Looking for your next favourite read? Perhaps these recommended books by one of the most avid readers, Oprah Winfrey, might interest you or even transform your life.
Oprah Winfrey is a trailblazing icon who has inspired generations with her incredible work. She has touched upon everything to impart wisdom to the world, be it her talk show, social work, thought-proving roles in movies or even book recommendations. Oprah has been an avid reader since her formative years, and she finally launched her own Book Club in 1996. And trust us when we say that her collection has the power to transform the way you live.
There’s a reason people treasure her recommendations, which span across memoirs, self-help books, centuries-old classics, or fictional wonders. There are more than 100 books in the club which will liberate and empower you in unimaginable ways.
Oprah’s Book Club selections instantly became best sellers, and in 1999 Oprah was awarded the National Book Foundation’s 50th-anniversary gold medal for her contribution to books and authors. In addition to her expansive recommendations, Oprah has authored several books in her career. Dealing with subjects like finding life’s purpose, healing from trauma, happiness, lifestyle and more, the books offer beautiful insights.
If you’re looking to build your reading list, we’ve listed ten books from Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club to enrich your collection. So, without much ado, let’s start discovering!
The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self by Martha Beck lays out a four-step journey to cultivate integrity. Beck uses Dante’s journey to break down the process and discuss the redemptive power of living your own truth, kicking away negative patterns and mental suffering and healing emotionally. The New York Times bestseller has been dubbed as a ‘spiritual adventure’ that will change your life’s trajectory.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “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.”
The non-fiction masterpiece by Susan Cain explores how to deal with sadness and melancholy. The author echoes the sentiment that sadness is our superpower and that we must deal with and acknowledge grief to live life to the fullest.
The book recognizes that lightness and darkness, birth and death, bitterness and sweetness are linked eternally, and embracing the bittersweetness of the mind and heart is the true path to creativity and connection. Cain stresses how we inflict trauma and abuse on others if we don’t acknowledge our own heartache. Knowing that each human has, or will, go through feelings of loss and suffering will make them turn towards one another.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “This book has the power to transform the way you see your life and even the world. I have started to look at my own life in the world differently.”
Another New York Times bestseller, this book sheds light on the caste system in America, that still influences the lives and behaviour of people and at large, the nation’s fate. Using stories of powerful people like Martin Luther King Jr., Satchel Paige and more, the author shows the poisonous caste discrimination plaguing America till today.
It’s a brutally harsh, eye-opening narrative about the history and people and what lies under the surface of American life today. The author hopes that America’s way forward is to break through these human divisions and move towards a common humanity.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “This might be the most important book I’ve ever chosen for my book club. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents provides a new way of seeing racial inequality, giving rise to countless aha moments and helping us truly understand America as it is now and how we hope it will be.”
If genres like crime and mystery float your boat, then this book is for you. Set in a Brooklyn housing project in 1969, the book chronicles the tale of multiple people who witness a shooting and how the aftermath of the incident drastically changes their lives.
The book explores the conflicts in New York City’s neighbourhoods during the late-20th century, critically examining the American Dream. All characters suffer from poverty, racial tensions, discrimination, crime, and whatnot, yet they always stick to each other and turn a potentially tragic situation into a tale of hope.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “In a moment when our country roils with righteous anger and grief, Deacon King Kong reminds us that when we come together as a community in compassion and empathy, our love triumphs.”
One of the most trailblazing women of our era, Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming chronicles all the good, bad, and ugly experiences that shaped her. A deeply personal account of Michelle’s life, the book unravels everything from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to becoming the first African American to serve as First Lady of the United States of America.
Michelle has been a pioneer for women and girls across the globe, standing at par with her husband as he took the realms of America. With its unflinching honesty, the book will inspire you in the right ways, stressing how important it is to stay true to yourself.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “This book is everything you wanted to know and so much you didn’t even know you wanted to know. It’s a tour de force. I laughed and I cried. It is exquisitely written. She just opens up herself. It’s so vulnerable, and I’d say that even if I didn’t know her.”
In his debut novel, Imbolo Mbue touches upon a heart-wrenching tale of the struggles of an immigrant family striving for a better life in America amid one of the greatest financial tragedies. The fictional piece sheds light on the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 in addition to dealing with the themes of race, immigration, family, and capitalism.
The story revolves around Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant who moves to America with his wife, Neni, and their son. Jende eventually lands a job as a chauffeur for a senior executive at Lehman Brothers named Clark Edwards. Even Neni gets employed as temporary staff at the Edwards’ summer home in the Hamptons.
Just when the Jonga family starts brimming with hope for a brighter future, they’re confronted by a troubling truth about their employers. With the collapse of Lehman Brothers shattering the financial world, Jongas’ lives go for a toss, and they must take a shocking decision.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “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.”
Anthony Ray Hinton is a remarkable storyteller, who narrates his almost 30-year-long ordeal of being on death row for murders he didn’t commit. The memoir journeys back to 1985, when 29-year-old Hinton was arrested with two counts of murder in Alabama. Being a poor black man in the South, the flawed justice system sentenced him to death by electrocution.
Confused, angry and full of despair, Hinton eventually accepted his fate and instead became a beacon of light for all his inmates, most of whom were executed over the decades. As for Hinton, his fate bloomed when a civil rights attorney finally won his release in 2015.
The book instils inspiration and hope by showcasing Hinton’s resilience and spirit in the darkest of times and what it feels like to be set free. It will surely restore your faith in humanity.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “He is a remarkable storyteller. You will be swept away into this unbelievable, dramatic true story. And I’m sure you’ll think a lot like I did about how is it possible to find life and freedom on death row.”
Eckhart’s creation is a wake-up call to create a better world, by letting go of our ‘ego-based consciousness’ that’s essential to end personal and worldwide suffering. The author implores us to see the dire state of humanity, wherein attachment to ego leads to unhappiness, conflict and more.
He imparts spiritual wisdom to his readers, stressing how freedom and joy can be attained by living in the moment, “in the now”. It’s a message to humanity to create a more sane, loving world and have a fulfilling existence.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “A wake-up call for the entire planet . . . [A New Earth] helps us to stop creating our own suffering and obsessing over the past and what the future might be, and to put ourselves in the now.”
In his book, Robert Kolker narrates the tale of an extraordinary family, who paved the way for the world to understand and investigate what exactly schizophrenia was. The book follows Mimi and Don Galvin, a midcentury American couple with twelve children, six of which were diagnosed with schizophrenia while the others were untouched by it.
This made the Galvin family of extreme interest to the National Institute of Mental Health, aiding scientists to find the origins, treatment and possible eradication of the illness for the future generation. The author compassionately unravels the family’s suffering, hope and love as they become the defining pillars in the research of schizophrenia.
Oprah’s take on the book: “This is a riveting true story of an American family that reads like a medical detective journey. It reveals the shame, denial, shock, confusion and misunderstanding of mental illness at a time when no one was really sure what schizophrenia was or how to treat it.”
Elizabeth Strout continues narrating the tale of her beloved character Olive Kitteridge in this inspiring novel. The protagonist, now older and wiser, experiences a multitude of emotions as she struggles to come to terms with herself and those surrounding her in a small town in Maine.
Be it connecting with a teenager who just lost her dad, a lawyer struggling with inheritance or a nurse who confesses a secret crush in high school, Olive takes us through people undergoing feelings of loss, stuck in dilemmas and shocking situations. Her honesty, directness and deeply empathetic nature make people confide in her, helping us understand the terrible mess and tumultuousness they’re in. Olive will make you fall in love with these strangers you’ve never encountered, just by reading their stories.
Winfrey’s take on the book: “Olive is older and wiser, but as cantankerous as ever, and she still makes me laugh out loud, and cry in recognition and empathy. I fell in love with Olive not despite her flaws, but because of them.”