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.