Oprah's got her tantalizing reading list after the headline, "What to Read Next: Our 26 Favorite Books of the Summer." But before she jumps into her great reveal, I'm treated to "O's Declaration of Reader Independence," which is I guess her list of rules that I need to know before I commence tackling the rest.
She wants me to know that while there are thousands of books "landing in bookstores every year, it's all too easy to go with the flow and let group-think choose what you'll read and treasure next."
But then she completely confuses me and says that reading is very personal and you should "declare your independence from common wisdom, lore, and the opinions of others."
Well, for Dicken's sake, Oprah, make up your frickin' mind. Do you want me to read these favorite books or not? Whose opinion, exactly, should I ignore? My sister's? Yours? Maybe Kathy Griffin's opinion? What kind of lunatic suggests 26 books with a preface that you shouldn't listen to anyone else's opinion? Have you been talking to my mother?
I need more coffee to unravel this Gordian Knot, so while I'm waiting for it to finish brewing, I take a look at the 10 rights she has alloted to me as a reader.
#4: "Reread a childhood favorite. But be forewarned: Charlotte still dies." When am I supposed to find time to squeeze in "Harriet the Spy?" After the 26 books you want me to read or before (or do you want me to even read them)? And Charlotte still dies? Is it too much to ask for a spoiler alert?
#6: "Wish that Cormac McCarthy would use a little punctuation now and then." Okay; this is uncanny. Just last night when I was watching "Top Chef" (and Padma, you're looking so much better as new Padmom than you ever did as a stick-thin foodie) I pulled out "Dana's List of Wishes," and I swear this is true. Right after #43 (wishing Denzel Washington would get that restraining order against me lifted), #44 is all about Cormac's blatant disregard for commas! Oprah, I am feeling much more of a connection with you than I ever thought possible!
#8: "Ignore memoirs by people who have barely cracked their 30s." Oprah, let go of James Frey already, will you? Learn to forgive.
My favorite self-evident right (but on the other hand, if it's self-evident, Oprah, why are you telling me...your contradictions are completely confusing me) is #10: "Believe that books can be magic carpets to enchanted lands, even while realizing they're inanimate objects made of ink and paper."
See, this is exactly the nebulous airy-fairy meaningless advice that I expect from you and I'm psyched that you haven't disappointed me.
But still, I'm a little disappointed. And confused.