Oprah.com to launch webcast of Oprah's Book Club discussion on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 5 p.m. EST
CHICAGO, IL—On Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 5 p.m. EST, Oprah.com will feature an Oprah's Book Club webcast hosted by Oprah with special guest Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and Charles Dickens expert Jane Smiley to discuss the 65th Oprah's Book Club selection—A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. The webcast will be recorded with an audience of book club readers.

Originally published in 1859, A Tale of Two Cities thrives on tension and conflict, all set against a bloody backdrop of the French Revolution. After 18 years imprisoned in the Bastille in France, the aging Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter, the beautiful and kind Lucie Manette, in England. There, the lives of two very different men—Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer—become enmeshed through their love for the lovely Lucie. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the treacherous streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the shadow of the guillotine. Its dramatic and moving story portrays the complexities of human nature and how we are shaped by our desires, politics and loyalties.

Great Expectations begins on Christmas Eve, 1812, when a 7-year-old orphan named Pip has a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes, and it ends with a grown-up Pip in a familiar garden in the winter of 1840. Over the course of nearly three decades, we follow as a series of events—a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor—seem to conspire to change Pip's life forever. Great Expectations was published as a book in 1861, after being serialized in a magazine for nine months between December 1860 and August 1861.

As the biggest book club in the world, Oprah's Book Club has nearly 2 million online members. Its selections have skyrocketed to the top of bestsellers lists. Enrollment is free and provides members with access to benefits such as online discussion groups, reader questions and an exclusive weekly newsletter. To join Oprah's Book Club, log on to www.oprah.com/bookclub.

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

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