'The Invention of Wings': Why did Oprah pick it for her book club?

Sue Monk Kidd's "The Invention of Wings" comes out Jan. 7. The novel weaves together the stories of a slave girl and a slave owner's daughter. Like Kidd's best-selling "The Secret Life of Bees," the book is set in South Carolina.

(AP Photo/Viking)
"The Invention of Wings," by Sue Monk Kidd, will be released in January 2014. Oprah Winfrey has chosen the book as her latest book club selection.

Here's something to pre-order for the holidays: Oprah Winfrey's new book club pick.

Winfrey has chosen Sue Monk Kidd's "The Invention of Wings," coming out Jan. 7. An interview with Kidd will appear in the upcoming edition of "O: The Oprah Magazine," which arrives Dec. 17. A conversation with Kidd will air next year at a date to be determined on the talk-show host's Super Soul Sunday, on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network).

Kidd's novel, a 19th-century narrative featuring real and fictional characters, weaves together the stories of a slave girl and a slave owner's daughter. Like Kidd's million-selling "The Secret Life of Bees," the book is set in South Carolina, where the 65-year-old author lived for many years.

"The moment I finished 'The Invention of Wings,' I knew this had to be the next book club selection," Winfrey said in a statement released Tuesday. "These strong female characters represent the women that have shaped our history and, through Sue's imaginative storytelling, give us a new perspective on slavery, injustice and the search for freedom."

"I'm thrilled and honored that Oprah Winfrey chose my novel as her new book club selection," Kidd, who now lives in Florida, said in a statement. "After researching and writing 'The Invention of Wings' for the past four years, I can't tell you how exciting it is to launch the novel with Oprah's Book Club 2.0."

Winfrey founded her book club in 1996 and quickly established herself as a reliable hit maker, whether choosing debut works such as Lalita Tademy's "Cane River" or old favorites such as John Steinbeck's "East of Eden." She suspended her club in 2011, after ending her syndicated program, but relaunched it in 2012 as Oprah's Book Club 2.0, with a stronger emphasis on digital technology.

"The Invention of Wings" is Winfrey's third choice for the 2.0 club, and her first since selecting Ayana Mathis' "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" almost exactly a year ago. She had been expected to make picks more frequently, but she also seeks the "perfect fit," according to the books editor for "O," Leigh Haber.

"She's looking for something she can genuinely fall in love with, endorse, that will offer a point of conversation for her readers," Haber said. "And with this book she found it."

With a best-seller almost guaranteed, publisher Viking has announced a print run of 320,000 copies. "The Invention of Wings" is Kidd's first novel since "The Mermaid Chair" was released in 2009, when the digital market was still tiny. At least half of total sales for popular novels often come through the e-book edition.

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