Buzz, Balls, and Hype Faults Oprah

From BBH and MJ Rose:

I seem to be keeping score on Oprah: since Jan 2005, she's picked 8 books.
All of them have been by men.
If you go back, since 2003 she's picked 14 titles. 12 of them are by men.
For approximately 40* million reasons I find that amazing.
*49 million viewers watch the show every week and the majority are overwhelmingly female. More than 80% say some searches.


We hear you MJ, but why "amazing"? With "40* million reasons I find that amazing" you seem to be saying that a human being's gender should rightfully dictate their preference for male or female authors? Or are you claiming that women should not read novels written by men or simply that women don't read books written by men, or don't want to? Or are you claiming that Oprah is morally wrong to promote male authors to an audience of mostly females?


  1. Anonymous1:34 PM

    I don't think any of the things you suggest - I brought it up becuase I have been told statiscally that the percentage of her picks is not in line with the percentage of books published in terms of a m/f ratio and that this number makes it seem she is making an effort to pick men as opposed to women. I simply brougt it up to open it up for questions/comments.

  2. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Or is she just exaggerating to make a point? I can't believe she wants quotas.

  3. To MJ:

    Thanks for clarification, but why do you think the Oprah show has chosen a higher percentage of male writers then?

    I'm puzzled myself!


  4. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I don't know why it's happened... do you think its possible no one's noticed at Harpo? Or that she hasn't noticed?

    I really admire what she's done.I love she opened a girls only school in Africa.

    I just think its curious that 88% of all the books she's chosen are by men when her audience is 80% women and I wondered what everyone else thought.

  5. Yes, I agree, it is unusual ... It feels like the Oprah organization is searching for a certain type of novel and that the women's fiction culture in New York isn't delivering a product that meets their standards.

    What do you think of the Claire Messud novel, Emperor's Children?

    Have you read any of that?

  6. Anonymous5:04 AM

    Seems like MJ might like Messud ... even Jessa Crispin says she likes the prose.

    Saints preserve us.