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University of Arkansas Press
Reading with Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America / Edition 2

Reading with Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America / Edition 2

by Kathleen Rooney


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Reading with Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America / Edition 2

Adored by its fans, deplored by its critics, Oprah's Book Club has been at the center of arguments about cultural authority and literary taste since it began in 1996. Reading with Oprah explores the club's revolutionary fusion of books, television, and commerce and tells the engaging and in-depth story of the OBC phenomenon.

Kathleen Rooney combines extensive research with a dynamic voice to reveal the club's far-reaching cultural impact and its role as crucible for the clash between "high" and "low" literary taste. Comprehensive and up-to-date, the book covers the club from its inception in 1996, through the Jonathan Franzen contretemps, the surprising suspension in 2002, and, after the club's return in 2003, the progression from "great books" to memoir. New material includes an extensive look at the James Frey scandal and Oprah's turn to contemporary fiction.

Through close examination of Winfrey's picks and personal interviews with book club authors and readers, Rooney demonstrates how the club that Barbara Kingsolver calls "one of the best possible uses of a television set" has, according to Wally Lamb, "gotten people of all ages to read, to read more, and to read widely."

About the Author:
Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and the author of the upcoming University of Arkansas Press title Live Nude Girl. She lives in Chicago

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781557288738
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
Publication date: 03/28/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Kathleen Rooney photo by Jeff Wood Kathleen Rooney is a writing instructor at Emerson College. Winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize in 2004 and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine, she is editor of Redivider and has published a number of poems, articles, and reviews in the Nation, the Harvard Review, the Boston Review, Puerto Del Sol, and Cimarron Review. This book grew out of an article she wrote for the Nation about her visit to the show where Winfrey announced the end of the book club.

Table of Contents

Preface to New Edition     ix
Preface: End of Story?     xi
The Stories of Oprah: Oprah's Book Club and American Literary Culture     1
Jonathan Franzen Versus Oprah Winfrey: Disses, Disinvitations, and Disingenuousness     33
Raise Your Hand if You Haven't Done All the Reading: The Novels of OBC     67
Formatted to Fit Your Screen: The Flattening Effects of Television on the Books of OBC     109
Is This It?: The End of Oprah's Book Club as We Know It     163
Everything Old is New Again: Oprah's Book Club Returns with the Classics     185
Based on a True Story: Oprah's Foray into the Risky Field of Creative Nonfiction     213
Epilogue     241
List of Oprah's Books     257
Bibliography     261
Index     273

What People are Saying About This

Sven Birkerts

Rooney takes a steady, smart look at a situation that is both fascinating in its own right and deeply revealing about ‘how it is' in our cultural life these days. ((Sven Birkerts))

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