How Many Oprah Books Have You Read?

I spent my early twenties reading from Oprah’s book club.  I found the titles enjoyable, but it strikes me as something to be ashamed of.  However, in recently looking back over the list, there are quite a few pieces of great literature.  I was introduced to Carson McCullers from Oprah, and for that, I’m grateful.

oprah books 1

oprah books 2The other great part of Oprah’s book club was that so many women bought the books and, when done, took them to the thrift store.  I bought and enjoyed most of them second-hand.

So today, I’m going to play the game I’ve been playing with the folkloric BBC book list that directs some of what I read and post for this blog.  How many Oprah books have I read?  How many have you read?  Let’s look at the list.  (I’ll also link the list to the books or authors I’ve already written about on my blog.)

The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard ( )

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison ( )

The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton( )

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb (x)

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi (x)

The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds ( )

The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou ( )

Songs in Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris ( )

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines ( )

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons ( )

A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons ( )

The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby ( )

The Treasure Hunt by Bill Cosby ( )

The Best Way to Play by Bill Cobsy ( )

Paradise by Toni Morrison ( )

Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman ( )

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen (x)

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat (x)

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb ( )

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage ( )

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (x)

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts ( )

Jewel by Bret Lott (x)

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink ( )

The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve (x)

White Oleander by Janet Fitch (x)

Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes ( )

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy (x)

River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke (x)

Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay (x)

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton (x)

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan (x)

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende (x)

Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell ( )

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (x)

While I Was Gone by Sue Miller ( )

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (x)

Open House by Elizabeth Berg ( )

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz (x)

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III (x)

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (x)

Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio (x)

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

Cane River by Lalita Tademy (x)

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (x)

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (x)

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald ( )

Sula by Toni Morrison ( )

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (x)

Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton (x)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (x)

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (x)

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (x)

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (x)

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (x)

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (x)

Light in August by William Faulkner (x)

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey ( )

Night by Elie Wiesel (x)

The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier ( )

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (x)

Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides ( )

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (x)

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (x)

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle ( )

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski ( )

Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan ( )

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen ( )

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens ( )

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (x)

Of 70 books, I’ve read 36 of them.  How many have you read?

There came a time when as I continued with school and my reading tastes matured that I had already read what Oprah (or her staff) chose.  Once Oprah began picking Steinbeck, Faulkner, and Garcia Marquez, I found that I had already been there.  (I still really want to read Light in August.)  And that’s okay.  I was happy to see her encouraging this sort of reading and happy to see some of my friends and neighbors enjoying those classics.  I also found myself discovering new authors, and reaching for other books written by them.

If you’d like a complete list of these books with thumbnail pictures and boxes to check, click here:

I know Oprah now has what she calls her book club 2.0.  Is anybody following that?  I haven’t been, but I’m sure it’s full of just as many great gems and books worth reading.