Oprah’s Book Club: Frontrunners & Dark Horses

Oprah’s Book Club will reconvene in September, which means that it’s just about time to begin the annual tradition of trying to guess what book the talk show host-cum-literary kingmaker has chosen. Oprah announced yesterday via Twitter, “Hey all you BookClubbers. Tune in Friday, September 18th to find out what my new book club pick is–never made a selection like ‘this’.”

Galleycat kicked off the speculation this morning, drawing our attention to sparse Amazon and Barnes & Noble pages for the upcoming selection, and putting their money on either Say You’re One of Them, Uwem Akpan’s Africa-set short story collection, or Beginner’s Greek, James Collins’ romantic comedy of manners. After the jump, we attempt to handicap this horse race.

Aside from the tweet, the only other breadcrumbs Oprah has left so far are 1) the book will be published by Little, Brown and 2) it retails for 23.99 in hardcover and 14.99 in paperback. Galleycat’s guesses were certainly respectable, but we think they ignored a crucial clue: Oprah said she’d never made a selection like “this.” Could those quotation marks be laced with meaning?  Little, Brown published a book called This One is Mine last year, a modern update of Anna Karenina. Oprah’s love of Tolstoy is on record.

That said, a lot of people just throw quotation marks into any old thing they type, and Say You’re One of Them does seem the most Oprah-ish of the possibilities. Little, Brown is also the publisher of Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris’s 2007 National Book Award-nominated debut, which would continue Oprah’s habit of picking already-successful books that don’t exactly need a boost. Oprah, you influential minx!

We might have to wait until September to figure out the lucky winner. With Dan Brown’s and Ted Kennedy’s books coming out the same week, the AP is predicting big things for the third week of September.