While at home sick last Monday I heard mention that Oprah's selection of "The Road" was considered a bit unusual. I only took notice because of it's theme - I'm a SF fan and especially like post-apocalypse survivalist novels (I was actually a volunteer with the NSW State Emergency Service as "Intelligence Officer" for the Sydney Northern Division for about ten years, having been interested in civil defense at the time).
I read the short extract available online and it piqued my interest enough to enquire about it at the local bookshop at lunchtime. It was in stock (actually on sale at $28, reduced from $32 - still too expensive for my taste, especially as it is quite a thin novel), so I read a bit of it "browsing" in the bookshop. I got up to page 122 during lunchtime, so I went back after work to finish it off. I found it very moving, but depressing. While reading it I thought of my family and how it is possible in disasters for all the love in world to be insufficient to protect you're loved ones - even if you die trying. [Warning: spoiler coming...] Fortunately the novel has a relatively happy ending, but the way the story unfolded a tragic ending would have been much more likely in "reality". It made my feel a bit better, but in my view the ending was a bit too 'Hollywood' for it to be deemed a truly great novel.
ps. I DO actually buy quite a few books (mainly investment ones) from this bookseller, so I didn't feel too bad about not buying the novel today. As for the author -there was no significant loss of royalty payment; If I hadn't been able to read it for free today, I'd have just waited 'til it was available from the local library.
pps. I thought about including an amazon.com affiliate link to the novel in this post but that would have been TOO weird - posting about how to read the novel for $0, and at the same time trying the earn a commission out of one of my readers paying for the novel!