East Bay Best-Sellers 

What's on your neighbor's nightstand this month.

East Bay Best-Sellers lists this month's top-selling books as reported by independent bookstores in the East Bay, including: Avenue Books, Black Oak, Cody's, Collected Thoughts, Diesel, Pegasus, and Walden Pond.

NONFICTION

1. Fast-Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser (Harper Collins, $13.95). Feces in the meat and the unsavory secret of Secret Sauce are but two of the revelations sizzling herein.

2. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich (Metropolitan, $23). Wondering how welfare reform was working out, the author took minimum-wage jobs to see if she could survive.

3. The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan (Random House, $24.95). A "plant's-eye view" of humanity's struggle to control nature explores the histories of apples, tulips, potatoes, and cannabis.

4. Stupid White Men, by Michael Moore (Regan Books, $24.95). Comic iconoclast Moore skewers, barbecues, and gleefully humiliates the Washington power elite.

5. 9/11, by Noam Chomsky (Seven Stories, $8.95). Chomsky out-Chomskys himself, blaming America for the September 11 attacks and branding it a "terrorist nation."

6. Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, $24.95). A horse is a horse, of course -- but no horse could ever run like this champion.

7. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, by Gore Vidal (Thunder's Mouth, $10). In this loose assemblage of previously published articles, Vidal lambastes the US as a Nazi-like police state.

8. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast (Stylus, $25). Corruption, greed, and economic atrocities on a global scale are exposed to the harsh light of day.

9. NEW A Map of Berkeley's Pathways, (Berkeley Path Wanderers Association, $3.95). This map/guide to Berkeley's myriad hidden pedestrian-only paths has become essential gear for East Bay walkers.

10. NEW Despite Everything: A Cometbus Omnibus, by Aaron Cometbus (Last Gasp, $14.95). Excerpts from the mesmerizing handwritten diary/zine of an introspective punk drummer and East Bay scene chronicler.

FICTION

1. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins, $13.95). This offbeat epic follows a band of South American terrorists who seize an embassy, a Japanese industrialist, and an opera singer.

2. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo (Vintage Books, $14.95). A dysfunctional cast of colorful characters spirals toward oblivion in a dilapidated and dying New England mill town.

3. NEW The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, (Little, Brown, $24.95). Narrated by a murdered girl watching her family from heaven, this debut effort plumbs the outer reaches of emotion.

4. The Amazing Adventurews Of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon (Random House, $15). A Berkeley author's swashbuckling tale of two cousins who create a comic-book hero.

5. Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer (Houghton Mifflin, $25). A twentysomething seeks his grandfather's shtetl in this pyrotechnical, multilayered marvel.

6. How To Be Good, by Nick Hornby (Riverhead, $24.95). Extramarital shenanigans and a surplus of good intentions threaten to drive a marriage onto the rocks.

7. Atonement, by Ian McEwan (Doubleday, $26). Booker Prize-winning McEwan's latest epic examines the nature of perception.

8. Nanny DiariesS, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (St. Martin's, $24.95). Two Mary Poppinses rip into the elitism and hypocrisy of a barely fictionalized socialite mater.

9. Emperor of Ocean Park, by Stephen L. Carter (Knopf, $26.95). A Yale prof penned this suspenseful thriller exposing Beltway corruption.

10. Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk (Anchor, $13). Palahniuk's long-suffering antihero juggles sex addiction, choking-for-profit con games, and the fear that he is Jesus reborn.

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