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Contributors to this collection examine several aspects of the Oprah Winfrey juggernaut, including her talk show, magazine, and book club. The thematically grouped essays critically analyze how she uses personal information, particularly her battles with weight, to effect a level of intimacy with her audience. Several of the articles mention the talk-show episode where, after a 60-pound weight loss, Oprah pulled onstage a wagonload of fat representing the loss. Her detractors also argue that her book club diluted the discussion of so-called literary fiction, and much attention is paid to Jonathan Franzen's being disinvited to discuss The Correctionsafter his seemingly ungrateful comments about the overall intellect of the book club and its members. More extensive in its coverage than Kathleen Rooney's Reading with Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America, this book identifies the common threads that run throughout Oprah's empire, the demographics of her audience, how she brings together women from diverse backgrounds, and her use of empathy and encouragement to foster self-improvement. Recommended for academic libraries.
—Regina M. Beard, Economics Librarian, Kansas State Libs.