Franzen: Dudes Don’t Dig Oprah’s Book Club
If you’re looking for ten-year-old news, then you’ve come to the right place. When The Corrections was published in 2001, Queen Oprah selected the novel to be the newest member of her book club. Great news for Jonathan Franzen, right?
Franzen had this to say in an interview:
So much of reading is sustained in this country, I think, by the fact that women read while men are off golfing or watching football on TV or playing with their flight simulator or whatever. I had some hope of actually reaching a male audience and I’ve heard more than one reader in signing lines now at bookstores say “If I hadn’t heard you, I would have been put off by the fact that it is an Oprah pick. I figure those books are for women. I would never touch it.” Those are male readers speaking.
Oprah responded by rescinding Franzen’s invitation to be on her show, though The Corrections remained as a book club selection. The two let bygones be bygones in December of last year, when Franzen appeared on Oprah’s little show for his latest novel, Freedom.
As a male reader, I totally see where Franzen was coming from. I’ve got be honest: I would be leery of Oprah selections, though I’ve never watched the show and have no idea which books she usually selects.
My personal, and probably biased opinion, would be that if a novel has the Oprah sticker on it, then it’s probably more for her demographic—which isn’t a 34-year-old male.
I do know she selected Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which might contradict my previous thought that these are female-oriented books. But, in all honesty, I’m totally clueless.