Monday, December 12, 2011

15 Reads Oprah Got Right

Finding a man in the audience of The Oprah Winfrey Show was about as difficult as getting a clear photo of Bigfoot. Sure, a grainy shot of a hairy ape-like creature emerged every now and then, but years went by with nary a sighting. If you happen to be one of said wild beasts known as man, or perhaps are a female with prior engagements between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. CST, you may have missed the cultural phenomenon that was Oprah, and with it, Oprah's Book Club. And though you may have heard of a little snafu with one of her picks, some of the titles she commanded her army of fans to buy actually merited the attention. So dig these 15 books Oprah nailed.

  1. A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

    OK, so it was a little safe for Oprah to recommend works by one of the best-known novelists of all time. But only those with hearts as cold as Estella's will not be moved by these characters' tales of unrequited love, written in easy-to-read prose by the beloved Dickens.

  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

    Solitude is like a trip through a Darren Aronofsky movie. The 100 years cover seven generations of the Buendía family in Columbia. It's long, it's weird, it's a masterpiece.

  3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    In his own words, Steinbeck called his previous works — including the classic The Grapes of Wrath"practice for [East of Eden]". The title is a reference to the place where the Bible character Cain lived after murdering his brother Abel. No straight-up fratricide goes down in the story, but as some of the characters find, love withheld from the person from whom you most want it can be worse than death.

  4. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    No one conveys the heroism and strength of everyday wives and mothers better than Pearl S. Buck. As the fortunes of the Wang family rise and fall, Buck weaves a tapestry of old versus new, rich versus poor, and authentic life in China at the turn of the 20th century.

  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    Oprah went out on another limb here by appointing to the Club the greatest book ever. The tragic title character is a fascinating study in how not to act in a relationship. If you can lift it (862 pages!), pick this one up to add a dash of class to your reading list.

  6. The Corrections A Novel by Jonathan Franzen

    When Jonathan Franzen learned his novel had been selected for Oprah's Book Club, he said, "I didn't want that logo of corporate ownership on it." Right there's reason enough to check out this dark comedy about the messed-up members of a messed-up American family trying to pull it together long enough to have one last family Christmas. Be warned: It's a Wonderful Life this ain't.

  7. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

    In a story that features incest, borderline-necrophilia, flying characters, and children in pants breastfeeding, even more takes place beneath the surface. The Dead family and their friends leap off the page in what many consider Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning Morrison's best work.

  8. The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby

    Dr. Huxtable teaches us about peer pressure and the power of words in the best entry in the "Little Bill" line of children's books, with great illustrations the kiddos will love. And no, the meanest thing to say is not, "Jello is made of animal parts."

  9. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

    If you are already depressed, this is not the one to pick up: a young girl struggles to find love after becoming obese, after being raped. But if you have some happy thoughts to spare, this first novel by Wally Lamb is extremely well-written and moving.

  10. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle A Novel by David Wrobleski

    Ever imagine what Hamlet would be like if it was set in rural Wisconsin? Well, wonder no longer (and get a life). Wrobleski takes some risks, like narrating some of the story from dogs' point of view, but for the most part, it works.

  11. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

    Before the racy Showtime mini-series, there was the book. Use your imagination to revel in the drama and intrigue of knights, kings, and castles in medieval England. Then go watch the show and tell your friends how much better the book is.

  12. Cry, the Beloved Country by Ken Alan Paton

    Unlike Matt Damon’s attempt at a South African accent in the film Invictus, Cry, the Beloved Country will move you to tears in a good way. It's a beautiful and important protest of a culture of racism and fear, written pre-apartheid.

  13. Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell

    Another Oprah pick, another dysfunctional family. Harley Altmyer raises his three sisters after his mama goes to jail for killin' his daddy. Humor and a quick pace keep it from being a Debbie Downer.

  14. Cane River by Lalita Tademy

    Tademy left a successful corporate gig to investigate her roots — this novel is the fictionalized result of that search. This insightful book follows the lives of four generations of black women in her family, starting with her great-great-great-great grandmother in pre-Civil War America.

  15. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

    Call it the Slumdog Millionaire prequel. Four people attempt to navigate through life in hard times in India. Like the movie, there is ugliness and there is beauty; the title refers to the world between hope and despair.

Taken From Accredited Online Colleges

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