September 17, 2007

Oh My, Oprah

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It all began with Anna Karenina, that wily Russian.


When Oprah announced that the Summer 2004 Oprah Book Club selection was Tolstoy's classic novel, I pulled out my copy and joined in. I had read it years before, but enjoyed it so much I felt it was time for a re-read. A first for me, however, was the Oprah Book Club discussion group. While posting my thoughts on the book, I met other people (mostly women) who loved classic literature as much as I did, and others who wanted to get acquainted with it. Before long, we were a gang: The Classic Club Group.


Oprah's message boards were the preferred meeting place. She provided us with a private place to express our thoughts, without judgement, on some of the most loved, hated, criticized, banned, complicated literature written in English (including translations of The Bridge On the Drina and The Bridal Wreath).


We were regular visitors to the Oprah boards, a classic every month. Other groups came and went, but our group (and ones like The Australian Book Club) stood the test of time. Then, recently, Oprah changed the message board format. We've been waiting patiently for the the kinks to be worked out. For now, no private groups. But then a message from above (well, the Harpo Webmaster) came: our previous discussions cannot be transferred to the new format.


So, just like that all those years of book discussions Gone With the Wind. It's not An American Tradegy. Who really would miss our thoughts on The Count of Monte Cristo or Moll Flanders? Maybe we had Great Expectations from Oprah. We were a devoted little group. A group of Little Women. We have no power. It's not like I'm The Mayor of Casterbridge or something. We can't wage War. And Peace is our Persuasion. We must say A Farewell to Arms. Afterall, Oprah has committed no Crime and Punishment is out of our reach. Oprah's show reaches so many, is enjoyed like the songs of a mockingbird, and it's a sin To Kill a Mockingbird. So, although it often seems that Oprah lives in A House of Mirth, all we can do is cry on the shoulders of our Sons and Lovers and move on.

So, bye-bye The Picture of Dorian Gray, au revoir Madame Bovary, see you later Silas Marner and don't let the door hit you in the ass The Wings of a Dove.


OK, that was a tad melodramatic but I wanted to get in as many of our discussed books in there as possible. I've had issues with Oprah and her club before: the lack of actual book discussion on the show and that James Frey fiasco. So, this is the nail in the coffin. I don't know if I can recover, but I will go wherever the group decides.

9 comments :

  1. haha, cute. I somehow wonder how much of the problem is her and how much of it is just people that work for her. I just can't think she has any interest in site transfers.

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  2. I'm sure she has 0% to do with it. But she's the face behind it all so I have to growl about her!

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  3. I've taken this opportunity to remove some groups. I constantly add more and more groups and spend more and more time online that I was going to have to do this anyway.

    I have met some fantastic people at Oprah's site, but now there is a group of us meeting together where there is much less rigidity, less rules and it feels right.

    I am sad to say goodbye, and may possibly read along with her selections still, but for the time being, it's au revoir from me!

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  4. Marg- I didn't agree with some of the board rules (no links?) either and it is often difficult to navigate.

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  5. I'm just glad we have the Yahoo site too. Can you imagine the amount of damage this would do without it? I appreciate what Oprah has done, but I don't think she really gets it.

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  6. Ok...maybe a TAD melodramic...but very good!! It would feel extremely weird to go somewhere else....BUT not a bad thing. The only problem I really see is getting NEW members!!

    Oh well...Oprah's book Club keeps changing. I honestly think it will probably be going under again soon.

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  7. Great rant, Chris. I haven't been to the Oprah boards in a long time (even though I always read what she picks), I've never felt at home there. I'm glad now, or else I'd be disappointed too.

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  8. Nicely written! And that's too bad all your posts were lost, it's probably like losing a photo album. Not that you look at them all the time, but to know you could, if you wanted to.

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  9. That would anger me as well, sorry that happened. I've never paid attention to her club, and your story hits the nail on the head with potential internet meeting woes. That really sucks.

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