Bookworms enjoy ‘Oprah’Although reading “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen didn’t bring the Bookworms fame and fortune, it did bring the next best thing — the opportunity to be in the “Oprah Winfrey Show” audience.
By: By Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Although reading “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen didn’t bring the Bookworms fame and fortune, it did bring the next best thing — the opportunity to be in the “Oprah Winfrey Show” audience.
And ever since, the book club members have felt a little bit like celebrities themselves.
Bookworm Shelly Jystad said the 10 women “had a wonderful time” in Chicago and as part of the show’s audience.
Jystad was the instigator in getting tickets to the show, by commenting on the Oprah website that the book club would love to be in the audience when Franzen was interviewed. She got 10 free tickets and the women started planning and packing. They took off for Chicago the day before for the taping Nov. 19.
Before they left, they were interviewed by The Sun and KVLY. After they returned Jystad said she got a call from a CNN reporter doing a segment on the last season of the “Oprah Winfrey Show.” Jystad was interviewed as spokeswoman for the Bookworms.
And the women felt a bit like celebrities even as members of the audience. There were 350 people in the horseshoe-shaped studio, Jystad said, which contributed to the feeling of being part of the show. And the audience was encouraged to participate. Then there was the hostess herself.
“Oprah was so gracious to all of us and to her guests,” she said. “And the author was kind of a delight — far from reticent and very warm.”
The members of the audience also received gifts — brand new Kindles, for reading eBooks, and $100 gift certificates to Amazon.com. to download books.
The group arrived at the studio at 6:30 a.m. for the taping, Jystad said.
“We were within the first 50 people,” she said. “But we didn’t make it through the line until 8:30-9 o’clock.”
Despite the slowness of getting to their seats, the audience-to-be felt welcome, she said. There are a lot of senior citizens working there part time to get the audience through the security procedures and seated. Jystad said they all seemed to really enjoy their jobs. One senior told Jystad he worked three days a week and wished he could work eight.
“Everyone is so excited to be there,” she said. “And everything went very smoothly.”
People were also encouraged to write down questions for Winfrey or any of her guests.
Jystad said they all felt appreciated just for being in the audience.
The next day the group of women went back to the studio with their cameras, which weren’t allowed in during the taping. They also stopped in the Oprah Store to pick up some mementos. Proceeds from the store go to the Angel Network Foundation and other philanthropy organizations.
Jystad said they took in the “Lion King” performance, a walk downtown and a cruise on the lake.
“And we had a lot of good food,” she said.
In fact, everything went well until it was time to leave Chicago. The plane had mechanical problems so when they finally left they were too late for their flight out of Minneapolis. Eventually, six of the group got on a flight to Fargo and four had to find another flight headed west. Then the weather in Jamestown and Fargo interfered with those flights. But finally, Jystad said, they all made it home safely. She was just thankful their problems waited until they were coming home.
And they’re all ready to go back and do it all again, she said, this time without the travel difficulties.
“It was wonderful,” Jystad said.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org