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. Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (William Morrow, $25.95). An expansion of Dubner's praiseful New York Times profile of trendy economist Levitt.
2. Collapse, by Jared Diamond (Viking, $29.95). The Guns, Germs and Steel author uses case studies from Easter Island to Greenland to illuminate why societies collapse.
3. 1776, by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, $32). Refreshing and factually precise analysis of the revolutionary year when American colonists fought a desperate war for democracy and freedom.
4. On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton, $9.95). An academic treatise that treats BS -- exaggerations, distortions, trash culture -- as a legitimate topic; the author concludes that it has nearly destroyed society.
5. Don't Think of an Elephant, by George Lakoff (Chelsea Green, $10). Berkeley linguist argues that the 2004 election hinged on semantics -- how the candidates used language to frame the terms of debate.
6. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay Books, $14.95). Gladwell's Blink was preceded by this rehashing of the trendology and social patterning first popularized in 1981's The Hundredth Monkey.
7 . NEW The Republican War on Science, by Chris Mooney (Basic, $24.95). Mooney reminds us that some Republican politicians scoff at global warming, discourage contraception, downplay evolution, and quash stem-cell research.
8. NEW You: An Owner's Manual, by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet Oz (Collins, $24.95). Old-fashioned health tips and common-sense lifestyle advice repackaged as a trendy self-help handbook for dummies.
9. The World Is Flat, by Thomas L. Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27.50). The cantankerous New York Times columnist analyzes the significance -- both beneficial and ruinous -- of the new economic globalization.
10. Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $25.95). A cognition maven affirms what we already know: that snap judgments are often more accurate than careful decisions.
1. 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.
2. NEW 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.
3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, $15.95). Two practical magicians, as different in nature as oil and vinegar, meet and work wonders in this hefty historical fantasy.
4. NEW Shalimar the Clown, by Salman Rushdie (Random House, $25.95). Rushdie risks a clown fatwa with this allegorical epic of Kashmiri clown Shalimar and his very personalized motivations for terrorism.
5. Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Penguin, $15). This convoluted literary thriller aspires to be a Spanish Da Vinci Code with Satanic overtones.
6. NEW Birds Without Wings, by Louis De Bernières (Vintage, $15). The author of Corelli's Mandolin returns with this sweeping historical saga of Turkey emerging from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.
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. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $12). Last year's most unusual debut novel features an autistic narrator emulating his hero Sherlock Holmes to solve a canine murder.
9. NEW I Am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe (Picador, $15). With devastating wit, Wolfe dissects the social and intellectual hypocrisies of dorm life in a prototypical elite private college.
10. The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss (Norton, $23.95). A miserable Holocaust survivor and a sad teenage misfit trace the depths of their psychic pain in self-consciously literary intertwined tales.
Culture Spy - April 20, 9:52 AM
Culture Spy - April 13, 12:18 PM