Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oprah Book Club Stickers and Me

I spotted a clever column at the Guardian Unlimited website this morning that is titled "Books as Drinking Companions." Who could resist clicking on that title? As it turns out, columnist Jonathan Morrison is offering book title suggestions to various types of drinkers. He has ideas for happy drinkers, miserable drinkers, light drinkers and violent drinkers (he suggests hardcovers for those with violent tendencies).

But what really caught my eye was his advice that "drinking with books is fine, providing you're over 18 and don't buy anything with a Richard and Judy Book Club sticker on it...."

Richard and Judy host a morning television talk show in the U.K. that is very similar to the type of show that seems to be popular all over the world these days, shows filled with bits of hard news surrounded by entertainment news, relatively light interviews with celebrities and politicians selling books, movies or simply themselves, and maybe a few cooking lessons thrown in as icing on the cake. I'm not sure when it happened but Richard and Judy have apparently started a book club on the show in which they choose and highlight a book of which they are particularly fond. Oprah Winfrey with a British accent, I suppose.

The crack about the "Richard and Judy sticker" got me to thinking about the countless books that I've seen with "Oprah Book Club" stickers or imprints plastered all over their covers. I always look at those books with an extra bit of skepticism for some reason and, even if I want the book, I have never been able to force myself to buy a copy with the word "Oprah" anywhere on it. I can remember several different times that I've gone out of my way to find an edition of a book that predated Oprah's blessing so that I didn't give the impression to the world that my choice of books was influenced by Oprah Winfrey of all people. I'm always happy to see anyone discuss their love of books and reading, but I don't want to join Oprah's club, thanks anyway.

Call me grumpy today. Oprah always seems to affect me that way.
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