If Oprah wants to go into politics it would seem she has some of the necessary qualifications. The willingness to recommend something even if she, personally, hasn't read it!
Just like in Washington where staffers read pending legislation and give their bosses a synopsis thus suggesting how they should vote. If it turns out to be a bad piece of legislation the caveat seems to be "I voted for it based on the information available (from members of my staff who read it.) If they did. Or did they merely skim it and pass on a less then accurate summation?
A mere two years ago Oprah was embarrassed and angry when she found a book she had strongly recommended turned out to be fiction rather than non-fiction. Remember Jame Frey and A Million Little Pieces ? The story about a young man's decent into and ascent from the world of drug and alcohol addiction. It was replete with bone chilling detail and characters that should have made one suspect. Why the author didn't present it as a brilliant piece of fiction is still a puzzle.
Next there was Love and Consequences a piece of fiction represented as a memoir that wasn't even written by the same person!
Now there is one of the greatest love stories the book club has ever come across. Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love that Survived. This one is such a pat man-meets-girl-man-loses-girl-man-gets-girl, it's a wonder that even with the briefest of skimming one might be suspicious! A man in a concentration camp meets a young girl on the other side of the fence who gives him apples to sustain him until he is moved out. Years later, after a blind date, they discover their past connection while reminiscing. It's a wonderful, heart warming story. The problem is it's not true!
My, oh my. It reminds me of the old saying, "Please Mother, I'd rather do it myself!" It also reminds me of the recent turmoil we had here regarding whether certain major pieces of writing should be on school's required reading lists. I've yet to learn if those opposed had actually read the books to which they objected.
I would guess Oprah has little time to delve deeply into the books she recommends. As with the politicians and their legislation, she depends a great deal on staff. If it were me, however, putting my name on a recommendation that could boost an author onto the best seller lists, I'd want to make darn sure it was warranted.
Having made my living in public relations for a good many years, I know a bit about "spin" and embellishment. So this an across the board recommendation to a person who's name is considered trustworthy, if they want it to remain so, and the staff that serves them, read the book - and if anything looks to be a little much, check it out. If you don't have the time, don't make the recommendation.
The same goes to the politicians. The least you can do for us is read what you're going to vote on or make darn sure your staff does!
As for the authors; what the heck is wrong with good fiction anyway? A good read is a good read!