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22 Years of Oprah's Book Club = We’ll Read What She's Reading, Please

By Beth Clark • November 02, 2018

Oprah Winfrey: Things You Probably Know and Things That May Surprise You

To say that Oprah Winfrey is multifaceted would be the biggest "duh" statement ever, but even knowing that, the woman is seriously impressive in both her accomplishments and the ways she's owning life. For someone who was thrust into adulthood early when she became pregnant at 14, only to give birth to her son prematurely and have him pass away a few weeks later, she has overcome challenge after challenge after challenge and risen to the top in almost every conceivable way, including becoming the first black female billionaire.

Some quick fun facts before we move on to the books:

  1. She learned to read (and write!) when she was only three years old.
  2. She became a TV news anchor before she could even legally drink (age nineteen).
  3. She was the voice of Gussie the goose in Charlotte's Web, a story near and dear to ThriftBooks since it was the first book we ever sold.
  4. She ran the Marine Corps marathon in 1994, with a time of 4 hours 29 minutes.
  5. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Oprah's Book Club

Since Oprah's original Book Club launched in 1996, it's evolved and taken on different forms, but it's still going strong because, well, she's Oprah. She's recommended 79+ books, plus written a few of her own (no pun intended), all of which invariably enhance the world of readers, even if it's just by making them think for a few pages. Below are nine recent titles, plus the one it all began with. To see all 79+ titles (and those she's written), follow us on Pinterest and check out our Books Oprah Recommends board.

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton

A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit. In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only 29, Hinton knew it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

On a Kerouac-esque field trip to slip the "surly bonds" of Park Avenue and find "refuge in America," each encounter Barry has is a chance to repurpose the "friend moves" he's used on would-be investors to charm his fellow travelers. These face-offs are both painful and hilarious, and provide a much-needed dose of reality, nudging him toward a realization that no amount of money will make his wife love him or enable his child to speak. Shteyngart satirizes identity politics and vulture capitalism while tenderly probing the intricacies of love and parenthood. The novel is snarky, yet devastatingly poignant—and finally hopeful. If Barry can be kinder and gentler, so can America. – Lisa Zeidner

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

A masterpiece of storytelling, An American Marriage is an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future. "It's among Tayari's many gifts that she can touch us soul to soul with her words."—Oprah

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Mbue's debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors of the American Dream is the compulsively readable and unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the recession hits.

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

New York Times Book Review: "A book with so much painful truth packed into its pages that every person who's ever married or plans to marry should really give it a read."

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, "the kind of pretty it hurt to look at," has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees Liberty for 1950s New York.

Maggie Terry by Sarah Schulman

Post-rehab, Maggie Terry has one goal: keep her head down and rebuild her life in hopes that she'll be reunited with her daughter. But her first day as a PI lands her in the middle of a big one: actress strangled. If she can shake her ghosts—dead NYPD partner, vicious ex, steadfast drug habit—then she may just crack the case.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

In her NYT bestselling novel about two unforgettable American women, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world, writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts.

Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan

Through the eyes of childhood friends, the emotional toll of religious conflict in Ethiopia becomes viscerally clear. Uwem Akpan's debut signals the arrival of a breathtakingly talented writer who gives a matter-of-fact reality to the most extreme circumstances in stories that are nothing short of transcendent.

The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard

The Deep End of the Ocean imagines every mother's worst nightmare—the disappearance of a child—as it explores a family's struggle to endure, even against extraordinary odds. Filled with compassion, humor, and brilliant observations about the texture of real life, it's a story of rare power that celebrates the emotions that make us all one.

Blog posts coming your way soon: What J.K. Rowling reads, plus celebrity author duos and a book to screen update you won't want to miss. For now, happy reading, and don't forget to check out our Books Oprah Recommends board and follow us on Pinterest!

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