The Literator


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

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.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

Sales Director, Media Sponsorship

£60000 - £65000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A globally successful media and ...

Head of Affiliate Sales for Emerging Markets

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you looking for your next role ...

Brand Engagement Manager - TV

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is your chance to join a gl...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits