Find out what Oprah’s book club is reading right now and see all Oprah Winfrey’s books chosen for her book club list.
In 1996, Oprah Winfrey announced the start of Oprah’s Book Club through the Oprah Winfrey Show. Over the next fifteen years, the Oprah book club list expanded to 70 books and became the most famous celebrity book club ever. An Oprah book was distinguished as being a thought-provoking book for you to read.
After a two year gap, the Oprah book club relaunched in 2012 with Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. The new version of the Oprah Winfrey book club was in collaboration with her media company and magazine. Instead of picking books every month, Winfrey only chooses titles that speak to her.
You’ll find plenty of intriguing reads among Oprah’s book club books. Mixing nonfiction with novels, Oprah’s book club picks are extremely discussion-worthy.
If you are looking for great book club recommendations, here is your complete guide to the Oprah Winfrey books.
Oprah’s Book Club 2023
The Covenant of Water
Oprah’s Book Club May 2023 At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl grieving her father is sent by boat to meet her 40-year-old husband. Eventually she becomes to be known as Big Ammachi, the matriarch of a family particularly cursed to have one member of each generation die by drowning. From 1900-1977, Big Ammachi sees unimaginable changes to her Christian community on South India’s Malabar coast.
Oprah’s Book Club March 2023 After a childhood of being ignored by his family, William Waters finds refuge playing basketball in college. When William meets Julia Padavano, a lively girl extremely close to her parents and three sisters, he quickly becomes a part of the close-knit Padavano family. Although cracks start to appear in the family, William never imagined he’d be the wedge to drive them apart. A homage to Little Women, Hello Beautiful is probably the best book I’ve read in the last five years. Napolitano gorgeously describes family and sisterhood, mental health, and forgiveness, in such a way that you will never forget this story.
Oprah Winfrey Book Club February 2023: After showing the power of introverts in Quiet, Susan Cain uses the same mix of science and storytelling to explore what bittersweet feelings of sorrow and longing can teach us about creativity, compassionate leadership, and love. Cain shows that bittersweetness isn’t just a fleeting emotion but a powerful way of being that can lead to transcendence.
Oprah’s Book Club 2022
Oprah Winfrey Book Club October 2022: In a modern-day version of David Copperfield set in the American South, Demon Copperhead speaks of how institutional poverty damages young boys today. A child of a single mother living in a single wide trailer, young Demon must survive foster care, child labor, poor schools, addiction, success, and failure in this epic tale.
That Bird Has My Wings
Jarvis Jay Masters
Oprah Book Club September 2022: For her latest book club pick, Oprah has chosen the inspiring story of a death row inmate. Jarvis Jay Masters was the son of heroin addicts, sent to foster care as a child. Masters explains how his unstable childhood led him to take the easy route of crime and violence, where he was eventually imprisoned in San Quentin at the age of nineteen. After moving to death row for allegedly participating in the death of a prison guard, Masters eventually turned to Buddhism.
Oprah Book Club June 2022: Kiara and her brother Marcus are barely scraping by in Oakland. While Marcus unsuccessfully tries to launch a career as a rap artist, Kiara must support them and an abandoned boy next door with no degree and no resume. When their rent is doubled, Kiara takes up nightcrawling. Working the streets as a prostitute, Kiara becomes ensnared in a massive scandal with the Oakland Police Department.
Oprah Book Club April 2022: The powerful memoir from actress and producer Viola Davis about finding herself. From her roots in a rundown apartment in Rhode Island to center stage in New York, Davis constantly had to find the courage to forget the judgment of the world and fall in love with herself.
The Way of Integrity
Oprah Book Club February 2022: In her newest book, sociologist Martha Beck states that “integrity is the cure for psychological suffering.” Through a four-step process, Beck guides you through the hero’s journey and shows how you can find integrity and purpose to make your life feel whole.
Oprah’s Book Club 2021
Oprah Book Club September 2021: Richard Powers, the author of the bestseller The Overstory, contemplates the world we are leaving for our children in his newest book release. As widowed astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life on other planets, he struggles with raising his nine-year son. Sweet nature-loving Robin is on the verge of being expelled from third grade. Robin’s teachers and doctors tell Theo that Robin needs drugs to help him be normal, but Theo refuses, leaning on the love of the natural world to help Robin cope.
The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
August 2021: Although raised in a Northern city, Ailey Pearl Garfield spent summers in a small Georgia town where her mother’s ancestors were slaves. As Ailey fights for belonging, the burdens of trauma and the heavy expectations of her family weigh her down. While figuring out her own identity, she dives into her family’s history, uncovering a legacy of bondage and resilience that parallels the story of America.
The Sweetness of Water
June 2021: As the civil war comes to an end, George and Isabelle Walker hire two newly freed slaves, brother Landry and Prentiss, to work on their farm. The brothers hope to earn enough money to go North to find their mother while the Walkers hope this unlikely friendship will assuage the grief at the death of their son. When two returned Confederate soldiers’ forbidden romance is revealed, chaos breaks out and Isabelle emerges as a leader with an inspiring vision for their Southern town.
March 2021: Marilynne Robinson’s novel takes the reader into the mind of Reverend John Ames, a pastor of a small congregation in Gilead, Iowa. Written in the form of his journal, Ames wants to create a record for his 7-year-old son about his family history – his own experiences and those of his father and grandfather. Oprah has chosen not just this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, but the entire Gilead series for her book club pick.
March 2021: A prodigal son story that takes place at the same time and in the same town as Robinson’s bestseller, Gilead. After twenty years, Reverend Boughton’s hell-raising son Jack has returned home. Jack’s alcoholism and past secrets keep him at odds with his traditionalist father, Jack begins to bond with his sister Glory who has also recently returned home.
March 2021: After a lifetime of living hand to mouth in a hardscrabble childhood, Lila steps into a Iowa church for shelter on a stormy night. When she meets Minister John Ames, their romance changes her life. Yet, Lila has a hard time reconciling her husband’s Christian viewpoints that judge the makeshift family that raised her.
March 2021: Marilynne Robinson’s fourth novel in the Gilead series follows Jack Boughton, the prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister. The disreputable Jack falls in love with Della Miles, a Black high school teacher who is also the son of a preacher, in an interracial courtship that is illegal in post-WWII St. Louis.
Oprah’s Book Club 2020
August 2020: When you think of castes, India’s strict caste system likely comes to mind. In Oprah Winfrey’s new book pick, Wilkerson argues that America has its own hidden caste system, a hierarchy that has influenced the United States both historically and currently. Using fascinating stories, Wilkerson points out that on top of race and class, our understanding of caste systems must also change if we are to better ourselves as a nation.
Deacon King Kong
July 2020: In 1969, a grouchy old deacon named Sportcoat walks into the courtyard of a housing project in Brooklyn and shoots the local drug dealer. Thus ensues the story of the lives impacted by the shooting: the victim and the cops, the minority residents and white neighbors, the deacon and the church members. With a unique cast of characters (all with unique names), McBride showcases a character study of 1960s New York.
Hidden Valley Road
June 2020: Shortly after World War II, Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American Dream, raising their twelve children in Colorado. Until one after another, six of their ten sons were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The tale of an American family who became the center of most of our current research on schizophrenia, Hidden Valley Road has become one of the top nonfiction best sellers of 2020.
January 2020: In Mexico, bookstore owner Lydia is charmed to meet Javier, a man who shares her taste in books, only to find he is the local drug lord. When the wrath of the cartel falls upon her family, Lydia and her son Luca must flee all the way to American soil in this mesmerizing story. By far the most controversial book on the Oprah Book Club list in 2020, American Dirt sparked an important discussion about who can tell what stories.
Oprah Winfrey Book List 2.0
November 2019: In the sequel to her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Olive Kitteridge, Olive, Again shows Olive struggling to understand the various people in her hometown of Crosby, Maine. Now, Olive interacts with a teenager dealing with the death of a parent, a pregnant young woman, a nurse with a secret crush, and a lawyer struggling with an inheritance.
The Water Dancer
September 2019: Best known for his award-winning nonfiction books Between the World and Me and We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s first novel follows Hiram, the black son of a white plantation owner. With no memory of his mother after she is sold away, Hiram tries to win the love of his father. After escaping death, Hiram realizes his father will never love him as a son. After a failed attempt to escape, Hiram eventually joins the Underground – where he aims to rescue others with a mysterious power he has developed.
November 2018: Detailing her childhood on the South Side of Chicago, her success as a working mother, and her years in the White House, Michelle Obama shows how her past has shaped her into who she has become today. A poignant memoir of a woman trying to do her best for her family while balancing the greater good of having a husband in politics, Obama’s story is a remarkable tale no matter what your political affiliation.
The Sun Does Shine
Anthony Ray Hinton
June 2018: In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested for a murder he didn’t commit in Alabama. Assuming everything would work out quickly, Hinton was not prepared to be railroaded by an unjust criminal justice system. He spent 30 years on Death Row, before being released with the help of Bryan Stevenson (who covers the story in his memoir, Just Mercy). Hinton’s deeply-moving memoir is a perfect choice for Oprah’s book list.
An American Marriage
February 2018: At first glance, newlyweds Celestial and Roy seem like the perfect American couple. He’s a young executive, and she’s an emerging artist. However, as life comes into play and Roy is unjustly imprisoned, their marriage begins to fall apart. Discussing love, marriage, and race, this thought-provoking read is one to add to any reading list.
Behold the Dreamers
June 2017: The American Dream. Many hope for it, but how many truly find it? Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel details the lives of Cameroon immigrants living in New York City. In the days preceding the Great Recession, Jende gets lucky enough to get a job as chauffeur to a Lehman Brothers executive. Mbue brilliantly paints a fascinating look at immigrant life – the struggles with the immigration system, the desire for a better life, the balancing of cultural differences and the financial burden that comes with being poor in America. Through her writing, Mbue asks you to ponder: What really brings happiness? and Is the American dream all it’s cracked up to be?
Glennon Doyle Melton
September 2016: After writing about her journey to sobriety and motherhood in Carry On, Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton was blindsided when her husband admitted to multiple affairs. In Love Warrior, she writes of the implosion of her marriage and her journey back to forgiveness and love. Recently, in her memoir Untamed, Glennon Doyle admitted that she forced herself to live a lie to achieve the happily-ever-after story for Love Warrior, and she has since divorced from her husband.
The Underground Railroad
August 2016: An outcast among her fellow Africans, Cora finds life as a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia particularly hard. When Caesar, a new arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, the two hatch a plan to escape. Yet in their efforts, Cora kills a young white boy and the two are furiously hunted as they journey to freedom in the North.
February 2015: After suffering a dark and disturbing childhood, Ruby escapes to New York City. Years later, she returns home to her small East Texas town and is not sure if she can escape again, even with the help of an old friend. The sole choice of Oprah Winfrey books in 2015, Ruby offers a contrast between the darkest parts of human nature and the redeeming acts of love. Warning: Ruby contains many graphic depictions of violence.
The Invention of Wings
Sue Monk Kidd
January 2014: On her eleventh birthday, Sarah Grimke is given a slave, Handful, as her present. As they grow, both Sarah and Handful strive to find greater meaning in their lives. Based on a true story, Sarah Grimke eventually became one of the pioneers of the women’s abolitionist movement. While Handful was a real slave, her story is more fictionalized, but still incredibly powerful.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
December 2012: In 1923, Hattie Shepherd leaves Georgia in search of a better life in Philadelphia. Instead, she ends up in a disappointing marriage. Hattie goes on to have 11 children, whom she raises with strength, but not much tenderness. Through the narratives of her children, you see the legacy inherited by the children of the Great Migration.
June 2012: The updated Oprah Winfrey book club list restarted with Strayed’s inspiring memoir. Sometimes it takes doing something crazy, like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, for you to truly put your life in order. By 22, Cheryl Strayed’s life felt out of control, so she decided to make a life-changing decision to hike the PCT. You’ll laugh at Strayed’s mishaps, be in awe had her stupidity and bravery, and, if you are like me, really want to go for a hike.
Oprah Winfrey Books
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
A young orphan’s life is changed when he befriends a wealthy spinster and her beautiful adopted daughter. Amazon | Goodreads
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
After 18 years in the Bastille, a French doctor is released to England and reunited with his daughter Lucie. Amazon | Goodreads
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
A contemporary look at love and marriage, a novel about a picture-perfect family that is actually falling apart. Amazon | Goodreads
Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan
A collection of short stories where each one is told through the eyes of a child living in Africa. Amazon | Goodreads
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The death of his father destroys the once peaceful farm life of a boy born mute in this Hamlet retelling. Amazon | Goodreads
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
A spiritual guide encouraging readers to transcend their ego-based state of consciousness and live in the here and now. Amazon | Goodreads
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
An epic tale of a twelfth-century monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral ever imagined. Amazon | Goodreads
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Even fifty years later, Florentino can never forget his love for his childhood sweetheart, Fermina. Amazon | Goodreads
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
To discover why she is not like other girls, Calliope Stephanides uncovers a secret buried within three generations of her Greek-American family. Amazon | Goodreads
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A father and son walk along a road trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world in this troubling dystopian novel. Amazon | Goodreads
The Measure of a Man by Sir Sidney Poitier
Acclaimed actor Sidney Poitier looks back at his life and career and ponders what it means to seek the truth. Amazon | Goodreads
Night by Elie Wiesel
The unforgettable memoir of a Holocaust survivor sent as a teenager to Auschwitz and then Buchenwald concentration camps. Amazon | Goodreads
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
James Frey’s memoir about 3 months spent in jail has since been revealed as highly embellished and fabricated in parts. Amazon | Goodreads
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The fall of the Compson family, Southern aristocrats whose family is beginning to break up and lose their reputation. Amazon | Goodreads
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Bundren family journeys across Mississippi to bury their mother Addie in Faulkner’s tale of life and love. Amazon | Goodreads
Light in August by William Faulkner
The story about the lives of three people in the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi, is considered one of Faulkner’s best works. Amazon | Goodreads
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
A humble Chinese farmer rises in wealth and stature and then must deal with the challenges that come with it. Amazon | Goodreads
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Married Anna Karenina has an affair with a wealthy army officer that ends up tearing apart her family in this classic Russian tale. Amazon | Goodreads
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
John Singer, a lonely deaf-mute, draws a diverse group of people from his small deep South town to him with his kindness. Amazon | Goodreads
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
The struggles of the Buendia family trying to find the balance between desiring solitude and love. Amazon | Goodreads | More Info
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
The tale of a Zulu pastor and his son tells the story of South Africa’s apartheid from both sides. Amazon | Goodreads
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
A retelling of Adam and Eve and Caine and Abel that follows two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, in California’s rich farmland. Amazon | Goodreads
Sula by Toni Morrison
Two Black girls from a small Ohio town share a secret that will follow them into adulthood and lead them into two very different paths. Amazon | Goodreads
Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
The highs and lows of five generations of the Piper family wrapped in family secrets on Cape Breton Island. Amazon | Goodreads
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
In India in the 1970s, four strangers are forced into a small apartment during a government lockdown. Amazon | Goodreads
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
An American family in chaos as the father begins to suffer memory loss and the adult children struggle with their own crises. Amazon | Goodreads
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
An epic tale of the journey from slavery to freedom of four generations of African-American women in rural Louisiana. Amazon | Goodreads
Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir
The gripping memoir of a girl who was adopted by the King of Morocco at age five and eventually imprisoned in a desert jail for years. Amazon | Goodreads
Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Icy Sparks, a girl with Tourette’s Syndrome, struggles to find herself in this coming-of-age tale set in rural Kentucky in the 1950s. Amazon | Goodreads
We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
As an adult, Judd Mulvaney tries to piece together what precipitated his family’s decline from glory. Amazon | Goodreads
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
A recovering addict tries to hold on to her family home from a new immigrant intent on buying it. Amazon | Goodreads
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
In 1919, the drowning of a woman in rural Wisconsin impacts the lives of the family members she left behind. Amazon | Goodreads
Open House by Elizabeth Berg
A newly divorced woman raising a teenage son opens her house to boarders to help make her mortgage payments. Amazon | Goodreads
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
In 1959, a Baptist missionary takes his wife and four daughters on a mission to the Belgian Congo. Amazon | Goodreads
While I Was Gone by Sue Miller
Picture perfect mom Jo Becker is forced to reconcile with secrets from her past when an old housemate reappears. Amazon | Goodreads
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
An eleven-year-old Black girl desperately wants blues eyes in Morrison’s debut novel set in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio. Amazon | Goodreads
Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell
With his mother in jail, nineteen-year-old Harley Altmeyer must raise his three younger sisters in the Pennsylvania backwoods. Amazon | Goodreads
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
Orphaned as a child, Eliza Sommers leaves Chile to settle in California during the Gold Rush in this love story. Amazon | Goodreads
Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
A strong young woman tries to understand the world as a newly married woman struggling against mother nature and human nature. Amazon | Goodreads
A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
When their neighbor’s daughter drowns in their pool, the Goodwin family is torn apart when old accusations surface. Amazon | Goodreads
Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay
Forced by her husband’s unemployment, Ellen Grier moves her family in with her in-laws whose strict faith stifles her free spirit. Amazon | Goodreads
River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke
The drowning of a five-year-old girl in a Washington DC suburb in 1925 impacts the lives of those she left behind. Amazon | Goodreads
Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
Two women – one from Ireland and one from America – switch houses for a summer leading to surprises for each. Amazon | Goodreads
Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes
In 1950s Mississippi, a Black man and the white daughter of the town whore deal with racism and small-town life. Amazon | Goodreads
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
The story of Ingrid, a beautiful poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter Astrid, who floats through foster homes in Los Angeles. Amazon | Goodreads
The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve
After her pilot husband is killed in a plane crash, Kathryn Lyons sets out to learn if she ever really knew him. Amazon | Goodreads
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
The examination of the relationship of a fifteen-year-old boy with a woman twice his age in postwar Germany. Amazon | Goodreads
Jewel by Bret Lott
When their fifth child is born with autism, Brenda and Leston learn that though she provides unique challenges, their little girl is truly a blessing. Amazon | Goodreads
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
A pregnant teenager abandoned by her boyfriend in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, discovers the kindness of the deeply caring townsfolk. Amazon | Goodreads
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
In 1981, a rural Vermont midwife is put on trial for murder for performing an emergency Caesarian section on a mother. Amazon | Goodreads
What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage
After a decade in Atlanta, Ava Johnson returns home to spend a summer in Idlewild, Michigan, after testing positive for HIV. Amazon | Goodreads
I Know THis Much is True by Wally Lamb
In Three Rivers, Connecticut, Dominick Birdsey struggles with his twin brother’s paranoid schizophrenia. Amazon | Goodreads
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
A twelve-year-old girl is forced to leave Haiti and move to New York to live with a mother she barely remembers. Amazon | Goodreads
Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
A woman flees her abusive husband to start a new life with her young son, always worried her husband will find them. Amazon | Goodreads
Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
To attend a funeral, A woman and her teenage daughter return back to her hometown in Massachusetts where she runs into an old love. Amazon | Goodreads
Paradise by Toni Morrison
The battle between two communities – one matriarchal and the other patriarchal – explores race relations in Oklahoma. Amazon | Goodreads
The Treasure Hunt by Bill Cosby
A children’s story by comedian Bill Cosby about a boy searching his room for a treasure and finding out that loved ones are the true treasure.
The Best Way to Play by Bill Crosby
A children’s story by comedian Bill Cosby about a boy who desperately wants a video game only to discover that it pales in comparison to his own imagination.
A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons
A newly widowed woman, daughter of Carolina gentry, falls in love with an older local tenant farmer. Amazon | Goodreads
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
Ellen Foster, an eleven-year-old girl in the rural South, plots the death of her abusive father after her mother’s death. Amazon | Goodreads
The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Crosby
A children’s story by comedian Bill Cosby about a boy facing peer pressure when his friends play a game where they say mean things to other children.
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
A schoolteacher befriends a Black man imprisoned after being the only survivor of a store shooting that killed a white man. Amazon | Goodreads
Songs in Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris
In 1960, a vulnerable and lonely Vermont woman falls prey to a con man after her divorce from an alcoholic husband. Amazon | Goodreads
The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou recounts her journey moving to New York to fully embrace her life as a writer in Harlem. Amazon | Goodreads
The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds
A fifteen-year-old girl fears the wrath of her grandfather, the leader of an ultra-conservative Christian group, if he finds out she is pregnant. Amazon | Goodreads
Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi
A World War II novel about a German woman born with dwarfism who learns that everyone is unique in their own way. Amazon | Goodreads
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
The coming-of-age story of a girl trying to overcome her insecurities and childhood traumas in a harsh world. Amazon | Goodreads
The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton
The story of Ruth who was raised by a disappointed mother and eventually marries an abusive husband. Amazon | Goodreads
The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The coming-of-age story of Macon “Milkman” Dead, the son of the richest Black family in a small Southern town. Amazon | Goodreads
The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Oprah’s first book club pick about a family struggling to cope with their worst nightmare – the disappearance of a child. Amazon | Goodreads
Which of Oprah Winfrey’s books will you read first?