Tuesday, June 05, 2007

When Oprah Things Happen To Good Books

I see that the "Oprah Book Club" has just selected Jeffrey Eugenides' "Middlesex" as its latest book club selection. This after choosing Cormac McCarthy. For me, pretty much the definition of the term "ambivalent feelings". But is being hipped to good things via the New York Times Book Review or word-of-mouth really any better than Oprah?

If I wrote a novel picked by Oprah's Book Club would I go all Jonathan Franzen and get pissy about it? Or would I just go back to swimming in my brand new multi-million dollar Playboy Mansion-style pool/grotto?

Recent Oprah choice William Faulkner didn't have such luxury back in his day. As I recall, he spent significant time having to whore for Hollywood, drinking a bottle of bourbon a day to detach himself from the creative prostitution of it all.

So who cares if I liked "Middlesex" a year or so before Oprah's Book Club? Me, kinda. Ambivalent feelings indeed. Congratulations, Mr. Eugenides, I guess. And you can invite me to the grotto any time you like.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I loved Middlesex when I read it a few years ago, and my bookclub loved it last year when I suggested it. Frankly, that Oprah exposes the unwashed masses to good literature is a good thing.

I just finished The Road by McCarthy. I'm not sure I liked it, even several weeks later. I'm still thinking about it though, which means it made an impression on me, good or bad.