Oprah's Book Club

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In 1996 Oprah Winfrey introduced a new book club segment to her popular talk show. The conceit of the segment was to publicise a novel that Oprah enjoyed and encourage people to read more. At the end of the month, when the participating audience had read the book, Oprah invited the author to discuss the novel with a few of the book club members. Oprah's Book Club was to have phenomenal repercussions for the publishing industry with an Oprah endorsement guaranteeing success for the chosen book. The first selection was Jacquelyn Mitchard's Deep End of the Ocean, which went on to become an international bestseller and was consequently made into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

However, the most important aspect of the club is that it encourages people to read books they would not ordinarily have considered without the Oprah seal of approval (literally! Reprints often carried the club's seal on the cover). From the controversial (e.g. James Frey's supposed memoir A Million Little Pieces), to the loved (e.g. Billie Letts's Where the Heart Is), and even extending to children's books (e.g. Bill Cosby's The Meanest Thing to Say) Oprah's choices have been varied and, in turn, have inspired varied reactions from their readers and will no doubt continue to do so until its end.

If you're looking for Oprah books eBay is a great place to start as both old and newer selections can usually be found here or on the US eBay site. A comprehensive list of Oprah's Book Club selections is provided below in order of appearance:

Jacquelyn Mitchard's Deep End of the Ocean
Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon
Jane Hamilton's The Book of Ruth
Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone
Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River
Sheri Reynold's The Rapture of Canaan
Maya Angelou's The Heart of a Woman
Mary McGarry Morris's Songs in Ordinary Time
Bill Cosby's The Meanest Thing to Say
Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying
Kaye Gibbons's A Virtuous Woman and Ellen Foster
Bill Cosby's The Treasure Hunt and The Best Way to Play
Toni Morrison's Paradise
Alice Hoffman's Here on Earth
Anna Quindlen's Black and Blue
Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory
Pearl Cleage's What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day
Chris Bohjalian's Midwives
Bilie Letts's Where the Heart Is
Breat Lott's Jewel
Bernard Schlink's The Reader
Anita Shreve's The Pilot's Wife
Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True
Janet Finch's White Oleander
Melinda Haynes's Mother of Pearl
Maeve Binchy's Tara Road
Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible
A. Manette Ansay's Vinegar Hill
Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World
Robert Morgan's Gap Creek
Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune
Tawni O'Dell's Back Roads
Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye
Sue Miller's While I Was Gone
Breena Clarke's River, Cross My Heart
Elizabeth Berg's Open House
Christina Schwartz's Drowning Ruth
Andre Dubus's House of Sand and Fog
Joyce Carol Oates's We Were the Mulvaneys
Gwyn Hyman Rubio's Icy Sparks
Malika Oufkir's Stolen Lives
Lalita Tademy's Cane River
Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections
Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance
Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees
Toni Morrison's Sula
John Steinbeck's East of Eden
Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country
Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude
Carson McCullers's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina
Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth
William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying and Light in August
James Frey's A Million Little Pieces
Elie Wiesel's Night

Edited to add recents picks:

2007: Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, Ken Follet's The Pillars of the Earth, Sidney Poitier's The Measure of a Man, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex.

2008: Eckhart Tole's A New Earth.

Oprah Book Club

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