Oprah Winfrey’s Double Dickens Book Club Pick

By Maryann Yin Comment

Oprah Winfrey picked a classic double header for her latest book club selection, choosing Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities.

During her announcement, Winfrey noted: “I’m going old, old school … Normally I only choose books that I have read, but I must shamefully admit to you all that I have never read Dickens.”

Winfrey will use Penguin’s new $20 paperback containing both books and nearly 800 pages. Amazon noted yesterday they have free Kindle editions of both titles. Penguin offers a $7.99 digital edition that includes illustrations, author background, and historical information.

Jonathan Franzen shared his love for Dickens on Winfrey’s show yesterday as well. Winfrey’s site has 24 reading questions about the book. The reading calendar includes three separate schedules, giving readers the choice to read one or both titles.

In June 2005, book club participants had three William Faulkner titles to read simultaneously: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Light in August. Other authors with multiple picks include: Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon, Paradise, and The Bluest Eye), Bill Cosby (The Meanest Thing To Say, The Treasure Hunt, and The Best Way to Play), and Dickens’ predecessor, Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections (the pick stayed but the show invitation was withdrawn) and Freedom).

In May 2004, Winfrey chose Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and her website noted that Dickens’ David Copperfield was one of Tolstoy’s favorites. (Via the Associated Press)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been edited for clarification about the Penguin edition and Franzen’s first invitation.