February 27, 2003 11:00 AM

Oprah Winfrey’s book club is getting back into business — with a decidedly retro slant.

The syndicated talk-show queen, 49, announced on her show Wednesday that after a yearlong break, she is reviving the club, which had a successful six-year run.

Only this time, she says, she will not be pushing recent books of merit.

Instead, USA Today reports, she’ll be advocating classics by the likes of William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway — the authors she is now reading.

“It’s a gift to myself,” Winfrey said in anticipation of the show segments that she may call “Traveling with the Classics,” during which she will also will visit the settings of the authors’ works.

Selections, which will not only include American authors (Shakespeare, of course, is English), are due to be made three to five times a year, and the first selection will be named on her show.

She closed down the first club in April 2002, after having recommended some 48 books (and sending most of them to the top of the bestseller lists). “It has become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share,” she said at the time.

Other programs then tried to step into the breach, as clubs suddenly popped up on shows ranging from “Today” to “Live with Regis and Kelly.”

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