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Charles Dickens is Oprah's Choice

Oprah Winfrey arrives at the AFI FEST 2009 Screening of "Precious: Based On The Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" on Nov. 1, 2009, in Hollywood, Calif. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images) Jason Merritt/Getty Images

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Don't be surprised if your neighbors start talking about Pip, Miss Havisham and Madame Defarge.

They are all characters from the novels of Charles Dickens, the 19th century author whose works "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities" have been chosen as the next selections in Oprah Winfrey's book club.

Winfrey said on Monday's episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" she has never read Dickens before. She said,"It's the best of times, readers," paraphrasing the opening line of "A Tale of Two Cities." She called both books timeless classics.

Winfrey's choices tend to produce huge sales of the selected bookw. The two novels are being issued in a single, 800-page Penguin paperback edition with a list price of $20. The electronic version, also from Penguin, sells for $7.99. They also can be downloaded free through the new Google bookstore.

Harpo Productions says Oprah's Book Club has nearly 2 million online members. Her previous selection was Jonathan Franzen's bestselling novel "Freedom."

Pip, the orphan and Miss Havisham, the jilted spinster, are characters in "Great Expectations." Madame Defarge is the knitting revolutionary in "A Tale of Two Cities."

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