Winfrey picks 2 Dickens novels for book club

NEW YORK (AP) — Better set some time aside for Oprah Winfrey’s latest book club pick.

The talk show host has selected a pair of Dickens classics, “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Great Expectations.” The two novels are being issued in a single bound Penguin paperback edition, around 800 pages, with a list price of $20. The electronic version, also from Penguin, sells for $7.99.

Because the copyright has long expired on the 19th-century novels, they are available through a variety of publishers and even directly from retailers. “Great Expectations” can be downloaded for free on Amazon.com’s Kindle reader. “A Tale of Two Cities” costs 99 cents on Barnes & Noble’s e-book device, the Nook.

Winfrey is to announce her selection Monday, when her long-awaited reconciliation with Jonathan Franzen will air.

Winfrey picked Franzen’s “Freedom” nine years after his ambivalence over her selection of his novel “The Corrections” led her to withdraw his invitation to appear on her show. Franzen has written enviously of Dickens’ time, when a new literary release “was anticipated with the kind of fever that a late-December film release inspires today.”

On Sunday, The Associated Press purchased a copy of the new Dickens volume, which has the book club logo on the cover.

Messages left for Winfrey’s Harpo Productions in Chicago weren’t immediately returned.

Winfrey has chosen older works before, including Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” and John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden.” Her website recommends Dickens’ “David Copperfield,” noting it was a favorite of Tolstoy’s.

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Associated Press writer Sophia Tareen contributed to this report from Chicago.

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