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Oprah picks a new book for her book club. I mean Book Club 2.0.

December 05, 2012|By Carolyn Kellogg
  • Oprah Winfrey has announced a new book selection for her Book Club 2.0.
Oprah Winfrey has announced a new book selection for her Book Club 2.0. (George Burns / OWN )

Update: this post has been corrected; see below for details.

Oprah Winfrey has picked a new book for her book club, which is being called Book Club 2.0 with devotion. Why not just Oprah's Book Club? Maybe the brand is connected to her old show, which she left behind when she struck off on her own.

With her new network OWN, Oprah went behind the cable paywall. Entertainment observers have said the network has had a rocky start, but in terms of books, Oprah still seems to be able to pack a wallop. When she launched Book Club 2.0 by selecting Cheryl Strayed's memoir "Wild," the book soon climbed to the top of bestseller lists.

The new selection is "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," a debut novel by Ayana Mathis, a relatively unknown author who has written for magazines such as Essence and Glamour. It's a novel of the Great Migration, told through one African American family. 

After the selection was announced Wednesday, the new book's Amazon page was so swarmed by interested readers that it crashed. As of this writing, it's up and running; the book is also available at Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers.

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

The publisher that will reap the rewards of Oprah's selection is Knopf -- but the benefits go beyond traditional publishers.

Goodreads will be hosting an official online discussion of "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" with exclusive content between now and Feb. 3. That's her Super Soul Sunday -- an alternative to that big football game -- and when her television interview with Mathis will air. The interview serves as the culminating discussion of the national book club -- I mean, Book Club 2.0.

Multimedia is certainly a component of the new book club. The interview will be simulcast on Sirius XM radio and also streamed online, on Oprah.com and the OWN Facebook page. There will be weekly Q&As on Facebook and Twitter (#OprahsBookClub) and more reader engagement using Instagram photos. The  technologically-inclined book clubs are encouraged to use mobile messenger GroupMe to create their own discussions of the book.

As for Mathis, who has an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop, she had the reaction any writer might: "Really?" she said when she got the call from Oprah. "This is really Oprah Winfrey?"

[Update 12/5 10:40am: A previous version of this post said the book is published by Twelve. It is published by Knopf.]

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