Oprah Book Club: Jonathan Franzen I Want Freedom!
Oprah has selected her newest book club addition, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.
Jonathan Franzen, come on down! You are the next contestant on “Watch Oprah Put You at the Top of the Bestsellers List.” On today’s Oprah show she will announce her newest selection to the Oprah Book Club. The book was selected back In September and today is the official announcement with an interview and Q&A with the author to follow next week. The book, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, is a study of a Midwestern family as they grow up, grow apart and come back together for big events in their lives.
Jonathan Franzen is no stranger to accolades. His last book, The Corrections, won the National Book Award. It was also a finalist for the both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Franzen has had success and sold books, but nothing like he is about to.
For any author getting picked for the Oprah Book Club is the e-ticket to the front of the line for big success. The selection essentially guarantees that your book will top the NY Times Bestsellers list and will sell tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of copies. Here is the interesting part. In 2001 Jonathan Franzen’s last book, the aforementioned The Corrections was previously selected by Winfrey to be her book club selection. Franzen sat down for a lengthy interview with Oprah and participated in filming B-roll material for her story on him. Shortly before the selection was officially announced Franzen did a few interviews where he said that he was hesitant about being an Oprah book club selection because he felt having the Oprah seal on his book would dissuade men from reading it. Shortly after those statements were made Oprah rescinded her offer and his book was not selected. The publicity gained by being dumped by Oprah actually worked in his favor as The Corrections went on to top Bestseller lists and become one of the best-selling literary books of this decade.
It seems in the nine years since the release of The Corrections Jonathan Franzen has changed his tune towards Oprah and is now embracing her selection. Oprah’s Book Club is one of those rare exceptions were being embraced by a celebrity in this way doesn’t water down your credibility. In the past she has selected very important works by some of the best writers in the world. The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Night by Elie Wiesel, House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubas III and a few different works by William Faulkner all appear on the list.
This may be the last Oprah Book Club selection of her current show which she is leaving at the end of the season, but she has said she will continue the idea when she moves to her own network in the fall. Whether it will have the same effect on sales and exposure then that it does now, remains to be seen but as of today being selected to the Oprah Book Club is like winning the lottery for a writer and Jonathan Franzen is the newest winner.
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