April 23, 2010 Somewhere in the back of the minds of most book lovers, there is probably a little corner labeled “Dream Jobs.” And among those jobs is the one that may not even really exist, but we like to think it exists, which is to sort through all of the books that come flooding daily into the offices of Harpo Enterprises. And, you know, take home the ones that look interesting. And read them. For Oprah.
However books get into her hands, once they do, Oprah has the ability to grant a writer the literary equivalent of a winning megabucks lottery ticket. And a handful of authors have now received the added compliment of making Oprah’s list of Top 10 books of the last decade. We won’t spoil the fun for you of clicking through the list for yourself on her website.
But we will editorialize briefly on one of the choices, because it’s near and dear to our hearts. Edward Jones’ The Known World should be required reading in high school classrooms these days. Jones’s mesmerizing, heartbreaking, beautifully written novel of Virginia before the Civil War is an American masterpiece. Go ahead and drop Ethan Frome or The Scarlet Letter from that mandatory reading list, and assign them a book that will send them looking for more books that are as good. Isn’t that the goal?