Oprah To Save Book Publishing Once Again

After a two-year break, former Queen of All Media Oprah Winfrey has decided to reinstate her famous, revenue-driving book club. And this time around her first pick is Wild, the memoir by Cheryl Strayed, who was not too long ago outed as Sugar, the once anonymous advice columnist over at The Rumpus.

La Winfrey’s book club has been a BFD in the past, driving sales to books by new and established authors alike. And Winfrey has had broad taste: authors as varied as Toni Morrison, Wally Lamb, Isabel Allende, Carson McCullers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and, naturally, Bill Cosby have been on the list.

The literary experiment hasn’t been without its problems, however. When Oprah picked Jonathan Franzen’s 2001 novel The Corrections for her list, the author poo-pooed the idea, saying that some of her other choices made him “cringe.” The O did not appreciate this and uninvited Franzen from her fancy, televised authors dinner party and then rebuffed his attempts to get alone time with her to explain. Oprah doesn’t need Jonathan Franzen, the world knew before he did, Jonathan Franzen needs Oprah. (The two patched things up, presumably thanks to much ring kissing, and his latest tome, Freedom, was another book club pick.)

Perhaps Oprah’s most famous flap was with A Million Little Pieces writer James Frey. After she picked his book for her club in 2005, it was discovered that his “brutally honest” memoir was, in fact, brutally made up. Frey was given a very public spanking on air (as was his publisher) and was basically made into public literary enemy number one. Even now, the author carries the stink of Oprah’s shame on him. But that’s all in the past!

Surely Strayed has nothing to worry about and the return of the book club—which, it has been reported, can increase sales by millions. Winfrey has released a video alerting her forces that she has reactivated operation Book Club and will be taking back America shelf by shelf. Check it out below.

Snooki Worth More to Rutgers Than Toni Morrison

Snooki will make $32,000 tonight for appearing at two Q&A events at Rutgers. Nobel Prize winner and author of such canonical novels as Beloved and Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison will make $2,000 less than that for delivering this year’s commencement address at the university. Oh, New Jersey. Well, Snooki is an author too now, I suppose.

Before we bemoan Rutgers’ decision-making here, keep in mind that Snooki was booked by a student programming organization while Morrison was hired by university officials. Plus, Snooki taught the kids how to fist pump and even styled one girl’s hair into a pouf. That’s…bang for your buck.

Also, Snooki gets paid $30,000 an episode for Jersey Shore, so she really wouldn’t expect anything less.

Advice Snooki will give Rutgers students: “Study hard, party harder.”

Advice Toni Morrison would be likely to give Rutgers students: “As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.”

“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

So same difference, right, Rutgers!

Model Diary: Chartreuse, Burnt Pumpkin & Honeysuckle

Hoary holidays from Canada! All this cold and gray makes me yearn for the warm and color from Miami two weeks ago. I went down for a day to shoot Marie Claire, and even though it was chilly by Florida standards, it was radiant compared to this frozen abyss. I hate to talk about the weather though, so let’s get to that second point that made the shoot so significant: color. One thing that was made clear to me yet again during this shoot was that people in the fashion industry have an acute understanding of color. As I changed into each look, the makeup artist and stylist discussed different color options for eye makeup that would complement the clothes. During one particular outfit change, the makeup artist used the word chartreuse to describe the touches of neon yellow in the Dries collection. How beautiful and soft and historic her chartreuse was to my ugly, reductive neon yellow! And I consider myself a woman of words!

Hearing them speak made me realize the baseness and inaccuracy of my own sense of color. Like when Meryl Streep calls out Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada; we shouldn’t be so ignorant to call something blue, when it is in fact cerulean. Those in the fashion industry use and interpret color in a way akin to artists. I touched on this in another post, when I wrote about how makeup and hair are art forms (I am always overwhelmed when I see the palette of colors laid out on the makeup table—so many colors with such subtle differences, yet the artist is so comfortable and decisive about which colors to use and blend). During this shoot, though, I realized that this comfort with color is not unique to the makeup artist, but to anyone who follows style. Understanding the significance of color is just as important as creating with it. To some, the long list of colors may seem like fashion jargon, but I feel like it must be personally enriching to know and identify each hue. Life might seem brighter and more colorful if I could call each tone by name, instead of struggling to articulate between blues.

A literary friend of mine once saw beauty in a term he coined to describe a skirt I was wearing: burnt pumpkin. Yes, he was drunk at the time, and likely on some psychedelic drug, but he seemed so satisfied by his description, as though he had captured some elusive truth in vintage Rodier.

I thought about this importance of color, and of understanding color, on the subway the other day, while reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved (already one of my favorite books, and I’m only halfway through). Color plays such an important role in the protagonists’ lives. It brightens. It revitalizes. It makes life more bearable amidst a dismal reality of dusty grays. And reading such a poignant truth about color on the M train, on a particularly muted day, made me aware of its importance in my own environment. It seems especially crucial now, back in wintry Canada. So, as the days become whiter with snow and darker with earlier sunsets, I’m going to make a concerted effort to acknowledge whatever colors I can find, and hopefully build up my vocabulary with their wonderfully descriptive names. Some beautiful ones to look forward to for spring, according to Pantone’s Fashion Color Report: honeysuckle, coral rose, silver peony, peapod.