Oprah picks historical novel as book club selection

LOS ANGELES Wed Dec 5, 2012 4:55pm EST

LOS ANGELES Dec 5 (Reuters) - Oprah Winfrey has selected "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" by first-time novelist Ayana Mathis as the second book in her newly re-branded book club, the media mogul said on Wednesday.

Oprah's Book Club 2.0 will test whether Winfrey can sustain her power to propel books onto best-seller lists without her daily TV talk show, which she left in 2011 to focus on cable network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and her magazine O, the Oprah Magazine.

Mathis' debut novel, published by Knopf, follows the life and children of Hattie Shepherd, who took part in the Great Migration of 1910-1930 as a teenager when blacks left the American South in droves searching for work in northern cities. It is billed as an emotionally charged novel of resilience in search of the American dream.

"The opening pages of Ayana's debut took my breath away," Winfrey said in a statement. "I can't remember when I read anything that moved me in quite this way, besides the work of Toni Morrison."

The novel will be released on Thursday.

Winfrey revived her book club in June with the selection of Cheryl Strayed's memoir "Wild," in which the author recounts her 1,100-mile solo hike following the death of her mother and the break-up of her marriage.

"Wild," also published by Knopf, spent six weeks atop the New York Times Best Seller List after Winfrey's selection. (Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Jill Serjeant and Leslie Adler)

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