With the last episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday comes the end of Oprah’s Book Club, an institution that has been putting books in peoples hands (and authors onto bestseller lists) since 1996. While some of her picks might be controversial (remember James Frey and A Million Little Pieces? Of course you do), many of them took previously unknown or under-appreciated works and brought them to people who might never have read them otherwise.
The full list of her past picks is available on her website, and for those of you who really can’t survive without Oprah’s suggestions, there are rumors of a book club show being developed for the new Oprah Winfrey Network – clearly books, and by extension reading, are things she values and will continue to promote. How the lack of an Oprah’s Book Club Pick a few times a year will affect bookstores is unknown (for those of you that think her impact was minimal, compare the number of hardcover copies of A Million Little Pieces sold, 149, 500, to the number of Oprah-branded paperbacks sold, 2,695,500. That’s over two million additional books sold), but regardless, we’re sad anyone who cares so much about books go. Hopefully, everyone who has been touched or influenced by Oprah will continue on the paths she has shown them – and keep reading. Farewell, Oprah.
On a happier note: What was your favorite Oprah’s Book Club pick? And for those of us who are always looking for great new books to read, what is the one book you would add to the Oprah’s Book Club lineup if you could?