Susan's Blog

Sunday, February 5, 2006

The I Hate Oprah Book Club

Warning: Self-Pitying Rant Ahead

Here’s a novel idea: Maybe I should start an “I Hate Oprah” book club, to counter the outrageously unfair Oprah phenomenon. I could call it the “Sour Grapes” Book Club, so as not to offend Ms. Winfrey (in case she ever deigns to choose my book). But truly, I am in a snit here. How unfortunately true that there is no such thing as bad publicity? Take a look at the torturous New York Times bestseller list (worse than my daily venture onto the Amazon book rank chart) and you will see that number 1 is Elie Wiesel’s Night. I have nothing against Mr. Wiesel, in fact, I loved Night when I read it one hundred years ago! So let’s forget the fact that the noble and deserving Mr. Wiesel has not had a new book in ages, nor has a movie been made of Night (and we should thank God for that, it would be sad, so very sad that we would not recover); it is because Oprah chose him!

But far worse than that is the slap in the face to all decent writers, that the infamous James Frey, of A Million Lies fame, is number 2 on the bestseller list!

Meanwhile, we lesser writers slog away, traveling the countryside week after week, spreading little droplets of wisdom (or some facsimile thereof), hope, and cheer — not that there’s anything wrong with that — and Ms. Winfrey has yet to choose them for her illustrious, fame-boosting book club, or worse yet, do a story on autism!

Why, oh why, can’t she use her powers for the good? Or at least, to help sell my book?


In that case, you’d have enjoyed the Oprah parody on Saturday Night Live last night. While Oprah carries a fair amount of (way too much) weight in the publishing world, when Osama bin Laden recommended William Blum’s “The Rogue State” a couple of weeks ago, it went from No. 205,763 on Amazon’s bestseller list to No. 35 on the Amazon list in just 36 hours! That little episode proves that Oprah does not have a monopoly in the book promotion field.

— added by Anonymous on Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 2:29 pm

I think if Oprah promoted your book, you might experience good and otherwise.

Good – you’d make lot’s of money and touch a few lives in a very positive way – Very good actually.

Otherwise – 10 million (less-than-thinkers) would read your book because Oprah deigned it, and talk as if they really understand autism, the challenges faced, and how they are “better” for having read it – but will do absolutely nothing to further the cause. They’ll continue to “talk to Angels”, hope for free cars, and be happy to ‘appear’ smart.

Of course, the attention and potential interviews on CNN could open new avenues for you to have big impact.

I’d like to see you write your next book about why Oprah doesn’t really help society at all.

Dad Of Cameron

— added by Do'C on Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 3:33 pm

Who is this “Oprah” person. Does she need to be on The List too?

— added by Andrew on Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 4:29 pm

All interesting points, except
Andrew’s — Andrew, lay off the sauce, okay?? 🙂

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 4:50 pm

About a year ago I get a phone call from one of my co-board members of the See A New Sun foundation saying he had received a call from Oprah and they had talked about highlighting our organization. I got all excited and started telling people that Oprah had called us. In the end it turned out that it was Oprah – the magazine – that contacted us, not Oprah the person. And to make matters worse they decided not to cover us at all.
Not sure what the point of this annecdote is other than Oprah’s power is certainly seductive.

— added by Pete Lyons on Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 11:03 pm

I am the single mother of an 8 yr old severely autistic boy. He is for the most part non-verbal…he does, however, seem to love Oprah. Could it be her facial expression and tone..or something deeper??Who the hell knows..and although I enjoy his contentment while watching her show..I couldn’t agree with YOU more. It seems Oprah holds great respect and influence in our society and Autism warrants both. I loved your book Susan….thanks for sharing!!

— added by Trav's Mom on Wednesday, February 8, 2006 at 8:57 am

I’m not an Oprah fan, but she has done at least one show on autism and promoted at least one book on it (although not sure it was for her book club or not).

— added by ballastexistenz on Wednesday, February 8, 2006 at 8:35 pm

Her book club may not be for everyone, but you can’t deny that it has made reading popular in a way that nothing else has

— added by Steve on Monday, July 23, 2007 at 5:20 pm

%d bloggers like this: