What's Selling Like Hotcakes 

Economics and randy cowboys have this month all wrapped up.

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

Nonfiction

NONFICTION

1.The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion (Knopf, $23.95). Soon after ex-Daily Cal editor Didion finished writing this memoir about the death of her husband, her daughter died too.

2. Collapse, by Jared Diamond (Penguin, $17). The Guns, Germs and Steel author uses historical case studies from Easter Island to Greenland to illuminate why societies collapse.

3. NEW Night, by Elie Wiesel (Hill & Wang, $9). Thanks to Oprah, Wiesel's classic, stunning Holocaust memoir is topping the charts once again after fifty years. Take that, Ahmadinejad.

4. NEW The World Is Flat, by Thomas Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27.50). New York Times analyst's latest opus explores the causes and consequences of exponentially accelerating globalization.

5. Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (William Morrow, $25.95). Dubner's praiseful profile of trendy economist Levitt highlights several of his "counterintuitive" (i.e., self-evident) economic hypotheses.

6. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins (Plume, $15). A former high-powered corporate consultant reveals the conspiratorial inner workings of international development loans and foreign aid.

7. A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle (Dutton, $24.95). New Age pop-psych guru Tolle encourages mankind to abandon its ego and strive for peace.

8.

NEW Animals in Translation, by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson (Harvest, $15). Grandin, autistic herself, draws parallels between autistic kids' thought patterns and animals' emotions.

9. Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, $35). Presidential historian Goodwin tries to shake off the taint of plagiarism with this fresh analysis of Abraham Lincoln's political savvy.

10. NEW Generation Debt, by Anya Kamenetz (Riverhead, $23.95). Kamenetz identifies a real problem -- student loans and job competition are burying America's twentysomethings -- but proffers only half-baked solutions.

FICTION

1. Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14). In a letter to his young son, an Iowa preacher traces his family's spiritual maturation and the Midwest's turbulent history.

2. A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey (Anchor, $14.95). This fictionalized memoir (passed off as true until recently) traces a privileged youth's desperate descent into and recovery from drug addiction.

3. Brokeback Mountain, by Annie Proulx (Scribner, $9.95). Proulx' wistfully homoerotic short story of two frustrated sheepherders has been repackaged as a slender book.

4. On Beauty, by Zadie Smith (Penguin, $25.95) Smith's latest multiracial seriocomic melodrama transfers the plot of Howards End to contemporary Massachusetts amidst intellectuals and rappers.

5. Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $14.95). This double-narrative of a tough teenage runaway and a traumatized old man is packed with Murakami's trademark winning weirdness.

6. NEW Close Range, by Annie Proulx (Scribner, $14). Proulx' collection of Wyoming stories originally drew little notice when published in 2000, but it's Mountain the best-seller lists now.

7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14). Afghanistan's political upheavals are a striking backdrop for this powerful examination of cultural and personal morality.

8. Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson (Back Bay Books, $13.95). A brooding meditation on human corruption disguised as a literary detective thriller.

9. Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden (Vintage, $14.95) Casting controversy and Oscar buzz for Geisha's new film version have propelled Golden's 1997 historical fantasy back up the charts.

10. The Sea, by John Banville (Knopf, $23). Banville's sweetly lyrical reminiscence of summer adolescence in a 1950s British seaside resort won this year's Man Booker Prize.

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