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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2005

Oprah’s Book Club to feature ‘A Summer of Faulkner’

Three classic William Faulkner novels — ‘As I Lay Dying,’ ‘The Sound and the Fury,’ and ‘Light in August’ — to be focus of summer program

June 3, 2005

CHICAGO, Ill. - “If you have not read this author, you cannot say you have been baptized as a real reader,” Oprah Winfrey said on Friday, June 3, 2005, as she revealed the Oprah’s Book Club summer selection, a special boxed set of three works by William Faulkner.

“In June, we’ll be reading As I Lay Dying; in July, we’ll tackle The Sound and the Fury, considered by many to be one of the greatest novels of all time; and in August we’ll dive into Light in August,” Oprah added.

In about seven weeks, Faulkner wrote what he was determined would be his masterpiece, As I Lay Dying (1930), about a family’s journey to fulfill the dying wish of their wife and mother and their own desires.

In the critically acclaimed The Sound and the Fury (1929), Faulkner tells the story of the disintegration of a Southern family through four different perspectives.

As one of Faulkner’s most admired and accessible works, Light in August (1932) entwines Southern values surrounding racial bias, sexuality, and religion with unforgettable characters and a hopeful story of perseverance in the face of morality.

Faulkner received the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature as well as many other awards and accolades, including the National Book Award and the Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The exclusive boxed edition includes a special reader’s guide featuring background about the author.

For the first time ever, will offer Oprah’s Classroom, a weekly online video lecture series on Monday nights, with leading Faulkner scholars discussing the themes of each novel. Leading the discussion in June on As I Lay Dying is Dr. Robert W. Hamblin, a professor of English and director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. Like Faulkner and Oprah herself, Hamblin is a native of Mississippi.

Reading will continue in July as Dr. Thadious Davis leads discussion on The Sound and the Fury. A native of New Orleans, Davis is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.

In August, Dr. Arnold Weinstein will take the helm in the discussion of Light in August. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Weinstein is the Edna and Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University.

Oprah’s Classroom commences on Monday, June 6, at 7 p.m. ET. Enrollment is free and provides members with access to benefits such as interactive character guides and maps, online discussion groups, reading questions, quizzes and Q&A sessions with literary experts.

To join and to obtain the complete summer reading calendar, log onto

With more than 600,000 online members, Oprah’s Book Club has quickly become the largest book club in the world. Its selections have skyrocketed to the top of bestsellers lists.

Oprah’s Book Club partners with the American Library Association (ALA) to distribute thousands of free Book Club selections, donated by the publisher, to school, public and community college libraries nationwide. The Chicago-based ALA,, is the oldest and largest library association in the world with 64,000 members.

The Oprah Winfrey Show has remained the number one talk show for 18 consecutive seasons, winning every sweep since its debut in 1986. It is produced in Chicago by Harpo Productions, Inc. and syndicated to 213 domestic markets and 111 countries by King World.

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