Oprah Winfrey braved a Washington, D.C., snowstorm last Wednesday to deliver some good news to a publishing industry in need of some cheering up.
While Winfrey did not announce plans to resume her television book club in its old format, she did say that she plans to start a new club devoted to the classics. "I'm back in the business of recommending books... but with a difference," Winfrey said.
With the tentative title of Traveling with the Classics, Winfrey said that she will make selections three to five times per year. The show will travel to the setting of each book, and Winfrey added that she could pick several books from the same author at one time.
No start date was given for the new club, but an announcement is expected to be made in an upcoming episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show this season, which wraps up in June. "I cannot imagine a world where the great works of literature are not read," Winfrey said.
In her speech to publishing's leaders gathered for the Association of American Publishers' annual meeting, Winfrey again stressed the importance of books and reading in her life. She said that since suspending her club last spring she has missed the books, though not the pressure of coming up with a new selection each month. Winfrey was at the annual meeting to receive the AAP Honors Award.
Reaction from the industry was swift. Publishers began counting the classics on their backlist, while others hoped Winfrey meant modern classics and not just those in the public domain. Booksellers and distributors were hopeful that Winfrey's project would stimulate new interest in books and reading.