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Oprah's Book Club Book List

Updated on July 17, 2013

Oprah started her Book Club in September of 1996 and has since then created a world wide flurry of people grabbing copies of her recommended books.

She personally chooses the books and doesn't profit from any boosted sales. Some have even been made into movies.

Her influence is so strong that she can make a new author a big time best seller in no time. She has encountered some controveries along the road to achieving literacy in every home. A recommended author (Jonathan Franzen) was disappointed that his novel became commercial fodder while another author (James Frey) was revealed to have embellished his novel.

Beyond that Oprah's recommendations have been a positive reinforcement of the importance of reading and has created more book readers around the world.

She ended her Book Club in May 2011 but encouraged worldwide book clubs to continue to share and discover old and new novels.

Here are Oprah's recommended picks for her Book Club list by year.


A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities tells about two men and how their lives intertwine on the war stricken streets of Paris.
Great Expectations follows the uniquely diverse adventure in Pip's life and his yearning to be a gentleman.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

A novel that explores the seemingly ideal life of a family until they find themselves facing their own temptations and mid life struggles.


Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan

A collection of harrowing stories told from the view of mere children of a life of desperation and poverty.


The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

This story features the dilemma a mute boy faces after a tragedy that has made him seek refuge in the wilderness.


The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The New York Times best selling author has written a story of a monk that's tasked to do the impossible: build the world's greatest Gothic cathedral. Filled with all the elements of a mind gripping novel it explores England in the Middle Ages.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A love story to last a lifetime this book takes us through the separate lives of unrequited lovers and the decisions that they have to face and accept.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

It's a discovery of sorts as a young girl learns of a family secret that forever makes an impact of her suburban life.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Survival and hope is the focus of this bleak and dire novel. As father and son travel to the coast they learn to live sparingly and protect one another from the grueling conditions and lawless people who they encounter.

The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier brings us a piece of his life through his memoirs from his childhood of poverty to his life on the screen.


Night by Elie Wiesel

An autobiography that recounts the horrors of being held prisoner in a Nazi death camp. 


A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

A journey through drug addiction up to recovery shows us just how tenacious one can be.

Light in August by William Faulkner

A woman searches for the father of her baby, a Reverend envisions Confederate Horsemen and a drifter struggles to accept his mixed ancestry.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Follow the story of a family and the tragedies they succumb to.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

The story is told through a point of view of each member of the Bundren family as they travel across Mississippi to bury the woman in their life.


The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Follow the success of a simple Chinese man and his eventual downfall.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The classic novel of a woman torn between love and duty.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Small town life and racial tensions in the 1930's are the backdrop for a deaf mute in this long time classic favorite.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

A telling of the 7 generations of a small family in Columbia.


Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

A worldwide best seller that delves into South African life under the white regime. Focused on racial prejudice it revolves around pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

A tragedy set in the farmlands of California this novel tells of the generations of two families.


Sula by Toni Morrison

A heartening story of friendship and betrayal this novel takes us on a journey of two girls that become women and eventually at opposite sides of the scope.

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

A novel about five sisters and a deep secret that follows them to their adult life.


A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

India in a time of political upheaval is the setting for four people whose lives are momentarily joined together.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

A look into the life of a dysfunctional American family.

Cane River by Lalita Tademy

Part biography part fiction we follow the lives of four generations of women.

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir

A true story of a privileged mother and daughter who were imprisoned for two decades and the life they endured as persecuted women.

Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

We look at the life of a woman affected by Tourrettes Syndrome and the obstacles she faces in the pursuit of a normal life.

We Were the Mulvaneys
by Joyce Carol Oates

An ideal family full of love and hope is inwardly torn apart by a tragedy that they keep secret.


House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

A dream home becomes the center of tragedy for three people at the end of their wits and holding on to the last shred of hope in their lives.

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz

The death of a woman reveals the long hidden secrets and eventually the reason for her death.

Open House by Elizabeth Berg

When a newly divorced woman is faced with financial troubles she opens her home and accepts borders meeting a variety of characters and realizing who she was and still can be.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

A family uproots to the Belgian Congo where they join their father on a mission that changes them separately and as a whole family.

While I Was Gone by Sue Miller

When Jo Becker gets a visit from the past she starts to question her idealistic life and is slowly propelled back to the woman she used to be.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

A little girl's dream to fit in in the traditional blue eyes and blonde hair of America slowly destroys her.

Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell

When his mother is imprisoned for the murder of his father he is left to fend for himself and his sisters. As he struggles to make ends meet he meets a woman who awakens his desires.

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

A Chilean woman travels to the far land of California in the 1800's to search for her lover.

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

In Gap Creek lives a woman with independent means. When she marries she and her husband find that despite the hard work that they do outside elements still find ways into their lives.


White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Astrid is marked by a growing need to find herself. As she is bounced from one home to the next she finds out just how devastating her beauty can be.

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

In rural America the Goodwins are thought of as being "different". When a little girl dies under Alice's watch she's persecuted even more so when she's accused of sexual abuse.

Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay

As they settle into her in-laws house the long time resident of despair and sadness slowly affect her family.

River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke

A daughter's death has left a void in her parent's life. As they decide to move to the city they're torn between grief and the possibility of hope.

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy

They're world's apart but when two women experience a tragedy their lives are intertwined when they live in each other's house and each other's lives.

Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes

Two fated people find strength and renewal of hope in each other.

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

When she receives the news that her husband has died and has yet to deal with her grief she is plunged into a life of doubt as rumors of her husband's secret life hound her.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

A relationship between a teenager and a woman twice his age endure until she suddenly disappears. Years later he meets her again but she's on trial for a crime.

Jewel by Bret Lott

This book teaches you that life can bring you surprises and acceptance and ultimately love is the answer to all the unanswered questions.

Have you ever chosen to purchase a book because Oprah recommended it?

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Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

A pregnant Novalee Nation finds home in the most unexpected of places. When she's left behind by her boyfriend she seeks refuge in a Walmart and ends up living there until the kindly people of a town take her in.

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

A good deed may sometimes bite you in the back as this novel tells of a woman who helped a woman give birth during a strong winter's night. When the mother of the baby that she helped bring into this world dies she is suddenly put on trial.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage

When Ava Johnson returns to her hometown after a life of luxury and splendor she finds herself in the once ordinary town now a place of troubles.

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

The relationship between brothers is strong and steadfast. This is a look into the life of identical twins when one ends up in maximum security to the other's surprise.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

A woman's reunion with her estranged mother uncovers a dark secret. She returns home to heal and accept what she has learned.

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen

A woman on the run. A start to a new life. When will she stop looking over her shoulder? This is a story about making the right choices and putting your child's well being before your own.

Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman

March returns to her hometown to attend a funeral and not only learns that her housekeeper knew much more than she led on but finds herself finding reasons to stay.

Paradise by Toni Morrison

Racial injustice and violence seem to go hand in hand as in the case of this novel by Toni Morrison. As two brothers drift apart to find each of their own lives that make sense the town of Ruby is destructing a little at a time.


The Best Way to Play by Bill Cosby

From the Little Bill series Bill Cosby introduces a character that children can hopefully look up to. This story teaches children the value of imaginative play.

The Treasure Hunt by Bill Cosby

Little Bill learns of his creativity and begins a day of storytelling.

The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby

Peer pressure is difficult to overcome but with sound advice from his father Little Bill learns the right way to make friends.

A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons

A love beyond age and social differences. When Jack and Ruby meet they slowly grow to love each other amid disapproval.

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

A child of abuse, Ellen finds solace and a place to call home.

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Sometimes experience is the best teacher but to learn through another's eyes is all the wiser. A teacher visits a man who's on death row for a crime he didn't commit.

Songs in Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris

Loneliness can get the best of us and sometimes we fall prey to those who take advantage. As a mother battles her loneliness she finds solace in the arms of the wrong man.

The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou

A look into the life of Maya Angelou and her struggles to succeed, care for her child and find love.

The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds

Faith to religion and the pursuit of love is the main premise of this novel. Ninah learns to accept and realize that ordinary can be exceptional.

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Amidst the steadily growing regime of the Nazi's Trudi makes herself an involved member of the community despite her dwarfism.

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

This novel deals with obesity and resolution to a healthier self and a functioning woman of confidence.


The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard

The worst possible thing to happen to a mother happens to Beth when she loses her child in a crowded place. She endlessly searches for him and finds him one day to be her neighbor.

The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton

A small town girl finds herself full of passion and is thrust into troubles beyond her capability.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

To understand who we are we sometimes have to go back to our roots as does Macon in this novel about identity and family history.

Although Oprah's Book Club is no longer exisitng we can still continue with our love for reading and help inspire others to read and live through these novels if only for a few hours.


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    • livelovelaugh5 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi Jenna Kunc,

      Thanks for stopping by! I'm still reading the books from her list! Currently reading We Were the Mulvaneys. :)

    • Jenna Kunc profile image

      Jenna Kunc 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      I'll admit, I don't particularly like Oprah, but if she can get people to read then good for her! I'm definitely going to be checking out some of these books.

    • livelovelaugh5 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Apryl,

      I have the exact same sentiments. I hope to get a chance to read these books as well. Thanks for the vote up!

    • Apryl Schwarz profile image

      Apryl Schwarz 

      7 years ago from Nebraska

      Great hub! I wish I had more time to read, it's something I need to work on. This would be a great list to work through. Voted up!

    • livelovelaugh5 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Suziecat7,

      Thanks for the great comment! It took me awhile to complete this hub. I wanted to be able to provide a place where you can get a description for each book. I was actually looking for a page like this but since there weren't any I decided to make one! :)

    • suziecat7 profile image


      7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks for the great list. I have read several of these books but others you mention I will have to check out. Great Hub - rated up and I'm a fan.


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