2.29.2008

The New "Messiah"...

Working in a bookstore is an interesting experience. It allows you to make some observations about society based on the people that come in, and what they buy. One thing that has surfaced is my extreme dislike for Oprah. I never liked her to begin with--I can't say she doesn't do a lot of charity work, but at the same time, she is also prejudiced. I don't agree with a lot of her views, but the thing that bothers me the most is the way that people almost worship her! Oprah says "Jump", and women all over North America squeal, "How high?!" Any author that Oprah features on her show, or through her book club, celebrates instant celebrity, and we can't keep their books in stock. People don't seem to care at all what the content is...they just gobble it up because Oprah says...

Oprah was raving about James Frey's "biography"...until it was revealed that he "embellished"key aspects of it, then she was forced to issue a statement about it, yet people still come in searching for it.

A while ago, a customer came in and told me, "I just read one of the books from Oprah's club, and it was so amazing...I was just wondering when the author is going to put out a new novel?" I asked her what book it was, and she told me that it was Anna Karenina. It was all I could do to keep a straight face as I explained that, since Leo Tolstoy had died in 1910, it would be unlikely that he would be publishing anything new, then directed her towards War And Peace, but explained it was a lot more complex than Anna.

Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious was flying off the shelves at Christmas because she was on Oprah, but the idea that hiding veggies from kids when they should be cultivating tastes for new things is a controversial idea, and not necessarily a good one.

Selection #61 on the book club list is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, which is a self-help book. We can't keep it in stock. The thing that bothers me is that people are buying two or three copies of this book, without even knowing what it's about! The author bio on the back describes him as a "contemporary spiritual leader", traveling the world, spreading his message. One woman actually asked one of my co-workers where she could find Oprah's new book. He responded with, "The Eckhart Tolle one?" and she said, "No, the one that Oprah just put out--A New Earth." So he explained that it was not WRITTEN by Oprah, but rather, just selected by her. The woman didn't understand...
It's getting to the point where I just don't want to even SEE another copy of this book.

Now don't get me wrong...I really enjoy my job. I love books. I just wish that people would pick out their own books, not what a TV personality tells them to read. I totally get that Oprah is getting people to read when they wouldn't normally choose to do so, and that she is supporting the book industry...but SERIOUSLY!

Okay...That's my rant. I'm putting the soap box away....I feel better now...

2 comments:

taxitalk said...

my mom bought me the james frey book, I was a prescription drug addict before I was a cabbie, (too much , sorry) the book was shitty, but then my blog has it's crappy moments, yeah Oprah can suck a d%4k for all I care, and she does nothing good for society except...... .......... I don't really know, nice to read that your back, not many people in edmonton blog, so it's nice having someone from around here to read my mmmm whatever it is I write about

Homie Bear said...

You work at a bookstore now? Which one? Can you get us discounts? You my new best friend!
I personally like oprah a lot- though she has a terrible habit of interrupting her guests. Other than that though, how can getting millions of people reading books be a bad thing? I am happy if I can get one person to read a book I recommend.