One of the fastest-growing book genres is the "gimmick memoir," roughly defined as a personal account of experimentation (think A.J. Jacobs or Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed). A writer will set up guidelines and attempt to closely follow them, whether it's an attempt to cook every recipe in Julia Child's French cookbook or reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z, and then chronicle the experience.
Right after the holidays, we'll be treated to Living Oprah, Robyn Okrant's account of trying to follow every single piece of advice dispersed by the Queen of Daytime TV via her show, website, and magazine. Is it possible -- financially, timewise, and emotionally -- to adhere to all of the suggestions, advice, invitations, and challenges? The author meditates, cooks, gets rolfed, takes vitamins and supplements, "savors every meal," reads books and watches movies as directed, even attends a taping of Oprah's show, ultimately spending almost $5,000 and over 1300 hours trying to keep up.
Is it all worthwhile? Yes, Okrant concludes, but maybe not in the way we would think. This is a great way to kick off a New Year, so put it on your reading list for 2010 and start January with a journey of self-discovery, Oprah-style!