Oprah's 10 Favorite Books from the Past Decade
When we asked Oprah to pick the 10 books she's read in the past decade that have mattered to her most, she was momentarily stumped. Only 10? Still, she offered up the following:
For someone who describes herself as "inspired, challenged, and sustained" by books, it was almost impossible for Oprah to stay within our limit of 10. Here are her picks, but she emphasized that it was only a sampler of delightful titles that have also managed to teach her—and all of us—a few things.
1. Discover the Power Within You
By Eric Butterworth
256 pages; HarperOne
Advice from the internationally known spiritual teacher.
2. A New Earth
By Eckhart Tolle
316 pages; Plume
There's a reason Oprah picked this for her Book Club in 2008—and that she gave audience members Post-it pens along with their copies. So much wisdom, so little time! A real-life guide to living your best life.
3. The Poisonwood Bible
By Barbara Kingsolver
576 pages; Harper Perennial
This novel is about a family embroiled in the political turmoil of postcolonial Africa. It established Kingsolver as one of our wisest observers of history, politics, and human nature.
By Elie Wiesel
120 pages; Hill and Wang
A memoir of a childhood suffered in concentration camps during the Holocaust. It's horrific but uplifting. "I gain courage from his courage," Oprah says.
5. A Fine Balance
By Rohinton Mistry
624 pages; Vintage
A Dickensian novel about India during the Emergency. Like the aftermath of September 11, it teaches us about cultures we haven't understood. "It takes us out of our own little shell and exposes us to a whole other world out there," Oprah says.
6. East of Eden
By John Steinbeck
608 pages; Penguin
This classic is about good and evil as played out in a late-19th-century California ranch family. If you didn't read it in high school, read it now. If you did, reread it!
7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
By David Wroblewski
576 pages; HarperCollins
A kind of Hamlet on the prairie, this is the wrenching story of a mute boy and his dog. Oprah compares it to East of Eden and To Kill a Mockingbird.
8. The Pillars of the Earth
By Ken Follett
973 pages; Penguin
About the challenges of building cathedrals in 12th-century England, this novel couldn't be more different in setting, time, and plot from the author's breakthrough success, Eye of the Needle. Oprah declares it simply "great."
9. The Bluest Eye
By Toni Morrison
224 pages; Penguin
How to choose among the great Morrison's novels? Start with this one about a girl who thinks she has to have blue eyes to be beautiful. Oprah considers it one of the best in a crowded Morrison field.
10. The Known World
By Edward P. Jones
400 pages; HarperCollins
When this book was published in 2003, it shocked everybody with its depiction of slave-owning blacks before the Civil War. A daring, unusual examination of race.