Author to Oprah: Thanks, But No Thanks
You spend years writing a book and somebody else wants to put her name on it? What author wouldn't bristle? Jonathan Franzen did, and now he's having second thoughts, since the name was Oprah and her stamp of approval would have meant hundreds of thousands more copies sold. Oprah had announced Franzen's widely acclaimed family saga "The Corrections" as a book club selection on Sept. 24 and, according to tradition, was expecting to dine soon with the author and several viewers on her show. "I know it says Oprah's Book Club, but it's an implied endorsement, both for me and for her," Franzen told the Portland Oregonian. "The reason I got into this business is because I'm an independent writer, and I didn't want that corporate logo on my book." "Jonathan Franzen will not be on the Oprah Winfrey show because he is seemingly uncomfortable and conflicted about being chosen as a book club selection," Winfrey said. "It is never my intention to make anyone uncomfortable or cause anyone conflict. We have decided to skip the dinner and we're moving on to the next book." Franzen said the whole thing made him wonder about propriety. "I was never conflicted by any of this, although the printed logo on the dust jacket did make me uncomfortable," he said in a statement issued by his publisher. "I'm a writer, not a spokesperson . . . I'm sorry if, because of my inexperience, I expressed myself poorly or unwisely." Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Franzen's publisher, has printed over 500,000 copies of "The Corrections" and had agreed to release some books with the Oprah logo and some without. Franzen is now saying he's "delighted" by the selection and regrets he won't be breaking bread with the reigning monarch of daytime television. "One would have to be a better person than me not to be amused by this whole drama," Bill Thomas, editor in chief of Doubleday, told the New York Times.
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