm sure less worried about mindless Oprah fans than I am about mindless Glenn Beck or Paris Hilton fans.

Well-said. I agree with you.

Toothpaste
09-18-2010, 08:57 PM
Oprah's under no obligation to promote the little guy.

Gah! I know! Haven't I been saying so in all my posts? Am I not being clear? (seriously, I want to know if I'm not being clear)

Here's a fab article that articulates my point (once again, I know that Oprah is under no obligation to promote the little guy, I still think it would be nice however if she did, oy): http://flcenterlitarts.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/by-picking-franzen-oprah-makes-literature-irrelevant-to-human-existence/

scarletpeaches
09-18-2010, 09:00 PM
The article comes across with a monumental sense of entitlement.

For a start, it flat-out calls this selection wrong.

HelloKiddo
09-18-2010, 09:05 PM
And, unless I'm mistaken, with the exception of Morrison, all of those books/authors you mentioned came AFTER the Franzen debacle. Maybe Oprah listened? Maybe Franzen raised the bar?

Yeah, true. But the books weren't too hard for Oprah's readers--I find it hard to believe his are. Cormac McCarthy agreed to do her show and was very polite and accepted the compliment.

Besides that, the books listed before his were certainly very respectable picks--Joyce Carol Oates, Ernest Gaines, and Barbara Kingsolver. (I haven't read Gaines, but I've read some and from what I saw it was a fine book.)

Jamesaritchie
09-18-2010, 09:20 PM
I know it wouldn't be right to do so, but I kind of wish Oprah would purposefully choose books that didn't get a lot of press and that would truly benefit from her selecting it, as opposed to books that are already huge.

But I know the point is simply to choose books she likes, it's not meant to be strategic. Still. Think of all the other brilliant not very well known authors out there for whom this would be a life changing moment. As opposed to Franzen who is already big, AND who already had one of his books picked.

Most of the books she chooses aren't big before she chooses them. They're simply in bookstores and available to be read. They do often become big before the public knows she chose them because as soon as the publisher learns of it they have a print run of several hundred thousand books. This makes a big splash, even before the book actually appears on her show and the print run is actually needed.

willietheshakes
09-18-2010, 09:44 PM
They do often become big before the public knows she chose them because as soon as the publisher learns of it they have a print run of several hundred thousand books. This makes a big splash, even before the book actually appears on her show and the print run is actually needed.

Um... no. As a bookseller who has watched the whole Oprah Book Club run close up, this is fundamentally untrue.

One of the stipulations to the Club is that the title isn't released until it appears on the show. Booksellers order "Oprah Book Club Selection #X" blind, and based only on past experience and gut-feeling. The Oprah print-runs are stickered/tagged with the Oprah seal, and cannot be opened or displayed until after the announcement.

There is NO Oprah "splash" before the announcement. None whatsoever. And deliberately so. The only exception is the Franzen, which has been rumoured and all but confirmed in the trade for a couple of weeks.

KTC
09-18-2010, 10:50 PM
And I also said as much.

I know. You made yourself clear...but I was responding to the person who replied after you. Their statement was categorically wrong, even though they said they agreed with you.

backslashbaby
09-18-2010, 11:14 PM
That comment was only part of what Franzen said, as to why he didn't want his book in the book club.

And, unless I'm mistaken, with the exception of Morrison, all of those books/authors you mentioned came AFTER the Franzen debacle. Maybe Oprah listened? Maybe Franzen raised the bar?

He'd love to think that he 'raised the bar'.

The old 'literary' debate leaves me cold when it comes to this man and statements like 'raise the bar'.

Anyway, try to tell me that reading Isabel Allende doesn't take concentration. That woman could use shorter paragraphs if you ask me; damn! ;)

Amadan
09-18-2010, 11:15 PM
Gah! I know! Haven't I been saying so in all my posts? Am I not being clear? (seriously, I want to know if I'm not being clear)

Here's a fab article that articulates my point (once again, I know that Oprah is under no obligation to promote the little guy, I still think it would be nice however if she did, oy): http://flcenterlitarts.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/by-picking-franzen-oprah-makes-literature-irrelevant-to-human-existence/

The thing is, though, that she does. Not every time, but often enough.

I think you're being clear but it still sounds like you think she has an obligation to prioritize the impact her choice will have on authors above her personal reading preferences.

Toothpaste
09-18-2010, 11:30 PM
lol, then I am not being clear. As obviously when I wrote:
I know the point is simply to choose books she likes, it's not meant to be strategic. AND
However I acknowledge that it isn't Oprah's job to give people opportunities, that she just wants to choose the books she likes. people still think I think she has an obligation to prop up lesser known books :) .

My point is that if I were in her position with her power I would choose books that weren't already successful. I would. Because it is very easy to find a brilliant book that not many people have heard of. I find them often myself. My one exception might be to choose a book that was successful in its day, but people aren't as familiar with it anymore.

But I am not her. And she can do whatever she wants. Just as I can express that I think it's too bad she doesn't do what I would do. Because I am amazing, and everything I do is awesome :) .

(btw, I am not subtly suggesting she ought to choose my books, my books are not remotely Oprah pick types. I am thinking more of a few of my friends who have brilliant books, books that were some of the best I'd read all year, that would be perfect picks for her)

Amadan
09-18-2010, 11:59 PM
lol, then I am not being clear. As obviously when I wrote: AND people still think I think she has an obligation to prop up lesser known books :) .

Obligation is probably too strong a word. I do get what you're saying. Yes, it would be very nice of her to pick lesser-known authors. Like you, if I were in her position, I'd probably be more inclined to pick someone who could use the attention. On the other hand, if I were rich and famous and I knew my recommendations would influence millions of people, if I found an already-bestselling book that I loved, I'd still recommend it. It seems to me that Oprah is mindful of the power her recommendations have. I think occasionally picking more famous writers may be a way to keep from turning her book club more explicitly into a lottery prize for midlist authors.

(Anyone notice that she's picked Bill Cosby three times?)

The Lonely One
09-19-2010, 01:49 AM
Ya know, sometimes the Oprah hate is just ridiculous.

Have you actually looked at the books she's chosen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah%27s_Book_Club#Oprah.27s_Book_Club_selections )? A lot of them are not my cup of tea, but she's not just choosing frou-frou beach books.

I don't think anyone should read "only what's on her list," but considering how few people actually read books regularly, you could do a lot worse than following her recommendations. And it's been said that Oprah has been substantially responsible for keeping the mid-list afloat. When she recommends a book and millions of people read it, a lot of those people will then read other books by that author, or similar books.

Oprah is enormously popular, but I don't think she's any more "messianic" than any other popular celebrity, and I'm sure less worried about mindless Oprah fans than I am about mindless Glenn Beck or Paris Hilton fans.

Fair enough about Glenn Beck and his BFF Paris Hilton--those people are scary. But if you pay attention to what I actually said, you'll see I never mentioned "hating" Oprah. I just don't follow her book selections like they're golden child must-reads. For me, I would consider that an idiotic way of making decisions. I don't choose presidents based on Glenn Beck either. I do the work myself to make well-rounded decisions.

It seems so strange to base one's reading solely on someone else. And believe me there are those Oprah followers out there. The crazed militant O magazine subscribers who think she's more worth following than any other human being. That she is THE role model for women. And personally I think it's all waaaay overblown and that women should make role models of themselves instead of being mindless TV drones. Men, too, of course--what I mean is all people should take full responsibility for themselves and admit that none of us, not even Oprah, knows what the best way to make it through this scary, fucked-up thing called life is, and we all just have to do our best on our own terms.

There are so freaking many books out there. So many that if they were all in one room and you walked into said room your head would explode from the amazing mass of information. This is the same reason I don't value the New York Times opinion by what's a "best seller" or what's worth reading. I don't value the opinions of literary critics. I just don't. Because 9 times out of 10 we don't HAVE THE SAME OPINION. Because not a single thing they can say will change my opinion of a book once I've read it.

I don't care if you've been picked up by a "New York" house or a small backwater press. If you're amazing, in my eyes, you're amazing, and I thank you for that. And I don't thank anyone else for "discovering" that author, because the celebs who push the few books they like didn't write them, nor did they toil over the countless others that remain unspoken for, just as good or better.

Oprah has a right to say whatever she wants, it doesn't really bother me because it doesn't matter to me. That's all I'm saying. She can have her show and her followers. She has worked pretty damn hard in a lot of ways that I could never compare to. But with no offense meant to her, regarding her literary opinion, I just. don't. care.

EDIT: I see quite a few good authors on her list, but also if I just went by that I'd miss soo many more great ones that aren't related to those by genre or period or anything else.

EDIT 2: Plus I found Danticat and Tolstoy and Morrison and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and JC Oates and Wiesel on my own, without the big O, and I'm not that smart...

The Lonely One
09-19-2010, 01:51 AM
Plus she annoyed me by announcing to the world that memoirs aught to be truthful :)

Amadan
09-19-2010, 02:10 AM
But with no offense meant to her, regarding her literary opinion, I just. don't. care.


Well, that's fine; I don't either because her tastes are not much like mine. But many people do, and I think the rest of your argument is a straw woman. I suppose there probably are a few people out there with Oprah shrines in their houses who only ever read what Oprah recommends and nothing else, but I doubt that is true for most of her fans, and the sort of people who are likely to follow Oprah's book club probably read quite a bit, which means they must be finding something else to read between her book club selections.

I never really thought you literally hate her, but there seems to be an awful lot of "Who is this silly woman who dares to suggest what other people should read?" in all the hatin' on Oprah. Why do people read book reviews? Why is the New York Times so influential? People can take issue with the NYT's recommendations too (and many do), but nobody thinks people who read the NYT only read books they recommend.

NicoleMD
09-19-2010, 03:09 AM
It seems so strange to base one's reading solely on someone else.

It's just a book club. A HUGE book club, but a club nonetheless. No one's making anyone read anything. No one's making anyone like what they read. The whole point of a book club is to discuss what you like and don't like about a book with other people. Who cares if they read off the list or not?

Nicole

scarletpeaches
09-19-2010, 03:11 AM
I've read some Oprah selections and I certainly DON'T read my reading solely on her.

I also browse bookshops and libraries. I ask friends for recommendations. Sometimes they come unsolicited.

As long as I find good books, I don't care HOW I get there.

KathleenD
09-20-2010, 08:47 PM
...is that a year after she picks them, you can get them for a quarter at the used bookshop.

That was actually how I stumbled into The Poisonwood Bible, which is now on my personal short list of favorite novels. There were heaps of them in the window, and the owner was grouching about how many copies were still flooding in. He was only buying the nicest, newest copies. I don't think the one I snagged had ever been opened.

Xelebes
09-20-2010, 10:12 PM
Oprah is a critic, a reviewer. Albeit, one of the most powerful critics in the book industry.

Phaeal
09-21-2010, 01:34 AM
Wow, Franzen's getting great publicity! First, the Picoult-Weiner snarkfest (which wasn't snarking about him personally, so gravy there), now a second chance with Oprah!

According to the cover piece that TIME ran on Franzen, the so-called elitist remarks he made about Oprah re the Corrections pick were taken out of context, from an interview that also contained praises for her. The media are great at picking contentious bits to rant over -- do we still remember the Shirley Sherrod debacle?

Love Oprah, hate Oprah, care less about Oprah -- you have to admit, the woman has a great nose for the potentially sensational topic. Hence her success. To pick Freedom after the Corrections blow-up? Brilliant! Endless room for speculation! Has she realized she overreacted to the "elitist" comments? Will she apologize on air? Will Franzen apologize? Will they BOTH apologize? Is there no need for apologies? Does she just love the goddamned book?

BTW, Freedom is tasty. I bought it based on my reading of the first two pages, which made me laugh out loud four times as I recognized people that I know in the characters. The critics have been so busy crying this one up as the Great American Novel and a heavy theme-fest that they've largely overlooked how entertaining and funny it is, as well as incisive and thought-provoking, but in a genuinely inquiring rather than a pontificating way. Good work, Mr. Franzen! And good pick, Ms. Winfrey.

escritora
09-21-2010, 01:49 AM
Love Oprah, hate Oprah, care less about Oprah -- you have to admit, the woman has a great nose for the potentially sensational topic. Hence her success. To pick Freedom after the Corrections blow-up? Brilliant! Endless room for speculation! Has she realized she overreacted to the "elitist" comments? Will she apologize on air? Will Franzen apologize? Will they BOTH apologize? Is there no need for apologies? Does she just love the goddamned book?
Off topic.

I love this paragraph. The pace is nice.

Edit: I think it's clear that 'off topic' refers to my comment, not Phael's. But just in case it's not I'm clarifying.