East Bay Best-Sellers 

What should be on your nightstand this month.

This month's top-selling books as reported by independent bookstores in the East Bay, including Bay Books, Black Oak, Cody's, Diesel, Pegasus, and Signal Books.


1. Don't Think of an Elephant, by George Lakoff (Chelsea Green, $10). Berkeley linguist Lakoff argues that the 2004 election hinged on semantics -- how the candidates used language to frame the terms of debate.

2. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book), by the writers of The Daily Show and Jon Stewart (Warner, $24.95). A parody of high-school history textbooks that tries very very hard to be funny.

3. Chronicles, Vol. 1, by Bob Dylan (Simon & Schuster, $24). This lyrical autobiography starts in 1961 with his life-changing arrival in bohemian Manhattan.

4. NEW Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris (Back Bay, $8.95). First published before he hit the big-time, this collection of short comic tales has now become a Christmas classic.

5. What's the Matter with Kansas?, by Thomas Frank (Metropolitan, $24). Anthropological study of those durn ignorant rednecks who simply refuse to be politically enlightened by their intellectual superiors on the coasts.

6. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton, $26.95). This vivid new biography examines the Bard's personal tribulations and speculates on the origins of his genius.

7. Berkeley: The Life and Spirit of a Remarkable Town, by Ellen Weis and Kiran Singh (North Atlantic, $16.95). Luscious photographs and lively text capture every imaginable facet of this eccentric burg.

8. NEW A Tale of Love and Darkness, by Amos Oz (Harcourt, $26). Mesmerizing autobiography of the great Jewish writer, brimming with uniquely personal observations on the idealistic early Zionism that created Israel.

9. Stiff, by Mary Roach (Norton, $13.95). A humorous but ultimately enlightening exploration of what happens to our bodies once we're done with them.

10. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris (Little, Brown, $24.95). This latest effort by the only man brave enough to call his sister's feet "hooves" can make you laugh and cry within a single sentence.


1. The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, $26). Roth applies his deft touch to a 1940s almost-America in which Charles Lindbergh wins the presidency, leading the nation into fascism.

2. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (Picador, $15). Pulitzer-winning family saga of a Greek-American youth halfway between girl and boy.

3. NEW The Final Solution, by Michael Chabon (Fourth Estate, $16.95). An elderly Sherlock Holmes is embroiled in an unlikely WWII mystery featuring a loquacious German parrot.

4. 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.

5. NEW Runaway, by Alice Munro (Knopf, $25). Six profound new tales -- each midway between short story and novella -- from an undisputed master of modern fiction.

6. NEW The Murder Room, by P.D. James (Vintage, $13.95). After a member of a wealthy museum-owning family is murdered, everyone is a suspect in this latest puzzler starring detective Adam Dalgliesh.

7. NEW Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23). In a letter to his young son, an Iowa preacher traces his family's remarkable spiritual maturation and the Midwest's turbulent history.

8. The Known World, by Edward P. Jones (Amistad, $13.95). This disjointed tale of a free black man who owned slaves in antebellum Virginia snagged a Pulitzer.

9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $12). An autistic narrator emulates Sherlock Holmes to solve a canine murder.

10. Bangkok 8, by John Burdett (Vintage, $12.95). A vicious murder in Thailand's capital launches this gripping mystery with an irresistible half-Thai, half-American cop narrator.


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