The Literator

INSIDE PUBLISHING

IN a recent speech, Lisa Jardine, professor and all-purpose talking head, noted that Oprah Winfrey's Book Club, launched on her US networked television show last autumn, is turning Americans on to all manner of books they would never otherwise have considered reading. Some 915,000 copies of Jacquelyn Mitchard's debut novel, The Deep End of the Ocean have been bought, in hardback, since the chat show queen featured it on her show, the launch title for her Club. Less than a month after it was released, the paperback edition has sold 1.7 million copies (the UK paperback is due in August).

Since Mitchard had no track record, readers - or viewers - would come to her with no preconceptions. Not so with the likes of Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, well-established "literary" names and, therefore, perceived as "difficult". But because Oprah has now recommended them, they have had the courage to venture into new territory and have been rewarded.

The success of the Club has led the Starbucks coffee-shop chain to sell Oprah's book choice in all but the smallest of its America-wide outlets. The books will not be discounted and profits will go to charity, part of an agreement reached recently with Winfrey.

Clearly, both the Book Club itself and the Starbucks alliance will help expand the market for books, reaching people who might be too intimidated to venture into a bookshop. So wouldn't it be nice if a celebrity chat- show host could launch a similar initiative in Britain and have us all tripping in to Pret-a-Manger for a coffee and egg mayonnaise to go plus the new E Annie Proulx?

NICHOLAS EVANS, the man who set a new record with advances for his first novel, The Horse Whisperer, has proved his worth. His British publishers, Transworld, have just presented him with an award to mark sales of one million copies. It is the first time since 1985 and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole that a first novel has sold a million - and that's just in the UK. Worldwide sales top seven million and that's before the release of the film, on which Robert Redford is currently at work.

ART LOVERS - fancy having an entire reference library at your fingertips? Well, for a mere pounds 4,900 you can. Order the 34-volume Macmillan Dictionary of Art before the end of July and you can save pounds 850 on the set, which normally retails at pounds 5,750. Years in the making - the project was launched by the late Harold Macmillan- the Dictionary contains more than 20,000 biographical entries, 41,000 alphabetically arranged articles and 15,000 illustrations and covers every form of visual art, from the Stone Age to the latest multimedia installation, from AAA (Allied Artists' Association) to Zygouries (a Bronze Age site in Greece). A steal - and such a wonderful talking point on your bookshelf, which is presumably why Jeffrey Archer owns one. Seriously, more information is available on www.groveartmusic.com

I WROTE last week about Michael Walsh's sequel to Casablanca. Now comes news of Dorian, the sequel to Oscar Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. In it, "Gray meets Oscar Wilde while living in Paris with Lord Henry Wotton after Wilde's release from prison in 1897. Gray emerges as a master of the occult arts. He finally leaves France for Venice after the dark secrets of his life are discovered by the androgynous Nadja." The author is Jeremy Reed, whose published oeuvre includes Lipstick, Sex and Poetry: An Autobiographical Exploration of Poetry of Sexuality, and Delirium: An Interpretation of Arthur Rimbaud, and his latest opus comes with an endorsement from JG Ballard. Dorian, he enthuses, is "a luscious greenhouse filled with the exotic flora of our most original poet."

AND another update: travellers on the London Underground will soon be able to practise their French as they remain stuck in a tunnel on the Central Line or wherever. For Poems on the Underground, in acknowledgement of our renewed desire to be at the heart of Europe, is to feature poems in parallel French and English texts. The first set, chosen by Judith Chernaik, Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert, feature "Rondel" by Charles d'Orlean, "Le Faune" by Verlaine, lines from Pope's "Essay on Man", John Masefield's "Cargoes", Peter Porter's "Waiting for the rain in Devon" and "Wedding" by Alice Oswald. They, too, will be available on the Internet, providing "a sea of poetic calm for frantic surfers all over the world". Which is more than can be said for London Underground.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

Guru Careers: Creative Designer / Graphic Designer

Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Creative Designer / Graphic Design...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - ECommerce

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers' in retail...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?