Jonathan Franzen / Photo for Star Tribune by Jakub Mosur On Wednesday, veteran books blogger Dennis Johnson said that "reliable sources tell me Oprah has selected Jonathan Franzen's newest book, "Freedom," for her revived book club." In an interview on August 19, I asked Franzen if he thought Oprah would want to bless his new book. "I would be happy if she did," said Franzen. When Oprah selected Franzen's novel "The Corrections" for her book club in 2001, Franzen famously balked, going public with misgivings about what the Oprah stamp of approval might mean for his book. The book did get a sales boost after being chosen, but Franzen's invitation to appear on the popular daytime TV show was withdrawn."The Corrections" later won a National Book Award and has sold nearly 3 million copies.
While acknowledging that he and Oprah had not had a rapprochement since the incident nine years ago, Franzen had this reflection on the old controversy: "I think that she and I could see more clearly than most any commentator in the land that we were in fact not very far apart. I made the mistake of trying to say complicated things when I should have been saying simple things in the runup to my appearance on the show. I think she may have overreacted a little bit, but understandably. But I don't think she mistook me for an elitist, and I didn't mistake her for an elitist-basher. Those were categories that were supplied by the commentators, who had their own agendas.That was a source of grief to me. I'm not sure if it was to her. But her statements at the time were about not wanting to make me uncomfortable, and there certainly was no question that I had sounded very uncomfortable in interviews." Franzen will appear at a Talking Volumes event at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul Sept. 21. His talk will be streamed live on video at