BOOKS: OPRAH WINFREY'S WINNERS

OPRAH RECOMMENDS A BOOK ON TV AND--BINGO!--HER VIEWERS TURN IT INTO AN INSTANT BEST SELLER

After a typically hectic working day in September, Jacquelyn Mitchard returned from her journalism job to her Madison, Wisconsin, house and found a phone message from Oprah Winfrey. Mitchard, a recently widowed mother of five, ages 1 to 21, did what any sensible person would do: she erased the obvious prank. "I have a friend who calls and says he's Richard Nixon," she explains. Two days later came another taped call from Oprah, followed by another erasure. Then a third, a day or so later, with the sign-off "This really is Oprah Winfrey."

Boy, was it ever. When Mitchard finally returned...

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