If you heard loud shrieks reverberating from building to building in New York yesterday, do not be alarmed. Those were shrieks of joy: Oprah has decided to include contemporary books again in her book club. It appears that the petition that was sent earlier this year by a group of writers may have had an impact:
Meg Wolitzer, a novelist who was one of the early signers of the petition, said Ms. Winfrey’s effect on authors, particularly novelists, “was to make us feel relevant,” whether they were chosen for the club or not.
“To have somebody with a really loud mouth and a lot of power saying to people, ‘You need to read this,’ is important,” she added.
Ms. Winfrey said she was aware of the petition and was moved by it. When she stopped choosing contemporary books, Ms. Winfrey said she was struggling to find enough titles that she felt compelled to share with her viewers, a statement that angered many publishers. But the change also followed by a few months a highly public quarrel with Jonathan Franzen, whose novel “The Corrections” was chosen by Ms. Winfrey in September 2001.
Winfrey’s first pick is James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces.