Oprah Winfrey’s latest pick for her Book Club 2.0 is the work of debut novelist Ayana Mathis. "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," fiction set against the historic backdrop of the "Great Migration" of African Americans in the 1900s, was published this month.
The novel follows the story of Hattie Shepherd, who moves from Georgia to Philadelphia in the 1920s and raises a family there, experiencing a disappointing marriage and resolving to teach her children of how difficult life will be.
Winfrey discussed her newest pick in a video.
“It’s her first time ever writing a book, and I think you are going to be so taken by it,” Winfrey said of Mathis’s novel, which she called a “jewel of a book.”
“This book touched me so deeply,” the former talk-show host continued. “Sacred truths just leap from the pages.”
Winfrey pointed out that readers can buy the e-book edition specially formatted for the book club, with Winfrey’s own notes accompanying the text, or a normal paper version.
“Still can get the hardcover, people!” she joked.
Although the “Oprah effect" – the skyrocketing in sales that a book usually experiences after becoming a Winfrey pick – is not quite as dramatic as it once was when the talk show queen had a wider television audience, it is still significant. Winfry's last choice, the memoir “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, jumped from number 173 to number 12 on Amazon following Winfrey’s announcement that it was the next club selection. Strayed’s book is still number 21 on the New York Times combined print and e-book nonfiction list for Dec. 9 and number 18 on the e-book nonfiction list for the same date.
Mathis, who is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, was apparently overwhelmed to learn of Winfrey's decision. According to O, the Oprah Magazine, the young author was shocked to receive Winfrey's phone call. “Really?” she is reported to have asked.“This is really Oprah Winfrey?”
Check out the full video of Winfrey discussing "Hattie."