Oprah’s new book club pick: ‘Ruby’ by Cynthia Bond


It’s been more than a year since Oprah asked her fans to join her in reading a book. On Tuesday she got back into the swing of Book Club 2.0 with a new selection: “Ruby” by Cynthia Bond.

“I have never read a book like this before,” Oprah says in her video announcement. “To say that it’s deep doesn’t really describe it.”

Here’s more. “Believe me, it’s not easy finding words to describe Ruby, because nothing comes close to the experience of reading it,” Oprah writes. “It’s a love story, a ghost story, a story about the legacy of racial injustice and sexual abuse. The title character, when we first encounter her, is a once beautiful, now ravaged woman—filthy and barefoot—who wanders the streets of all-black Liberty Township, Texas. It’s a place of paradoxes where drunken, cheating men chew tobacco outside juke joints, then stumble home to churchgoing wives who disapprove of their behavior yet never say so. But no one is disapproved of more than Ruby.”


“Ruby” is Cynthia Bond’s first novel. The Angeleno drew upon the 15 years she spent working with at-risk and homeless youth and her own experiences when writing the book.

Between her first and second drafts, struggling and living on disability checks, she was a PEN Emerging Voices fellow. “I wanted to kill myself and was hospitalized a couple of times, but what kept bringing me back was working on this book,” Bond told the L.A. Times. “When I finished that second draft, it was a real victory for me.”

Oprah’s Harpo production company has optioned the film and television rights to “Ruby.”

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