Reese Witherspoon and the boom in celebrity book clubs

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Reese Witherspoon and the boom in celebrity book clubs

Dec 12 2022

Writing in the Guardian, Elle Hunt explores the phenomena of celebrity book clubs:

... Each celebrity’s involvement varies massively, from merely posting a picture of the cover on their Instagram Stories, to interrogating authors about their intent, live before their millions of followers. Likewise, the expectation of “members” can be as minimal as following the discussion without having to read so much as the blurb. And yet, for all their informal organisation, these virtual reading groups led by a famous figurehead have emerged as a driving force within the publishing industry, and a factor in many of its biggest recent successes...

In the social media age, Witherspoon has actually overtaken Winfrey as publishing’s starriest powerbroker, having turned good taste in books into one arm of a media empire. Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild, Ng’s earlier novel Little Fires Everywhere and Where the Crawdads Sing were all Reese picks before being subsequently adapted by the actor for the screen. Daisy Jones & the Six is in production for Amazon Prime. For Witherspoon, the value is obvious. She was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Strayed in 2014’s Wild, providing the seed for her Hello Sunshine production company. This August, she sold it for a reported $1bn...

Regardless of which famous figure they align around, says Gaby Wood, director of the Booker Prize Foundation, all books clubs support the formation of community. “If people are more likely to read a book because someone they recognise recommends it, that’s to everyone’s benefit. That individual will then find something for themselves in the book way beyond the original recommendation.”

Source: The Guardian

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