Literature When Orpah ... sorry Oprah Winfrey announced that she would be resurrecting her book of the months club, but dedicating it this time to the 'classics' my heart leapt. Continual readers of my meandering will know I'm a fan of mad juxtapositions so the idea of O..prah discussing whether Hamlet was mad with a pop psychologist is just too seductive to deal with ...
"Oprah: So was Hamlet mad? On todays show we have the very real stories of Bobby, Jessie and Martin who's uncle's all killed their fathers and married their mothers. They'll be telling us if a sword fight is the only option ..."
Tod Goldberg isn't happy though. He saw that the original book club as offering a valid service to the writing community in a well reasoned letter to Oprah from the Las Vegas Mercury:
"What the average reader does not encounter, however, is the chance to sample even a few of the 150,000 new books released each year, nor hear the author of one of the works discussing how it came to be. While I disagreed with many of your book club selections in the past--paging Billie Letts--I admired the fact that the selections were current and that real live writers got the chance to come on your show to talk about whatever topics your selected group of sweater-tied-over-their-shoulders readers wanted to talk about. And truth be told, Oprah, if there were ever a time when readers needed to hear contemporary voices discussing literature and the power of the word, the time would be now."
It's not hard to disagree, and to be honest I can't see why she couldn't do both, maybe even on the same show even paralleling a contemporary novel with something from the past -- the new offering a way into discussing the old, the chosen month's author being asked what they thought of the classic. But that might be a leap to far ...

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