Oprah's Book Club

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Susan Cain
9780451499783 / 0-451-49978-6

"This book has the power to transform the way you see your life and even the world," Oprah says. "I have started to look at my own life in the world differently." Bittersweet, by Susan Cain, is a nonfiction title that explores how we deal with sadness. Not by denying it. Not by surrendering to it. But by acknowledging it. Even if, at times, it seems self-defeating because: We’re all supposed to be happy, right? Or at least try to be happy?

Demon Copperhead
Barbara Kingsolver
9780063251922 / 0-06-325192-2

This epic tale by Barbara Kingsolver follows the title character and the overwhelming obstacles he navigates in a community upended by the opioid crisis. Demon Copperhead re-envisions the Charles Dickens classic David Copperfield, setting it in modern-day Appalachia. It's Kingsolver's 17th novel in some three decades, and in writing it, she says she wanted to counter some of the condescension and downright snobbery directed at the region in which she was born and still lives, an area whose people, she believes, have been exploited for generations, most recently by pharmaceutical companies who targeted Appalachian residents and created the current opioid crisis. About the pick, Oprah said: "This is the second time I've chosen one of Barbara Kingsolver's novels for my book club—22 years ago we named The Poisonwood Bible as a selection. Her latest book grabbed me from its opening lines. I so admire the way Barbara has taken the plight of a young boy and invited us on his journey through loss, the foster system, addiction and so much more. The novel speaks to so many of our country's relevant issues, but most importantly, it's absolutely riveting."

That Bird Has My Wings
Jarvis Jay Masters
9780061730481 / 0-06-173048-3

Jarvis Jay Masters, author of Finding Freedom (1997), and now this latest memoir, has been incarcerated in California's San Quentin State Prison for the past 41 years. Oprah read That Bird Has My Wings for the first time in 2009, shortly after it was first published by HarperOne, and it left a strong impression: "His story, of a young boy victimized by addiction, poverty, violence, the foster care system and later the justice system, profoundly touched me then, and still does today."

Leila Mottley
9780593318935 / 0-593-31893-5

When Oprah first encountered Nightcrawling, 19-year-old poet Leila Mottley's debut novel, she quickly opted to name it her 96th OBC pick. She was struck by the author's power to convey, in vivid and precise language, trauma, love and everything in between: "It always brings me joy to help introduce new writers to the reading community, and this young poet wowed me with her ode and elegy to Oakland, and her acute and insightful depictions of youth, injustice, the legacy of incarceration, and the resilience of community and chosen family."

Finding Me
Viola Davis
9780063211094 / 0-06-321109-2

Viola Davis, the first Black actor to earn the so-called "Triple Crown of Acting"—an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy—details her rise from poverty and other trauma to emerge as an iconic American artist in this powerful memoir. Oprah had this to say about the book: "There are so many lessons to be learned from this breathtaking memoir about triumphing over adversity and trauma. Viola Davis leaves it all on the page—from her beginnings in South Carolina as the fifth of six children born in a sharecropper's shack to acclaim as an actor, producer and philanthropist. I was so moved by this book that I just had to share it with our entire OBC audience."

The Way of Integrity
Martha Beck
The Open Field
9781984881489 / 1-984881-48-5

Oprah said this about The Way of Integrity, which is the 94th Oprah's Book Club pick: "For over 15 years, I have looked to Martha Beck for her wisdom, and marveled at how she helps people through crises in their lives with such grace, insight and humor. As we all navigate this watershed moment in our collective history, The Way of Integrity provides a road map on the journey to truth and authenticity. Her latest work is filled with aha moments and practical exercises that can guide us as we seek enlightenment."

Richard Powers
W. W. Norton & Company
9780393881141 / 0-393-88114-8

The thirteenth novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Powers, Bewilderment follows the story of astrobiologist Theo Byrne as he searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual nine-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife. This intimate and timely novel allows readers an opportunity to reflect on all that is currently happening throughout our beautiful, imperiled planet Earth—and in our own lives.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
9780062942937 / 0-06-294293-X

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, a powerful novel by acclaimed poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, tells the story of African American history and the Black family experience through the lens of the novel's main protagonist, Ailey Pearl Garfield, as she comes to terms with her identity and the themes of what Du Bois called "double consciousness." This novel will resonate with anyone who has a family, who is a daughter or a sister or a mother, and anyone interested in the American origin story.

The Sweetness of Water
Nathan Harris
Little, Brown and Company
9780316461276 / 0-316-46127-X

Nathan Harris' debut novel, The Sweetness of Water, is set in the fictional town of Old Ox, Ga., at the very end of the Civil War. By then, President Lincoln has issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the enslaved. When the novel opens, brothers Prentiss and Landry are at last leaving the plantation where they've spent their entire lives, and grappling with what will come next. Through these characters—and others such as George and Isabelle Walker and their son, Caleb—novelist Harris explores the limits of "freedom" in the era that ushered in Reconstruction and Jim Crow, and spotlights some of the parallels with our current times. The novel also powerfully shows how a fellow human's single act of kindness or cruelty can reverberate for generations to come.

The Gilead Novels
Marilynne Robinson
Picador Paper
9781250784018 / 1-250-78401-8

Oprah's latest Book Club pick is not one, but four books, by Marilynne Robinson. Together, this quartet is known as the Gilead novels: 2004's Gilead, 2008's Home, 2014's Lila, and 2020's Jack. "Marilynne Robinson is one of our greatest living authors," Oprah comments, "and in the Gilead novels she's written a quartet of masterpieces. The more closely I read them, the more I find to appreciate, and the more they show the way in seeing the beauty in the ordinary. I'm thrilled to share them all with you."

Isabel Wilkerson
Random House
9780593230251 / 0-593-23025-6

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Deacon King Kong
James McBride
Riverhead Books
9780735216723 / 0-7352-1672-X

A 19-year-old drug dealer with an incredible pitching arm. A death-defying drunkard. An Italian-American mobster with a soft side. These are just a sampling of the many richly drawn characters whose lives intertwine in this soaring novel set in the projects of 1969 Brooklyn, which blends humor and wisdom on each page. Deacon King Kong finds the sublime in the ordinary.

Hidden Valley Road
Robert Kolker
9780385543767 / 0-385-54376-X

"This is a riveting true story of an American family that reads like a medical detective journey," Oprah said of her 84th pick. Hidden Valley Road is the extraordinary of the Galvin family of Colorado, who had six children diagnosed with schizophrenia and six children untouched by the illness.

American Dirt
Jeanine Cummins

9781250209764 / 1-250-20976-5

"This story changed the way I see what it means to be a migrant in a whole new way," Oprah said of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, her latest Apple Book Club pick. The book follows the journey a woman and her young son take to the United States after their family is murdered in an act of cartel violence.

Olive, Again
Elizabeth Strout

9780812996548 / 0-8129-9654-2

Oprah selected Olive, Again as her Apple Book Club pick because she fell in love the with prickly protagonist "despite her flaws." The book is Elizabeth Strout's follow-up to her 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Olive Kitteridge.

The Water Dancer
Ta-Nehisi Coates
One World
9780399590597 / 0-399-59059-5

For her first selection of the new chapter of Oprah's Book Club with Apple, Oprah selected Ta-Nehisi Coates' first novel, The Water Dancer. The odyssey follows the story of Hiram Walker, a young man born as a slave on a plantation in Virginia who has been gifted a mysterious, magical power that eventually saves his life when he nearly drowns in a river.“I have not felt this way about a book since Beloved,” Oprah, said of the book, referring to the late Toni Morrison's celebrated novel. "I knew early on the book was going to cut me up. I ended up with my soul pierced.”

Michelle Obama
9781524763138 / 1-5247-6313-6

"I want the whole world to read this book. I know everyone is already pre-ordering, and if you’re in a book club, you should read it together," Oprah said, announcing her December 2018 selection. "It is Michelle Obama’s story, of course, but I know it’s going to spark within you the desire to think about your own becoming."

The Sun Does Shine
Anthony Ray Hinton

9781250124715 / 1-250-12471-9

"Over the years I've chosen many great novels, very few memoirs for my book club, but this story reads like an epic novel. And it is all true! Mr. Hinton was falsely convicted of murder and spent 30 years on death row before he was finally released," Oprah said in a 2018 SuperSoul Sunday interview.

An American Marriage
Tayari Jones
Algonquin Books
9781616208776 / 1-61620-877-5

"I love this title because the novel redefines the traditional American love story. It's really a love triangle and places it inside a world that a lot of people don't know about, but impacts all of us in really big ways," Oprah announced in February 2018.

Behold the Dreamers
Imbolo Mbue
Random House Trade Paperbacks
9780525509714 / 0-525-50971-2

"It's about race and class, the economy, culture, immigration, and the dangers of the us versus them mentality. And underneath it all pumps the heart and soul of family love, the pursuit of happiness, and what home really means," Oprah shared in June 2017.

Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle

9781250075734 / 1-250-07573-4

"You're going to absolutely love this book and the spirit of it, whether you're married or single, whether you're a mom or not," Oprah declared on OWN in September 2016. "All women are going to see themselves in these pages. It's daring, and it's raw, and it's filled with a lot naked—I do mean naked—truths!" she said.

The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead

9780345804327 / 0-345-80432-5

"'Blown away' is an often-used expression, but with this book it was to the point of sometimes putting it down and saying, 'I can't read anymore. I don't want to turn the page. I want to know what happens, but I don't want to know what happens,'" Oprah said in September 2016, describing the harrowing tale of a teenage slave who runs away from a cotton plantation.

Cynthia Bond
Random House
9780804188241 / 0-8041-8824-6

This wrought love story, chosen in 2015, what happens when a woman needs to face her childhood demons in the fact of racial injustice.

The Invention of Wings
Sue Monk Kidd
Penguin Books
9780143121701 / 0-14-312170-7

This historical novel that Oprah selected in 2013 centers on an abolitionist from Charleston, South Carolina, her sister, and their slave.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
Ayana Mathis
9780307949707 / 0-307-94970-2

One of Oprah's beloved 2012 selections, this beautiful tale focuses on the matriarch of a Black family navigating love and loss through the Great Migration.

Cheryl Strayed

9780307476074 / 0-307-47607-3

Cheryl Strayed's impactful memoir follows her on a quest to self-discovery as she travels through the Pacific Crest Trail, learning to cope with her mother's death and a severed marriage.

A Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens

9780142196588 / 0-14-219658-4

In 2010, Winfrey announced that two of Dickens' most beloved classics would be making her list: A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Even if you read them in grade school, these iconic works are worth revisiting.

Great Expectations
Charles Dickens
Penguin Classics
9780141439563 / 0-14-143956-4

Though it was written in 1860, this sweeping novel about an orphan and the girl who beguiled him when they were just children has stood the test of time.

Jonathan Franzen
Picador USA
9780312576462 / 0-312-57646-3

This saga selected in 2010 centers on a seemingly picture-perfect family in Minnesota. But we quickly learn that the old trope is true: Looks are indeed deceiving.

Say You're One of Them
Uwem Akpan
Akpan, Uwem
9780316086370 / 0-316-08637-1

A collection of short stories told through the eyes of children living in Africa, this 2009 book club choice is both distressing and masterful.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
David Wroblewski
Ecco Press
9780061374234 / 0-06-137423-7

Edgar Sawtelle, who was born mute, has only ever known a peaceful, bucolic life on his parents' farm—until a trauma threatens to change that.

A New Earth
Eckhart Tolle

9781514292778 / 1-5142-9277-7

In 2008, Oprah hailed this spiritual guide, which encourages readers to live "in the now." It became one of OBC's most-sold books ever, including in countries like Brazil.

The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett
9780451166890 / 0-451-16689-2

Though it's a hefty read at 800 pages, Oprah swears that this 12th century story (with the erection of a Gothic cathedral at the center) is one you won't be able to put down.

Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
Vintage Books USA
9780307389732 / 0-307-38973-1

The Latin literary giant's stunningly written love story spanning 50 years made Oprah's list in 2007.

Jeffrey Eugenides

9780374704308 / 0-374-70430-9

Told from narrator Calliope's Stephanides's perspective, Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides explores the complexities of growing up female but struggling between male and female identity—while also battling to comprehend a Greek and American heritage. Eugenides used his own part-Mediterranean background to inject Cal's cultural background with authenticity.

The Road
Cormac McCarthy
9780307387899 / 0-307-38789-5

"It is so extraordinary. I promise you, you'll be thinking about it long after you finish the final page," Oprah Winfrey told the Washington Post in 2007.

The Measure of a Man
Sidney Poitier
Poitier, Sidney
9780061357909 / 0-06-135790-1

"He writes really candidly and passionately about his childhood, his family, relationships, and his extraordinary career," Oprah told the Associated Press in 2007 about the esteemed actor's memoir.

Night By Elie Wiesel

Hill and Wang
9780374500016 / 0-374-50001-0

Night, written by Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, was selected in 2006. When announcing her pick, Oprah said that the little book, "should be required reading for all humanity."

A Million Little Pieces
James Frey
9780307276902 / 0-307-27690-2

In 2006, Winfrey initially praised Frey's memoir, in which he recounts three months spent in jail. She later denounced his work after it was revealed he lied about major plot details, and then confronted him on her eponymous show, saying she felt "duped." In 2009, Winfrey apologized to him for the segment.

Light in August
William Faulkner
Vintage International Random House
9780679732266 / 0-679-73226-8

In the summer of 2005, Oprah selected three Faulkner classics for her club. Considered one of Faulkner's greatest titles, the Southern gothic tale Light in August follows three people as their lives intersect in the small fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi.

The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner
9780679732242 / 0-679-73224-1

Her second Faulkner classic follows the Compson family's attempt to face loss and love—together.

As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner
9780679732259 / 0-679-73225-X

In her final Faulker selection, the author chronicles the Bundren family as they journey across Mississippi to mourn the matriarch, Addie.

The Good Earth
Pearl S. Buck
Washington Square Press
9780743272933 / 0-7432-7293-5

Pearl S. Buck's novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. It's a classic rags-to-riches story featuring a peasant Chinese farmer and the challenges faced once he attains wealth and influence. This book landed on Oprah's list in 2004.

Anna Karnina
Leo Tolstoy
Penguin Classics
9780143035008 / 0-14-303500-2

Love, adultery, and loss are explored in Russian writer Leo Tolstoy's most famous work and Oprah's 2004 pick. The married eponymous heroine, Anna Karenina, falls for wealthy army officer Count Vronsky and ultimately destroys her family and her own happiness.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Carson McCullers
Mariner Books
9780618526413 / 0-618-52641-2

Carson McCullers was only 23 years old when she penned this 2004 selection. The coming-of-age story pursues the themes of loneliness and isolation, with the racial disparity of the South serving as a backdrop.

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel Garc 237 a M 225 rquez
9780060883287 / 0-06-088328-6

It's no secret the Nobel Prize-winning author loved telenovelas, and One Hundred Years of Solitude (selected in 2004, a few years before his other novel, Love In The Time Of Cholera) has all the makings of a soap opera—with a dash of magical realism.

Cry, the Beloved Country
Alan Paton
9780743262170 / 0-7432-6217-4

Cry, The Beloved Country details the complex history of apartheid in South Africa from both sides. The thought-provoking political tragedy made Oprah's list in 2003.

East of Eden
John Steinbeck
Penguin Books
9780140186390 / 0-14-018639-5

Picked in 2003, John Steinbeck's multigenerational novel tells the story of the Hamilton and Trask families using Biblical analogies like those of Cain and Abel.

Toni Morrison
9781400033430 / 1-4000-3343-8

Set in a tight-knit neighborhood in Ohio known as "The Bottom," two Black girls are linked by a secret they've been harboring. The secret ultimately follows them into adulthood and threatens their friendship. Toni Morrison's riveting novel was selected in 2002.

Fall on Your Knees
Ann-Marie MacDonald
9780743237185 / 0-7432-3718-8

Canadian novelist Ann-Marie MacDonald weaved a fascinating tale chronicling the Piper family and all their hardships, deception, and miracles. Chosen in 2002, the dark, dysfunctional-family drama is steeped in secrets and scandal.

A Fine Balance
Rohinton Mistry
Vintage International
9781400030651 / 1-4000-3065-X

Rohinton Mistry presents four main characters who share a cramped apartment in India. Their outlook is bleak and depressing as they're forced to endure a caste system and government corruption in the 1970s. Oprah added it to her list in 2001.

The Corrections
Jonathan Franzen
Picador USA
9780312421274 / 0-312-42127-3

This wildly entertaining novel (chosen for the book club in 2001) centers on a family in chaos.

Cane River
Lalita Tademy

9780446615884 / 0-446-61588-9

This multi-generational story—selected in 2001—follows the stories of slave-born women in a multi-generational family saga.

Stolen Lives
Malika Oufkir and Michèle Fitoussi

9780786868612 / 0-7868-6861-9

In this thrilling memoir—announced as an OBC book in 2001—we learn about the life of Malika Oufki, who was adopted by the King of Morocco when she was five.

Icy Sparks
Gwyn Hyman Rubio

9780142000205 / 0-14-200020-5

Named after its main character, this book, which was picked in 2001, is about a girl finding herself in eastern Kentucky in the 1950s.

We Were the Mulvaneys
Joyce Carol Oates

9780452282827 / 0-452-28282-9

This hopeful depiction of a family in crisis was featured on the list in 2001.

House of Sand and Fog
Andre Dubus III
W W Norton Company
9780393338119 / 0-393-33811-8

As their lives intertwine, three people attempt to live the American Dream in this 2000 selection.

Drowning Ruth
Christina Schwarz
Schwarz, Christina
9780345439109 / 0-345-43910-4

After Mathilda Neumann dies in a freezing lake, the lives of her family members change in this 2000 pick.

Open House
Elizabeth Berg

9780345435163 / 0-345-43516-8

This 2000 favorite features Samantha, a woman grappling with the aftermath of divorce while raising her 11-year-old son.

The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver

9780061577079 / 0-06-157707-3

The Price family, led by their evangelical Baptist father Nathan, begins to unravel as their bond and faith is tested during a mission to Africa. This pick was announced in 2000.

While I Was Gone
Sue Miller

9780345443281 / 0-345-44328-4

Despite the fact that her life is seemingly picture-perfect, an appearance by a former housemate forces Jo Becker to dig into her past and face the skeletons in her closet.

The Bluest Eye
Toni Morrison
Vintage Books
9780307278449 / 0-307-27844-1

A celebrated work of fiction—and Toni Morrison's first ever novel—Bluest Eye follows 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove as she grows into herself in the author's hometown of Lorain, Ohio.

Back Roads
Tawni O'Dell

9780451212450 / 0-451-21245-2

A dark portrayal of boyhood, Back Roads follows 19-year-old Harley Altmyer, the son of a woman jailed for murdering his father (a serial abuser) in Oprah's 2000 selection.

Daugher of Fortune
Isabel Allende

9780061120251 / 0-06-112025-1

A love story, Allende's title is centered around Eliza Sommers, an orphan raised in Chile who eventually creates a new life for herself during the 19th century California Gold Rush.

Gap Creek: The Story of a Marriage
Robert Morgan
A Shannon Ravenel Book
9781616201760 / 1-61620-176-2

This bestseller features a badass woman who gets married soon after her brother's death while learning how to navigate adulthood.

A Map of The World
Jane Hamilton

9780385720106 / 0-385-72010-6

In this harrowing tale chosen in '99, the lives of the Goodwin family permanently change after they witness their neighbor's daughter drown in a pool, an event that leads to sexual abuse accusations and the downfall of a family once at peace.

Vinegar Hill
A. Manette Ansay

9780060897840 / 0-06-089784-8

Ellen Grier has to move in with her in-laws, raise two children, and deal with her husband's unemployment in a startling portrayal of life in the country gone awry. Oprah announced the pick in 1999.

River, Cross My Heart
Breena Clarke

9780316899987 / 0-316-89998-4

Illustrating the Black experience in America, this book follows Alice and Willie Bynum, a couple whose lives completely change after the death of their five-year-old daughter.

Tara Road
Maeve Binchy

9780440235590 / 0-440-23559-6

Two women swap lives for a summer only to learn each other's deep, dark secrets.

Mother of Pearl
Melinda Haynes

9780671774677 / 0-671-77467-0

Set in '50s Mississippi, the book touches on racism and small town life in the South.

White Oleander
Janet Fitch
Back Bay Books
9780316284950 / 0-316-28495-5

A 1999 coming-of-age story centers on Astrid, who bounces between foster homes after being separated from her mother.

The Pilot's Wife
Anita Shreve
Back Bay Books
9780316303057 / 0-316-30305-4

This novel recounts the story of a woman grappling with the death of her husband.

The Reader
Bernhard Schlink
Vintage Books USA
9780375707971 / 0-375-70797-2

Set in postwar Germany, The Reader zeroes in on the relationship between Michael Berg and Hanna, a woman twice his age who ends up on trial for a reckless crime.

Bret Lott

9780671038182 / 0-671-03818-4

Lott's novel (selected in 1999) follows the mother-daughter bond between Jewel and her last born daughter, one that's drastically different from that with her other children.

Where the Heart Is
Billie Letts

9780446672214 / 0-446-67221-1

At 17, and seven months pregnant, Novalle Nation journeys across the country, only to get stranded in Oklahoma with little cash and less hope. Oprah's 1998 selection is a funny, candid depiction of girlhood.

Chris Bohjalian
Vintage Books USA
9780375706776 / 0-375-70677-1

After saving a child's life during an emergency C-section, Sibyl Danforth, a midwife, is wrapped into a sensational trial after being accused of accidentally killing the baby's mother in this riveting 1998 read.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day
Pearl Cleage

9780061710384 / 0-06-171038-5

Told through the lens of Ava Johnson, this story details what happens after a woman leaves the big city—Atlanta—for a quieter, rural life back home.

I Know This Much Is True
Wally Lamb
Harper Perennial
9780061469084 / 0-06-146908-4

This frank book (a 1998 selection) takes an honest look at mental illness, domestic abuse, and family dysfunction with a refreshing touch of humor.

Breath, Eyes, Memory
Edwidge Danticat
Soho Press
9781616955021 / 1-61695-502-3

Weaving political upheaval into the narrative, novelist Danticat explores the life of 12-year-old Sophie Caco, a girl forced to move to New York to live with a mother who's had little involvement in her upbringing.

Black and Blue
Anna Quindlen
Brand: Random House Trade Paperbacks
9780812980493 / 0-8129-8049-2

A woman runs away from her abusive husband to begin anew and give her son a better life in one of Oprah's 1998 picks.

Here on Earth
Alice Hoffman
Berkley Publishing Group
9780425169698 / 0-425-16969-3

In this novel, March Murray returns to her Massachusetts hometown to face her past, including a man she was previously in love with.

Toni Morrison
Vintage International
9780804169882 / 0-8041-6988-8

Morrison's novel, chosen in 1998, explores race relations in Oklahoma, along with the battle between two communities, one led by women refusing to give up their freedom.

The Best Way to Play
Bill Cosby
9780590956178 / 0-590-95617-5

Over 20 years before now-disgraced actor Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault, his children's books, which follow the Little Bill character, made it onto the list, first in 1997.

The Treasure Hunt
Bill Cosby

9780590956185 / 0-590-95618-3

Another of Cosby's children's books follows Little Bill and how he stays entertained on a rainy day.

The Meanest Thing to Say
Bill Cosby

9780590956161 / 0-590-95616-7

Little Bill copes with bullying with the help of his parents.

A Virtuous Woman
Kay Gibbons

9780375703065 / 0-375-70306-3

Chosen in 1997, Gibbons will make you fall in love with Blinking Jack Stokes and Ruby Pitt Woodrow, an unexpected pair that find solace in their differences.

Ellen Foster
Kaye Gibbons
Algonquin Books
9781616203023 / 1-61620-302-1

Gibbons won the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Institute of Arts and Letters for this novel, which follows 11-year-old Ellen, a complicated character who, early on, plots the death of her father.

A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest J. Gaines
Vintage Books USA
9780375702709 / 0-375-70270-9

Timely, Gaines's novel details what happens after Jefferson, a Black man, is the only survivor of a shooting that left one white store owner killed. Oprah announced this selection in 1997.

The Heart of a Woman
Maya Angelou

9780812980325 / 0-8129-8032-8

In 1997, Maya Angelou's autobiography made Oprah's list. This story recounts her move to New York from California with her son, Guy, and illustrates a community of Black artists that molded her.

Songs in Ordinary Time
Mary McGarry Morris

9780140244823 / 0-14-024482-4

In 1960 Vermont, a vulnerable divorcee falls prey to a con man.

The Rapture of Canaan
Sheri Reynolds
Berkley Books
9780425162446 / 0-425-16244-3

After becoming pregnant, Ninah fears the reaction of her grandfather, the leader of a strict Christian congregation, in this book hailed by Oprah in 1997.

Stones From the River
Ursula Hegi
Simon Schuster
9780684844770 / 0-684-84477-X

Trudi Montag grapples with Nazism in Germany while learning that despite her difference in appearance as a dwarf, all humans are unique.

She's Come Undone
Wally Lamb
Pocket Books
9780671021009 / 0-671-02100-1

Lamb's novel chronicles the life of Dolores Price, a 13-year-old that welcomes womanhood and is eventually dead-set on conquering her insecurities in this 1996 selection.

The Book of Ruth
Jane Hamilton

9780385265706 / 0-385-26570-0

Not only did Hamilton earn Oprah's praise in 1996, but she also won the 1989 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for Best First Novel for her story about a woman coming to terms with her rocky relationship with her mother—and life alone—after her dad's death.

Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison
Vintage Books USA
9781400033423 / 1-4000-3342-X

In this 1996 pick, Morrison explores the life of Macon Dead Jr., a.k.a. Milkman, the son of the richest Black family in a small town, as he grows in and out of the South.

The Deep End of the Ocean
Jacquelyn Mitchard
Penguin Books
9780140286274 / 0-14-028627-6

In 1996, Oprah's first-ever selection was this suspenseful novel, which follows a family as they learn to cope—through humor and unrelenting strength—with the disappearance of a child.