SALT LAKE CITY — I feel about books the way most women feel about shoes. I drool over them, touch new covers longingly in Barnes and Noble, often buy more than I can afford (I have even hidden new purchases from my husband, which is much too easy to do on an e-reader, I might add). So when Oprah announced the rekindling of her book club recently, Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, I was, well, really excited!
I suppose for someone who reads as much as I do, I need input. I need recommendations. When I find an author I like, I read everything he or she writes or has written, but that’s never enough. I need new authors. Oprah gives me new authors, and lots of them.
The first selection of Oprah's new book club is a personal story titled “Wild” written by Cheryl Strayed. (I just downloaded it so I don’t have an opinion yet.) I asked the women on “A Woman’s View” what they thought about the revitalization of Oprah's book club.
“Obviously she has the golden finger,” author Sheralyn Pratt responded. “Whatever she picks becomes the ‘it’ book, and basically she has to say, ‘Read this book.’ She can’t just hold it up. She has to say, ‘Read this book.’”
I asked Pratt, being an author herself, if she read any of the books Oprah had recommended over the years. “I don’t read her books,” she replied. “I like things that keep me more engaged. They’re just not my vibe.”
“Rekindled,” Raelene Davis, director of marketing for Ski Utah, jumped in. “My first thought was that it was going to be on the Kindle. I have read some of her choices, but I am more of a business book and biography reader.”
“I have never read an Oprah book,” Crystal Young-Otterstrom of the LDS Democrats stated. “I grew up so entrenched in high culture that when it comes to my literature and movies, now I like it really dumb.”
Laughter all around.
“I mean,” she continued, “I read adolescent sci-fi. I still read classics and philosophy, but right now I’m reading 'The Artemis Fowl Series.'”
Light bulb moment. We should have a “Woman’s View Book Club,” filled with recommendations on good reads from the women on the show. And me, of course, although my recommendations should be heavily discounted.
What is Davis’ recommendation? “Well, I’m reading John Maxwell’s books right now, but I want to recommend ‘Unbroken’ by Laura Hillenbrand. I love that book. It’s the story of Louis Zamperini, who was the most amazing man. The author also wrote ‘Seabiscuit.’ You have to read this book.”
OK. I’ll be downloading that straight away.
“I do a lot of research for my writing, so when I’m reading fiction I just want a fun ride,” Pratt offered. “Anything that is a fun ride. But if I’m reading non-fiction, I’m reading ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe.’ It’s about sacred geometry, how one came to be, how two came to be, that kind of thing.”
I paused. She laughed. I never knew one was in question.
I am always reading at least two books at once, one fiction and one non-fiction. Right now I am finishing “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, which I am finding to be a very informative book about why individuals and groups and companies do the things they do and how we might consider changing even deeply entrenched habits. My current novel is “The Red House” by Mark Haddon. I picked it up because I loved his first novel, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” See how I am? Once I start reading something from one author, I’m on for the ride.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, the books are calling.