Oprah's New Book Club Picks Are Gilead Novels by Marilynne Robinson

Oprah Announces New Book Club Picks: The Gilead Novels by Marilynne Robinson

Robinson is "one of our greatest living authors," Oprah says.

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  • Oprah's latest Book Club pick is not one, but four books, by Marilynne Robinson.
  • Together, this quartet is known as the Gilead novels: 2004's Gilead, 2008's Home, 2014's Lila, and 2020's Jack.
  • Robinson is "one of our greatest living writers," Oprah says.

    Late last year, Oprah picked up a copy of Jack by Marilynne Robinson. The story—of the forbidden love between a down-on-his-luck white man and the prim and proper Black woman who’s come to occupy his mind and heart—is set in the mid-20th century. Yet it's a timeless tale of deep connection despite circumstance, of frailty, of familial bonds, of inequality, and of what it means to be human.

    In reading Jack, Oprah was reminded of when she’d first encountered Robinson’s 2004 novel, Gilead, which struck her as “sublime.” That book is narrated by a dying Congregationalist minister from Gilead, Iowa named John Ames who's reflecting back on his life in a quest to share all he’s experienced and learned with his young son. As we turn the pages, we begin to realize that the story is not just one man's: It's a profound meditation on existence itself. Robinson returned to Gilead, Iowa and the characters who populated that fictional town three more times subsequently in the books—Home (2008) and Lila (2014), and, most recently, Jack.

    Today Oprah announced that the four Gilead novels are her 87th, 88th, 89th and 90th Oprah’s Book Club selections. “Marilynne Robinson is one of our greatest living authors,” Oprah comments, “and in the Gilead novels she’s written a quartet of masterpieces. The more closely I read them, the more I find to appreciate, and the more they show the way in seeing the beauty in the ordinary. I'm thrilled to share them all with you."

    "The more closely I read them, the more I find to appreciate."

    Marilynne Robinson’s first novel, Housekeeping, came out in 1980 and was deemed a modern classic. Her second novel was Gilead, published 24 years later. Over the decades, Robinson has won multiple literary prizes, been hailed by critics as “magnificent” and “astonishing” and cited by President Obama as one of his favorite all-time writers, who awarded her the 2012 National Humanities Medal. She has also helped usher in a whole new generation of writers through her teaching at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she is currently conducting a seminar on the Old Testament. And her non-fiction essays on politics, the environment, religion, decency, and democracy—have established Robinson as one of the country’s leading intellectuals.

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    Marilynne Robinson had this to say in response to the news: “Oprah Winfrey is a singular voice in this country and in the world. It is wonderful and amazing that my books will have the kind of attention only she could bring to them.” This is the first time in Oprah's Book Club history that four works have been announced as selections simultaneously.

    Over the next two months, Oprah will lead an exploration of the universe of Gilead beginning with Gilead. A reading schedule will be posted on the Oprah's Book Club social platforms. She will also conduct an interview with the author—whom Oprah calls “a philosopher/teacher, as well as one of our most important fiction writers,” which will air on dates to be determined on Apple TV+. And starting today, you can ask Siri "What's Oprah Reading?" and hear Oprah herself answer. Join Oprah and Marilynne Robinson on this journey by following @oprahsbookclub across social, and download your copies of all four novels on Apple Books and #ReadWithUs.


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