By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 30, 2001 10:10 AM

Oprah Winfrey has made her first book club pick since her ill-fated selection of Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections.” According to two East Coast bookstores, the choice is “A Fine Balance,” an award-winning novel by Rohinton Mistry. Winfrey was to announce her choice on Friday’s show, for which the theme is “Oprah’s Best Surprises.” But by Thursday, at least two retailers already had copies of “A Fine Balance,” with Oprah’s book club logo, in their stores. The retailers asked not to be identified, noted the Associated Press. Rohinton, who lives in Toronto, could not be reached for comment by press time. Since making her first pick five years ago, Winfrey has been on a crusade to get more people to read and talk about books. But September’s announcement of “The Corrections” led to some very unexpected attention. Confessing that he was “conflicted” about being selected, Franzen complained in interviews about having the book club logo on his novel and worried about his place in the “high-art literary tradition.” Winfrey responded by canceling the dinner she traditionally throws for her chosen author. Nevertheless, shortly thereafter, Franzen won the National Book Award for fiction.