What the Dickens is Oprah Doing?

Hillary Kelly of The New Republic Chimes In

 A Christmas Carol (Sterling Classics) The Complete Christmas Stories of Charles Dickens

I don't like Oprah's picks either.   I agree with Kelly that A Christmas Carol or an anthology of the complete Christmas Stories (it is the Christmas season right now, Oprah, in case you hadn't noticed) would have made way more sense for a "warm and cozy read by the fireplace".  And yeah, I hear Kelly's complaint loud and clear: Oprah implying that that's all Dickens is, right? -- "warm and cozy" reading, rather than the satirically skewering, one-time-reluctant-orphan-killing-author (O poor little Nell of The Old Curiosity Shop, how I still grieve for you!) and just all around radical-for-the-time, incisive social commentary Dickens' aficionados know and love dearly and that effected real change in Victorian England the way that Upton Sinclair's, The Jungle, effected real change in the Chicago meat packing industry across the pond shortly after Dickens' death; so, whatever, Oprah!  But Oprah, nevertheless (c'mon Hillary Kelly! lose the melodrama already would ya! -- unless you're attempting to go Dickens yourself with this piece) is not harming anyone's reading or hurting anything remotely literary or books-wise with her odd picks.  That, I simply can't agree with.

A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations: Two Novels (Oprah's Book Club) The Jungle (The Penguin American Library) The Old Curiosity Shop (Penguin Classics)

I do think it's rather lame of Oprah (not to mention pompously presumptuous, but she's Oprah, and yes, Oprah knows), to have recommended Dickens in the first place when she's never even bothered reading him -- can you believe that?! -- prior to her picks!  Huh?  WTF?  Doesn't a person usually wait on recommending books until they've actually read those books?  How does she know she'll even like them, let alone like enough to recommend them to her trillions of acolytes across the universe?

Is "Oprah knows" secret code for "Oprah's psychic"?  Secret code for she knows what she likes before she knows she likes it?


  1. Hillary Kelly needs to get an effing life. I mean, really.

    Not everybody reads at the same level, or in the same way. So what if the "cadres of women...flock to bookstores" for a reason that Hillary Kelly doesn't approve of? You know what? I frequently read for "self gratification" I mean, I like to read...doesn't Hillary Kelly? And if you like to do something, wouldn't doing that something be...gratifying?

    And so what if Oprah herself has never read the book? She's reading them now. She's an autodidact bent on bettering herself. Why shouldn't she help her viewers better themselves as well? How dare Hillary Kelly pigeonhole these people as sheep. "Our shepherd has spoken, and we must blindly follow," indeed.


    It is utterly astonishing to me that she should get so very worked up about this subject. Is it because she is assistant editor of THE BOOK, yet nobody reads her recommendations? Is it because she secretly wishes that "Hillary's Favorite Things" would ignite even a spark of interest, let alone a "consumer-fest?"

    Shame on Hillary Kelly, the smug, self-satisfied snob.

  2. Auto what? I had to look "autodidact" up! The word before it, in my Compact O.E.D. is "Auto-da-Fe," which sounds like something you'd maybe want to do to this Hillary Kelly person? -- you know her?! LOL. Never heard of her myself.

    Thank you for making my pre-daughter's-Xmas-dance-recital-evening with your passionate and fiery defense of Oprah, and for your lambasting of this (what sounds like on your good word) bee-yotch wannabe who's just jealous Oprah has an audience and poor little she don't!

  3. Yeah, I don't know anything about her. I just extrapolated from her pissy article and the blurb at the bottom that tagged her as "Assistant Editor of THE BOOK" (whatever that is).

    Hope the dance recital is fun. Love to Linda.



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