East Bay Best-Sellers 

This month's top-selling books, reported by independent bookstores.

East Bay Best-Sellers lists this month's top-selling books as reported by independent bookstores in the East Bay, including: Avenue Books, Black Oak, Cody's, Collected Thoughts, Diesel, Pegasus, and Walden Pond.

NONFICTION

1. THE BOTANY OF DESIRE, by Michael Pollan (Random House, $24.95). A "plant's-eye view" of humanity's struggle to control nature explores the histories of apples, tulips, potatoes, and cannabis..

2. NEW PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE, by Gore Vidal (Thunder's Mouth, $10). In this loose assemblage of previously published articles, Vidal lambastes the US as a Nazi-like police state.

3. STUPID WHITE MEN, by Michael Moore (Regan Books, $24.95). Comic iconoclast Moore skewers, barbecues, and gleefully humiliates the Washington power elite.

4. FAST-FOOD NATION, by Eric Schlosser (Harper Collins, $13.95). Feces in the meat and the unsavory secret of Secret Sauce are but two of the revelations sizzling herein.

5. 9/11, by Noam Chomsky (Seven Stories, $8.95). Chomsky out-Chomskys himself, blaming America for the September 11 attacks and branding it a "terrorist nation."

6. SEABISCUIT, by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, $24.95). A horse is a horse, of course -- but no horse could ever run like this champion.

7. NICKEL AND DIMED, by Barbara Ehrenreich (Metropolitan, $23). Wondering how welfare reform was working out, the author worked for minimum wage.

8. MASTER OF THE SENATE: THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON, by Robert Caro (Knopf, $35). It takes a mere 1,100 pages to delineate the immense power LBJ wielded as a 1950s Machiavellian senator.

9. NEW DARWIN AWARDS: EVOLUTION IN ACTION, by Wendy Northcutt (Plume, $10). Lurid reports of doofuses accidentally killing themselves make those of us higher on the evolutionary scale laugh.

10. CHEZ PANISSE FRUIT, by Alice Waters (HarperCollins, $34.95). Berkeley's master chef reveals her secrets for transforming fresh fruit into mouthwatering delicacies.

FICTION

1. EMPIRE FALLS, by Richard Russo (Vintage Books, $14.95). A dysfunctional cast of colorful characters spirals toward oblivion in a dilapidated and dying New England mill town.

2. BEL CANTO, by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins, $13.95). This offbeat epic follows a band of South American terrorists who seize an embassy, a Japanese industrialist, and an opera singer.

3. EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED, by Jonathan Safran Foer (Houghton Mifflin, $25). A twentysomething seeks his grandfather's shtetl in this pyrotechnical, multilayered marvel.

4. HOW TO BE GOOD, by Nick Hornby (Riverhead, $24.95). Extramarital shenanigans and a surplus of good intentions threaten to drive a marriage onto the rocks.

5. THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY, by Michael Chabon (Random House, $15). A Berkeley author's swashbuckling tale of two cousins who create a comic-book hero.

6. NEW THE BONDSWOMAN'S NARRATIVE, by Hannah Crafts; Henry Louis Gates Jr., editor (Warner, $24.95). Gates adds a fascinating introduction to this unique Afrocentric melodrama penned in the 1850s by an escaped slave.

7. NANNY DIARIES, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (St. Martin's, $24.95). Two Mary Poppinses rip into the elitism and hypocrisy of a barely fictionalized socialite mater.

8. NEW FIVE QUARTERS OF THE ORANGE, by Joanne Harris (Harper, $13.95). The sequel to Chocolat blends scandal, la Résistance, and (quelle surprise!) recipes in a small French casserole -- er, village.

9. NEW EMPEROR OF OCEAN PARK, by Stephen L. Carter (Knopf, $26.95). A Yale prof penned this suspenseful thriller exposing Beltway corruption.

10.ATONEMENT, by Ian McEwan (Doubleday, $26). McEwan dissects the nature of perception in this intimate character study that spans the decades.

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