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, Diesel, Lafayette Books, Pegasus, and Rakestraw Books.
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. 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.
3. Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, $24.95). A horse is a horse, of course -- but no horse could ever run like this champion.
4. 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.
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. Stupid White Men, by Michael Moore (Regan Books, $24.95). Comic iconoclast Moore skewers, barbecues, and gleefully humiliates the Washington power elite.
7. NEW The Map That Changed The World, by Simon Winchester (Harper, $13.95). A self-taught 19th-century geologist draws a map of soil strata that revolutionizes our view of Earth.
8. Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik (Random House, $14.95). This collection of dispatches from the New Yorker writer captures the essence of living in France, cafes and all.
9. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by David Eggers (Vintage, $14). Sad but true and oh-so-ambitious is this tale of orphaned siblings and Gen-X ennui.
10. NEW Word Freak, by Stefan Fatsis (Penguin, $14). The author plunges headfirst into the obsessive world of top-flight Scrabble champions.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. NEW The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, by Brady Udall (Vintage, $14). A darkly comic coming-of-age tale about a half-Apache boy with a crushed head.
6. NEW Coraline, by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (Harper, $15.99). This creepy, gothic horror-filled fable for preteens has earned favorable comparisons to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
7. NEW Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $8.99). The fourth installment of the series sees Harry competing in the Quidditch World Cup and facing puberty.
8. Atonement, by Ian McEwan (Doubleday, $26). Booker Prize-winning McEwan's latest epic examines the nature of perception.
9. NEW Prague, by Arthur Phillips (Random House, $24.95). Expats in postcommunist Budapest wrestle with angst and dream of an idealized Prague.
10. NEW Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, $14). Villagers in 17th-century Derbyshire succumb to a devastating plague and their own pagan desires.
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Culture Spy - January 11, 9:55 AM
What the Fork - January 3, 2:06 PM