Abba. Who Knew? 

Oh, the tastes that bind the East Bay together.

They say you can learn a lot about people by looking at their book and CD collections. Well, if you go to Amazon.com, you can actually search by city to see what its biggest sellers are. It's a virtual dip into the living rooms of Danville, Pinole, and El Sobrante -- places we heretofore could only imagine in our dreams. The souls of the inhabitants can be seen in the nonfiction they read, and the heartbeat of each city pulses in its music. So read on, and along the way we might just learn a little bit about ourselves in this crazy patchwork quilt we call the East Bay.

ALAMEDA

Most popular nonfiction book: The Primer of Drug Addiction: A Concise, Nontechnical Guide to the Actions, Uses, and Side Effects of Psychoactive Drugs

Most popular CDs: This Is Alice Music, Vol. 4; Bill Evans, The Last Waltz: The Final Recordings Live; Mamma Mia, Musical Based on the Songs of Abba, cast recording

ALBANY

Book: The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit

Music: The Beatles, Abbey Road; the Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed; the Beatles, Let It Be

ANTIOCH

Book: The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court

Music: The Mark and Brian Show, Little Drummer Boys; Britney Spears, Oops, I Did It Again; N'Sync, No Strings Attached

BERKELEY

Book: Models of Capitalism: Growth and Stagnation in the Modern Era

Music: Renata Scotto, Italian Opera Arias; Himalaya, soundtrack; The Art of the Prima Donna, Thomas Augustine Arne, composer

CASTRO VALLEY

Book: Bargain Hunting in the Bay Area

Music: Nneena Freelon, Soulcall; David Benoit, Professional Dreamer; Chris Isaak, Forever Blue

CONCORD

Book: Bay Area Backroads

Music: Mamma Mia Soundtrack; Brooks and Dunne, Steers and Stripes; Survivor: Official Soundtrack

DANVILLE

Book: No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court

Music: Mamma Mia, Soundtrack; Abba, Forever; Abba, Gold

EL CERRITO

Book: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity

Music: Jimmie Dale Gilmore, One Endless Night; Ken Burns, Jazz box; The Sound of Music, original soundtrack

EMERYVILLE

Book: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive

Music: Euphoria, Euphoria; the Supreme Beings of Leisure, The Supreme Beings of Leisure; Kruder & Dorfmeister, The K&D Sessions

FREMONT

Books (Nerd alert: we have to include at least four): Calculus of a Single Variable; Assembly Language Programming and Organization; Fiber Optic Test & Measurement; Math Steps: Level 5

Music: KKSF Sampler; Asia, Asia; Classic Williams, Romance of the Guitar

HAYWARD

Book: Diabetes for Dummies

Music: The Time, Ice Cream Castle; AC/DC, High Voltage; Mamma Mia soundtrack

HERCULES

Book: Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money -- That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Music: Beatles, 1; Sade, Lovers Rock ; Sarah Brightman, La Luna

LAFAYETTE

Book: Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Leases

Music: Mamma Mia, soundtrack; Abba, Gold; Huey Lewis and the News, Time Flies: The Best of Huey Lewis and the News

MARTINEZ

Book: Weight Watchers Simply the Best: 250 Prizewinning Family Recipes

Music: Mamma Mia, soundtrack; Matchbox Twenty, Mad Season; Wonder Boys: Music from the Motion Picture

OAKLAND

Book: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Home Security

Music: Various, This Is Alice 4; Bill Evans, The Last Waltz; the Persuasions, Sing the Grateful Dead

ORINDA

Book: Memoirs of an Ex Prom Queen

Music: Mamma Mia soundtrack; Renee Fleming, Sings Puccini; America, Greatest Hits

PINOLE

Book: The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life

Music: Beatles, 1; Eric Clapton and B.B. King, Riding with the King; Sade, Lovers Rock

PLEASANT HILL

Book: The Doomsday Book

Music: Mamma Mia soundtrack; Santana, Supernatural; Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas

RICHMOND

Book: To Place Our Deeds: The African-American Community in Richmond, CA, 1910-1963

Music: The Persuasions, Sing Frank Zappa; the Persuasions, Sing the Grateful Dead; Susana Baca, Eco de Sombras

SAN LEANDRO

Book: Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger

Music: Andrea Bocelli, Romanza; Camelot soundtrack; Sade, Lovers Rock.

SAN PABLO

Book: Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and Your Life

Music: Sade, Lovers Rock; Beatles, 1; Eric Clapton and B.B. King, Riding with the King

WALNUT CREEK

Book: A New Brand of Expertise: How Independent Consultants, Free Agents, and Internal Managers Are Transforming the World of Work

Music: Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine; Abba, Gold; Ruben Gonzales, Chanchullo


Looks like the Swedish invasion has indeed hit the hinterlands, albeit via Abba instead of the Sahara Hotnights. Sounds good to me.

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