Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Suckered by The Strand

I recently went to The Strand book store to spend a gift certificate I got for Christmas. The Strand is one of New York’s finest book stores, really a rare store filled with all kinds of book at discounted prices. I spent hours there many weekends when I first moved back to New York. I don’t make it there as often now, but I always ask for a Strand gift card for Christmas and often get one.

On my most recent visit I noticed a novel for sale on one of the many tables dedicated to discounted fiction. The novel is “Daughter of Fortune” by Isabel Allende. Reading its back cover, I found it interesting. The novel is about an orphan who goes to California during the Gold Rush of 1849. It promises intrigue, violence, and history of the old American West. The price was right too and I added it to my purchases.

When I got home and began putting away my books, I removed the Strand’s price tag on the Allende novel only to find that the price tag had been strategically placed to cover up an “Oprah’s Book Club” symbol!

I’ve been Oprah-ed by one of my favorite book stores!

Oprah Winfrey is TV’s most successful phony. She’s exploited the tragedies and private grief of myriad citizens while claiming to help them. There is not a sincere bone in her corpulent body. To read a book soiled with her logo is to join the sad herd of stultified hausfraus who hang on her every scripted, insipid word.

The Strand knows that its clientele are more intelligent than to count themselves among Oprah Winfrey’s legions of slack-jawed buffoons. I am confident that they knew the Oprah label would repel more of its customers than it would attract, and so they cunningly placed their price tag to completely conceal this mark of the TV beast.

I will still read Isabel Allende’s novel. But if I am to read this book in public, I must somehow obscure the Oprah label. Perhaps I should create a sticker of my own that will reclaim good books from the cultural slag heap that is Oprah’s book club. “Scumbag Book Club – Polite New Yorker Approved,” may soon grace the covers of our finest books.

1 comment:

OfTroy said...

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Some of the books in Oprah's "book club" are like the stopped clock--good. (just skip over the leading questions for discussion)