East Bay Best-Sellers 

What you're reading this month.

East Bay Best-Sellers lists this month's top-selling books as reported by independent bookstores throughout the East Bay, including Bay Books, Black Oak, Cody's, Diesel, Pegasus, and Signal Books.

Nonfiction

1. Reading Lolita In Tehran, by Azar Nafisi (Random House, $13.95). Literature as liberation: amazing memoir of an underground women's literary salon that defied Iran's repressive Islamic fundamentalist regime.

2. Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary, by Rick Ayers and BHS students (North Atlantic, $6.95). If you're old enough to shave, you so need this book to understand what those dawgs are saying, yo.

3. The South Beach Diet, by Arthur Agatston (Rodale, $24.95). Carrots are evil, exercise is unimportant, meat and cheese are A-OK: it's the diet that lets you feel good.

NEW 4. The Spiral Staircase, by Karen Armstrong (Knopf, $24). The intellectual ex-nun reexamines the reasons for and consequences of her decision to renounce her vows.

NEW 5. Where Girls Come First, by Ilana DeBare (Tarcher, $24.95). Having cofounded Oakland's Julia Morgan School, the author examines the history of all-girl schools.

NEW 6. Sorrows Of Empire, by Chalmers Johnson (Metropolitan, $25). The Pentagon controls the world, America is an evil empire ... you get the drill.

7. Nickel And Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich (Owl, $13). A middle-class author pretended to be poor so as to describe the struggles of the underprivileged to mainly middle-class readers.

8. American Dynasty, by Kevin Phillips (Viking, $25.95). Would you believe the Bush family is an immensely powerful Machiavellian clan of aristocratic despots? Sure you would.

9. Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent et al. (Dell, $7.99). Jesus "knew" Mary Magdalene -- in the biblical sense -- claims this breathtakingly blasphemous 1983 bestseller that inspired The Da Vinci Code.

10. The Cheese Board Collective Works, by Cheese Board Collective (Ten Speed Press, $21.95). Recipes and philosophy from the most important little cheese shop in the world.

Fiction

1. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (Picador, $15). This lyrical family saga of a Greek-American youth halfway between girl and boy snagged last year's Pulitzer Prize.

2. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown (Doubleday, $24.95). A deft novelization of the bizarre Christian conspiracy theories popularized in 1983's Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

3. Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown (Pocket Star, $7.99). The Illuminati, the Vatican, doomsday weapons, and outlandish conspiracies aplenty populate Brown's precursor to his Da Vinci Code.

NEW 4. The Kalahari Typing School For Men, by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor $11.95). Morally upright Botswanan sleuth Precious Ramotswe returns to face a rival detective agency.

5. Life Of Pi, by Yann Martel (Harvest, $14). The author of this lively yarn about a boy and a beast surviving a shipwreck admits he "borrowed" the plot from a 1981 Brazilian novel.

NEW 6. Confessions Of Max Tivoli, by Andrew Sean Greer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23). The topsy-turvy life of a lovelorn San Franciscan who was born old and ages backward.

7. Mary, Called Magdalene, by Margaret George (Penguin, $16). The influence of The Da Vinci Code has propelled this novelization of Mary Magdalene's life up the charts.

8. The Five People You Meet In Heaven, by Mitch Albom (Hyperion, $19.95). Tear-jerking, saccharine parable of a maintenance man's seemingly unremarkable life -- and miraculously redemptive afterlife.

NEW 9. Drop City, by T. Coraghessan Boyle (Penguin, $14). Hilarious fictional exposé; of a well-intentioned but ultimately hypocritical '70s free-love commune.

NEW 10. The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl (Random House, $13.95). A serial killer in 19th-century Boston inflicts the torments of Dante's Inferno on his victims; amateur Dante-lovers hunt him down.

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