East Bay Bookshelf 

A look at what we're buying this month

Nonfiction

1. A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS, by David Eggers (Vintage, $14). Sad but true and oh so ambitious, this memoir of orphaned siblings gives us every gory detail.

2. PERSONAL HISTORY, by Katherine Graham (Vintage, $15). In her memoir, the late Washington Post publisher recalls a rich youth, her husband's suicide, and lots of headline-making news.

3. ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY, by David Sedaris (Little, Brown & Co., $14.95). The NPR autobiographer's essays poke fun at family life down South as well as life as an expatriate in Paris.

4. KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, by Anthony Bourdain (Ecco, $14). A scary amount of smooching, spitting, and other unsanitary stuff goes on behind the scenes at fancy restaurants.

5. CHERRY, by Mary Karr (Plume, $14). In this unflinchingly honest sequel to The Liar's Club, a teenage Mary enters the world of drugs, cars, lust, and love in her dull Texas town.

6. ANGER, by Thich Nhat Hanh (Riverhead, $23.95). Anger is suffering, the noted Buddhist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee points out. It sure is. With his usual blend of anecdote and lessons, Hanh shows how mindfulness can help.

7. NICKEL AND DIMED, by Barbara Ehrenreich (Metropolitan, $23). Wondering how welfare reform was working out, the author took minimum-wage jobs to see whether she could survive.

8. FAST-FOOD NATION, by Eric Schlosser (Houghton Mifflin, $25). Scary revelations galore: Will you still buy Big Macs when you learn the secret of Secret Sauce?

9. GEORGE W. BUSHISMS, by George W. Bush; edited by Jacob Weisberg (Simon & Schuster, $9.95). Over 100 direct quotes from you-know-who have a new meaning these days.

10. ITS NOT ABOUT THE BIKE, by Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins (Putnam, $24.95). The Tour de France winner spares no detail in this look at how both hard training and catastrophic illness helped him become a hero to many.

Fiction

1. THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY, by Michael Chabon (Random House, $26.95). This tale of two cousins who create a comic-book hero netted its Berkeley author a Pulitzer.

2. WHITE TEETH, by Zadie Smith (Knopf, $14). Set mainly in London, this funny-sad story of love, friendship, memory, and race by a twentysomething newcomer drew critical raves.

3. THE BLIND ASSASSIN, by Margaret Atwood (Anchor, $14). When the car containing one of two sisters sails off a cliff in broad daylight, her sibling enters a dark world of wondering.

4. THE RED TENT, by Anita Diamant (Picador, $14). Briefly noted in the Book of Genesis, our narrator is Dinah, daughter of Jacob; she recalls the triumphs and tragedies of biblical-era women.

5. BEE SEASON, by Myla Goldberg (Knopf, $13). After a nine-year-old wins an important spelling bee, her family's dynamic changes completely: She's the star now, and she watches her role unfold.

6. GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, by Tracy Chevalier (Dutton, $24.95). Set in the household of 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, this novel focuses on his servant-turned-model, Griet.

7. FURY, by Salman Rushdie (Random House, $24.95). Having abandoned his family and invented a new kind of doll, wealthy Bombay-bred philosophy professor Malik Solanka rushes headlong into 21st-century American society.

8. INTERPRETER OF MALADIES, by Jhumpa Lahiri (Mariner, $12). Love, longing, and death pepper this Pulitzer-snagging collection of stories set in Bengal, Boston, and beyond.

9. GHOST WORLD, by Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics, $9.95). Now a movie, this graphic tale by the East Bay underground cartoonist follows quirky teens Enid and Becky down the road to adulthood.

10. GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE, by Susan Vreeland (Penguin, $11). Starting in modern-day Pennsylvania then plunging into the Holocaust and beyond, eight stories form the "biography" of a painting.

The Other List


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THE GREAT AMERICAN PAPERBACK, by Richard A. Lupoff (Collectors Press, $60). Richly illustrated, this volume pays long-overdue tribute to the neat but quirky art of the paperback-book cover.

ASCENDING PECULIARITY, edited by Karen Wilkin (Harcourt, $35). Here's a collection of interviews done by the amazingly prolific and gloomily humorous illustrator, who died last year.

HOUSE OF LEAVES, by Mark Z. Danielewski (Pantheon, $19.95). To call this ghost story multilayered is a vast understatement; footnotes and subtexts abound, and the act of reading itself takes on new meaning.

KING OF THE CITY, by Michael Moorcock (Morrow, $26). Set in London during the '60s, this novel follows the adventures of an almost-famous rocker and his mates, including the world's richest man.

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