The Washington Post review of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County (my book was in the Washington Post!) temporarily confused me because it started with a discussion of Oprah. Even in the book world, I guess, all roads lead to Oprah.
That’s okay. I love Oprah’s book club. I’ve loved it since it started. Remember The Book of Ruth? Remember The House of Sand and Fog, and Drowning Ruth? How about Middlesex, and Vinegar Hill, and The Pilot’s Wife? Oh my god, those are some good books. And how cool is it that Oprah got the nation reading them? All kinds of people. She made reading democratic again, and amen to that.
Do you know how encouraging it is for a wannabe writer to be able to watch a show like Oprah’s, and see that yes, it can be done! Month after month, I’d see novels a lot like what I wanted to write being published by women (and some men, too) who seemed a lot like me. I’d gobble up their novels, and think, hey, if they did it, so can I.
If my book has “O-ppeal” (to quote the Post), I’d like to say that this wasn’t a calculated choice. I’ve immensely enjoyed most of the novels in the Oprah book club. Why wouldn’t I try to write something I’d like to read myself? I’m not ashamed if this makes me a populist, or common. I have a doctorate in literature. I know I’m smart. I don’t think I need to prove it by writing high-falutin’ books. I already did that in a dissertation, and almost bored myself to death.
Of course, I, too, have gotten all the same comments as the rest of the Debs. You should go on Oprah! Send your book in!
Right. I think that in this life, Oprah comes to you. And if she doesn’t, that’s okay with me. As long as she keeps picking the books, I’ll keep reading them. I’m just grateful for all those books that showed me the way.
ps–Did anyone see the Kathy Griffin episode where she tries to get her book chosen for the book club? She attempts to send a pizza with a flyer about her book inside the box. It’s hilarious! But, no, it didn’t work.