The 100th selection of Oprah’s Book Club is Ann Napolitano new book, “Hello Gorgeous.”
For years, Ann Napolitano struggled in silence. Her novels were not published, and agencies rejected her. She felt acknowledged by “Dear Edward.” Then came the call: “Hello Gorgeous” had been selected as the 100th book by possibly the most significant book club in the history of the planet.
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Perhaps it was fate, or perhaps it was the interference of a supreme being with a cruel sense of humour. In any case, Oprah Winfrey contacted Ann Napolitano while she was emptying the trash to inform her that her book, “Hello Gorgeous,” had been chosen as the 100th choice for what is possibly the most important book club in the entire world.
Ann Napolitano’s new book
Napolitano spent the entire 27-minute call clutching her garbage bag as she stayed motionless in the tiny vestibule of her Park Slope apartment building out of sheer fear of losing the connection.
For the avoidance of doubt, we’re referring to Oprah’s Book Club, the original book club that served as a launching pad to the best-seller list and a sourdough starter for hundreds of celebrity-sponsored and unsponsored iterations. True, Booktok is catching up to Winfrey, especially about young readers, but her endorsement is still priceless.
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Since “The Deep End of the Ocean” was chosen as Oprah’s Book Club’s first selection 26 years ago, the literary community has adapted to the internet, electronic readers, smartphones, and social media. Through it all, the club established itself as a force, enhancing the careers of Wally Lamb, Cheryl Strayed, Lalita Tademy, Uwen Akpam, Isabel Wilkerson, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, to name a few. Imprints also shuttered, publishing houses merged, and bookstores started selling coffee instead of CDs.
Its workings continue to be a mystery. To lower the possibility that shoppers will see the club’s distinctive stamp on a cover, boxes of anointed books are delivered to stores the day before a title is set to be released. Nondisclosure agreements are requested from authors, agencies, and publishers.
The Dial Press published Napolitano’s fourth book, “Hello Beautiful,” on Tuesday, and Winfrey revealed it as her 100th book club pick on “CBS Mornings.” The author can now tell her 13- and 15-year-old sons about her talk with Winfrey, nearly five months after she had it.
How, therefore, did “Hello Gorgeous” come to Winfrey’s attention? And how did Napolitano feel when he was chosen? The brief responses are clear-cut and easy to understand (Great book! She was ecstatic!), but the enlarged versions demonstrate the story’s ability to unite people of all backgrounds.
Winfrey spoke on the difficulty of choosing her 100th pick while seated in front of a lush Hawaii hillside that appeared to be a faux Zoom background but was undoubtedly real. She was considering its metaphorical meaning. She sought a book she could promote from an “authentically impassioned space” that would interest “every diverse part of the population.”
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