Oprah Winfrey announced Wednesday that she's resurrecting her book club after killing it 10 months ago, but with a slight twist. Here's a tip for authors who want the talk show queen to tout their books from now on: It helps to be dead and on the high school syllabus. She's thinking of calling the new set-up ''Traveling With the Classics,'' and she says it was inspired by the authors on her current personal reading list, guys like Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Faulkner, and Hemingway.
Fittingly, Winfrey announced the new venture at the Association of American Publishers' annual meeting in Washington, D.C., where she was honored with a lifetime achievement award for the previous club, which shot all 48 of the contemporary American novels she recommended onto the bestseller list. After five and a half years, Oprah suddenly pulled the plug on the book club last April, saying, ''It has become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share.'' Now she's found a few such books, but she won't be sharing them monthly -- more like three to five times a year, she said. And instead of inviting the authors onto her show to discuss the books (impossible for the classic authors she's mentioned, unless she also invites John Edward on to channel them), she'll visit settings associated with the books. No word yet on what her first pick will be or when, but no doubt a lot of authors will be dying for a plug.