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You have GOT to be kidding me

So Oprah has picked the new book for her book club, and it's a doozy: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhard Tolle is the new choice. Yes! A self help book! To hell with all the fine fiction Oprah and important non-fiction out there. Let's gaze at our navels some more! Heaven knows we don't do enough of THAT.

Now I hesitate to be too hard on Oprah; she's done a lot for reading in this country, which as we all know is filled with idiots who think American Gladiators is a legitimate form of entertainment. Oprah has made some questionable choices - James Frey comes leaping to mind - but she's introduced legions of readers to all sorts of interesting writers (Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates), even (maybe) tricked some into reading classics like East of Eden. Her last choice was Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth, which is a great tale of medieval England and the building of cathedrals.

But...self help? Bleah. I don't need to awaken to my life's purpose. Come on, Oprah. Champion books that really matter.


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howard cohen

Oprah sure has done a lot for reading in this country. I speak from personal experience. Whenever that self-obsessed, obnoxious woman's insufferable TV chat show comes on I race to hit the off button and go grab a book instead!


Oprah should stay out of the self help business. In two words: Dr. Phil. 'nuff said.

Brett Bayne

I've just been awakened to my life's new purpose: avoiding anything and everything having to do with Oprah Winfrey.


An AP story on this subject reports that Oprah was a big supporter of that ridiculous book "The Secret"...which is even more disappointing. The Secret turned out to be that people are so profoundly unhappy but lazy and unwilling to improve their lives that they'll part with $24 for suggestions that they're too dull-witted to follow anyway.

Brett Bayne

I saw that book "The Secret" in the bookstore, and I was disappointed that it had all this information in it. That's not really the definition of a secret, is it?!


Somehow I am sure it did not hold actual information...

just sayin

geez you guys are a harsh bunch. as someone who is not really a navel gazer or especially sniveling, or touchy feely, i do have to admit i once read THE WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR and the CELESTINE PROPHECY. it was a moment in time. and proof the bad book choices do happen to good people.

i soon enough discovered prozac and ive never read another self-help book.

but be kind to the seeking and confused.


You know, I might let the Celestine Prophecy go, because lots of people (not me) read that, but...The Way of the Peaceful Warrior? They made a movie out of that, and I had to review it. I still have nightmares, sometimes.


I think Oprah has admirably tried to get people reading, and most of her choices have been acceptable (I'm not down with Frey either though). When I worked at amazon.com we used to have pallets of her books in unmarked boxes, waiting for their unveiling on TV. Then we'd ship them out like crazy. I figure lots of those customers weren't avid readers, so give her credit.

But this new choice is truly one of "those" self-help books, isn't it? Enough people are going to read them without her help, why in the world couldn't she come up with something better??

A friend from Connecticut gave me "Celestine Prophecy" so I was obligated to read it. The writing was terrible but it was somewhat entertaining and I could see why some people (like my mother) loved it.


I remember seeing Chris Bojhalian, whose name I just butchered, at the book fair one yeat talking about how having his book named an Oprah book is a life-transforming experience for an unknown writer. I wish Oprah were doing more of that, introducing readers to writers we might not know about, rather than touting self-help books that anyone could find easily enough just by searching for their particular psychological malady.

Also, if any of you give me The Celestine Prophecy for a gift, know now I am NOT going to read it.

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