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The power of Oprah

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By Special to the Monitor

Having Oprah Winfrey be associated with a book can definitely push it into the spotlight.

Bret Lott, the bestselling author of “Jewel” and “The Difference between Women and Men” and the editor of “The Southern Review,” can attest to Winfrey’s literary power.

Lott’s fourth novel, “Jewel,” had been out of print by the time Winfrey came across it in 1991. The following year, a friend of Lott’s called to ask him whether he had seen the latest issue of “Redbook.” Inside was a two-page, photo spread of Winfrey standing in front of a bookcase containing several books. One of the books was “Jewel.”

Seven years later, in January 1999, Winfrey called Lott to tell him she would like to feature his book in her book club. The day she called, his book was ranked number 1,069,713 in sales at Amazon.com. By that evening, it was number 1.

“It was a weird thing. It was the exact same book,” Lott said. “My publisher called and said, ‘You don’t understand, you’ve written a classic.’


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