We know when it will be – we just don't know what it will be. Oprah said yesterday that she will announce her next book pick on Sept. 18. And so the speculation begins.
Publishing industry newsletter Publishers Marketplace cites two sources for possible clues as to Oprah's pick, writing that, "[A]ccording to the Newtonville Books Community Blog, #63 will be a Little, Brown trade paperback title priced at $14.99, with an announced first printing of 500,000 and ISBN # 978-0-316-08637-0. Amazon reports differing metadata, listing the Oprah #63 pick as a $23.99 hardcover with an ISBN of 978-0-316-08636-3."
"We'll leave others to the guessing game," writes Publisher's Marketplace, "but it's worth noting that Little, Brown prices very few of its hardcover titles at $23.99, which narrows the list of potential candidates considerably to the following books published between January 2008 and August 2009:
"Amigoland" by Oscar Casares (August 10)
"Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness" by Lyanda Lynn Haupt (July 27)
"This Wicked World" by Richard Lange (June 30)
"Do Over!" by Robin Hemley (May 11)
"The Man's Book: The Essential Guide for the Modern Man" by Thomas Fink (May 6)
"Secrets to Happiness" by Sarah Dunn (March 25)
"Eat, Drink and Be From Mississippi" by Nanci Kincaid (January 6)
"The Book of Calamities: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning" by Peter Trachtenberg (August 27, 2008)
"The Bible Salesman" by Clyde Edgerton (August 11, 2008)
"Undiscovered Country" by Lin Enger (July 3, 2008)
"Say You're One of Them" by Uwem Akpan (June 9, 2008, with trade pb published at $14.99 on July 15, 2009)."
All Oprah is saying is that she has "never made a selection like this." Out of the above list, my guess would be either "Amigoland," the story of two elderly, estranged brothers living in Texas just north of the Mexican border, or "Say You're One of Them," a stunning collection of short stories about African children, written by a Nigerian-born Jesuit priest. However, either of two non-fiction picks ("Do Over!" which is the story of a writing professor who does his best to revisit seminal life experiences like the first day of kindergarten and going to the prom and "The Book of Calamities" which examines suffering) would be interesting choices and might come closer to Oprah's own description – a selection unlike any she has made it the past.
Whatever it is it will be huge. And the announcement comes within days of the release of both Ted Kennedy's "True Compass" and Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" – guaranteeing a banner month for the book industry.