Cover ImageEveryone knows how I feel about Oprah books.  And while I’d love to give myself the luxury of scrambling up on the soapbox and tearing down the woman for her choice of reading, I will at this moment gracefully decline to do so. 

Do not, fair readers, fear that I have gone soft or that I have gained a holiday spirit during this festive time of year.  No, I will refrain from an all out attack per se, but only because I have a very specific beef with Ms. Winfrey. 

I first read Pillars of The Earth when I was about 14 or 15.  I kept that battered mass paperback copy through college, many moves and life upheavals.  I didn’t think about it until recently, when I heard that Mr. Follett wrote a sequel to it called World Without End  (which I quickly bought) and I thought perhaps it warranted a re-read, particularly considering the roughly 15 years since I had last read it.  I went in search of my dog eared mass paperback and alas I could not find it.  I think it was collateral damage from our last and greatest move.

So I went out to buy another mass paperback, thinking I could easily afford to buy the book (though I’d already owned it for more than a decade).  That is when I found out that Oprah, clearly in cahoots with Mr. Follett in regards to sequels and release dates, had chosen it as her latest book.  Which means there were no mass paperbacks to be found, only gaudy, condescending, $25 Oprah versions.  I’m sorry, I’m supposed to buy a book that I’ve already read and owned for that much money??? I think not. 

After some searching I did eventually find the $8 mass paperback, hidden among the shelves.  I went to the register to buy it.  The sales clerk, a young man about my age, says “You know this book came out a while ago. . .”

Squelching a very strong urge to eye roll, I replied “Yes, I read it about 15 years ago.  I lost my old copy.”

“Oh,” he says, inching his way toward a stack of books on the counter. “Did you know. . .”

That’s as far as he got.  Before he even had a hand on the Oprah version, I stared him down, daring him to continue his sales pitch.  “I’m not paying $25 for a book I already read.”

Instead of defiance, I read in his face, very clearly, relief.   He’s on my side – not an Oprah fan.  “Yes, he says” with a small smile “That makes a lot of sense.”

Yes, it does.  Especially because the mass paperback is small enough to hide from fellow commuters. 

I certainly don’t want them thinking I’m reading an Oprah book.