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Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey Books Recommended

Oprah Winfrey is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer, and philanthropist. Wikipedia

Books Recommended by Oprah Winfrey


  • Who is Oprah Winfrey?

    Oprah Gail Winfrey is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer, author, and philanthropist. Best known for The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has since grown her influence to include O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah.com, and The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), as well as Oprah's Book Club. Winfrey rose to greatness from a childhood of adversity and abuse, becoming one of the world’s most influential individuals. Oprah is the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom and honorary doctorate degrees from both Harvard and Duke University. Oprah is also the author of several books, including What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations, Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life, What I Know for Sure, Make the Connection: Ten Steps to a Better Body - and a Better Life, and Journey to Beloved.

  • Did Oprah Winfrey explicitly recommend all these books?

    Not necessarily. This book list has Oprah Winfrey must-read recommendations, but it also has a mix of mentions and suggestions from various sources, including interviews, promotional blurbs, editorial reviews, and Oprah's Book Club, a source of book recommendations that have evolved over 25 years.<br /> Oprah's Book Club is a discussion group that first began as a segment featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, started in 1996 with Jacquelyn Mitchard’s The Deep End of the Ocean. Save for a brief hiatus in 2002, Oprah's Book Club continued for 15 years, showcasing titles such as The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, Song of Solomon, Paradise, The Bluest Eye, and Sula by Toni Morrison, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. The book club was later revived as a primarily digital leg of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network and Oprah Magazine, beginning its 2012 launch with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Since, other selected titles have included Ayana Mathis’ The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, Cynthia Bond’s Ruby, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior, Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers, Tayari Jones‘ An American Marriage, Anthony Ray Hinton’s The Sun Does Shine, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Water Dancer, Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again, Robert Kolker’s Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, James McBride’s Deacon King Kong, and Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Oprah's Book Club was revived once more in 2019 as an Apple TV+ series. Here, Oprah's reading list has included titles like Bewilderment by Richard Powers, The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris, and The Gilead novels (Gilead, Home, Lila, and Jack) by Marilynne Robinson. You can stream full episodes, including Winfrey’s interviews with some of the authors behind her latest picks, on Apple TV.

  • How do you know Oprah Winfrey mentioned these books?

    Every suggestion on this list of book recommendations made by Oprah Winfrey is validated by our editors. If you want to see the source for yourself, you can find the resource quoted next to each book. For instance, perhaps you’re interested in Oprah’s William Faulkner recommendations, in particular. You’ll find that Light in August and The Sound and the Fury were both recommended as part of Oprah's Book Club. The same is true of titles such as Jane Hamilton’s A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth, Elizabeth Berg’s Open House, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, Gwyn Hyman Rubio’s Icy Sparks, Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory, Sue Miller’s While I Was Gone, Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them, Maya Angelou’s The Heart of a Woman, Ernest J. Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying, Anita Shreve’s The Pilot's Wife, Sheri Reynolds’ Rapture of Canaan, Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone, Chris Bohjalian’s Midwives, Breena Clarke’s River, Cross My Heart, and other important books. Other bestsellers from Winfrey’s list of books may have been highlighted as part of Oprah's Book Club but feature more particular praise from Oprah herself. These include The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Ray Hinton, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. For these, you can select the bolded word “source” to determine whether this was a book club pick or if that great read comes from another source.

  • Did Oprah Winfrey actually create this list?

    No, not directly. This reading list was curated by our editors based on confirmed mentions from Oprah Winfrey, including Oprah's Book Club picks, where Winfrey has been recommending her favorite titles since 1996. The sources for each recommendation are cited beside each book on this list! Many come from Oprah's Book Club, while others are suggested by Winfrey through direct quotes.

  • What genres does Oprah recommend?

    Many of Oprah’s recommendations within her book club and elsewhere come from a lens of societal and self-improvement that promotes greater empathy, but they don’t stop there. Oprah Winfrey book recommendations include a wide variety of fiction books (both contemporary fiction and works of classic literature), memoirs, historical fiction, psychological thrillers, domestic fiction, and more. Authors like Toni Morrison, Cheryl Strayed, Gabriel García Márquez, Alice Hoffman, Maya Angelou, Leo Tolstoy, Elie Wiesel, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cormac McCarthy, Michelle Obama, Charles Dickens, and others inspire some of the most recognizable works within this list. Many have been included on the New York Times’ best seller list and have been conferred various prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.

  • What topics do these books cover?

    Unsurprisingly, Oprah's book recommendations include a wide variety of titles with deep-reaching themes, including race (particularly topics of racism in the United States and abroad), gender, family, the Holocaust, abuse and other forms of trauma, disability, poverty, intergenerational ties, coming of age stories, pain, feminism, immigration, love, marriage, and more. A few particularly noteworthy titles from among her favorite books include The Water Dancer, Great Expectations, The Bluest Eye, the Gilead series, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Anna Karenina, The Underground Railroad, A Fine Balance, Cry, The Beloved Country, Deacon King Kong, and others. Of course, the exact insights you’ll gain will depend in part on which important book you decide to pick up. However, you’ll find that each of these hard-hitting books has something to teach you, whether explicitly, like in the nonfiction selections, or implicitly, like through fiction. You may read of human flaws, an ordinary day in the life of a black man or woman in the face of racial injustice, a coming of age story, a look into a family's past and family secrets, the experience of a young man during the American Civil War, the mysteries of empathy, the spirit of sacred truths, a story of love, the love of words, or a drug addict’s search for their best life. From Nazi Germany to a U.S. cotton plantation, you may well find that following a protagonist through Oprah’s latest pick helps you discover how to overcome your own challenges or transform your own life in the process. Whether you live in a small town or New York City, your own way of life may not be that of a tribal nation of spiritual heritage or person with schizophrenia. But, as you turn to the next page of your new favorite book, you’ll find that a lot of people—including you yourself—can empathize or even relate to each of these tragedies or moments of intimacy.

  • Where can I find the books on this Oprah Winfrey booklist?

    Beside each of the titles curated on this list of Oprah's book recommendations, you’ll find a convenient Amazon link to help you learn more or order a copy of the perfect book for yourself. Alternatively, you can search the title at your favorite online or brick-and-mortar retailer, including Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Apple Books, Bookshop, Thriftbooks, or your favorite local bookstore.

  • Can I read books written by Oprah Winfrey, rather than recommended by her?

    Of course! Oprah herself is the co-author of several titles, including What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose, What I Know for Sure, Journey to Beloved, Make the Connection: Ten Steps to a Better Body—And a Better Life, and others. Naturally, it’s safe to assume that Oprah Winfrey would recommend her own books—and other experts do the same.

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