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 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.