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 2020
Oprah Book Club 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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read More →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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? Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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Oprah Winfrey Books
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – (June 2007) 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
Light in August by William Faulkner – (June 2005) 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 Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers – (April 2004) 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 – (January 2004) The struggles of the Buendia family trying to find the balance between desiring solitude and love. Amazon | Goodreads | Read More
Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay – (November 1999) 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
Jewel by Bret Lott – (January 1999) 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
What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage – (September 1998) After a decade in Atlanta, Ava Johnson returns home to spend a summer in Idlewild, Michigan, after testing positive for HIV. Amazon | Goodreads
The Treasure Hunt by Bill Cosby – (December 1997) 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 Cosby – (December 1997) 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.
The Meanest Thing To Say by Bill Cosby – (September 1997) 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 – (September 1997) A schoolteacher befriends a Black man imprisoned after being the only survivor of a store shooting that killed a white man. Amazon | Goodreads
The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds – (April 1997) 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
The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard – (September 1996) 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?
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