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.
1. 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.
2. NEW The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan (Penguin, $26.95). A Cal prof traces the ultimate origins of four different types of meals (from McDonald's to organic), discovering that corn is omnipresent.
3. NEW What to Eat , by Marion Nestle (North Point, $30). The author guides readers through the perilous aisles of a typical supermarket, pointing out the dangers in our national food supply.
4. Garlic and Sapphires,by Ruth Reichl (Penguin, $15). Wanting to eat anonymously, New York Times restaurant critic Reichl adopted elaborate alter egos, as this self-important memoir reveals.
5. 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.
6. Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (William Morrow, $25.95). Dubner's praiseful profile of trendy economist Levitt highlights several of Levitt's "counterintuitive" economic hypotheses.
7. NEW Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell (Simon & Schuster, $14). NPR mascot Vowell brings her trademark clichéd morbidity to a contrived presidential-assassination-themed road trip, "joking" that Bush should be next.
8. NEW American Prometheus, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin (Vintage, $17.95). A detailed portrait of J. Robert Oppenheimer, from his days as a Berkeley physicist through the Manhattan Project to his eventual clash with anticommunists.
9. The End of Faith, by Sam Harris (Norton, $13.95). A forceful and unapologetic argument for the elimination of humanity's reliance on organized religion.
10. NEW Organic, Inc., by Samuel Fromartz (Harcourt, $25). A well-researched investigative report about the corporatization of the once-freewheeling organic food industry.
1. NEW Saturday, by Ian McEwan (Anchor, $14.95). McEwan muses on life, science, art, love, and war through the eyes of a disaffected surgeon reassessing his raison d'être.
2. The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss (Norton, $13.95). A miserable Holocaust survivor and a sad teenage misfit trace the depths of their psychic pain in self-consciously literary intertwined tales.
3. Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson (Back Bay Books, $13.95). A brooding meditation on human corruption disguised as a literary detective thriller set in Cambridge, England.
4. NEW Suite Française, by Irene Nemirovsky (Knopf, $24.95). Written by a Russian-Jewish émigré in Paris as the Nazis descended, this lost masterpiece languished undiscovered for sixty years.
5. NEW Everyman, by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, $24). A transparently autobiographical novelization of Roth's own story, with an aging narcissist reviewing his amoral and eventually pointless life.
6. Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14). In a letter to his young son, an Iowa preacher traces his family's remarkable spiritual maturation and the Midwest's turbulent history.
7. Snow, by Orhan Pamuk (Vintage, $14.95). This kaleidoscopic novel follows a melancholy poet snowbound in a desolate mountain town with Islamic fundamentalists, Turkish communists, and Kurdish nationalists.
8. NEW Blue Shoes and Happiness, by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $21.95). Precious Ramotswe and her assistant Grace Makutsi are back once again to solve a series of quaint Botswanan mysteries.
9. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown (Anchor, $14.95). A deft novelization of the bizarre Christian conspiracy theories popularized in 1983's Holy Blood, Holy Grail.
10. NEW March, by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, $14). Completely ludicrous reimagining of Little Women, following the sisters' missing father, Mr. March, through postfeminist sexual escapades.
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