East Bay Best-Sellers 

What you should be buying next month.

East Bay Best-Sellers lists this month's top-selling books as reported by independent bookstores throughout the East Bay, including Bay Books, Black Oak, Cody's, Diesel, Pegasus, and Signal Books.

NONFICTION

1. Don't Think of an Elephant, by George Lakoff (Chelsea Green, $10). Berkeley linguist Lakoff argues that the 2004 election hinged on semantics.

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. NEW Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins (Berrett-Koehler, $24.95). A former corporate consultant reveals the conspiratorial inner workings of international development loans and foreign aid.

4. NEW Collapse, by Jared Diamond (Viking, $29.95). The Guns, Germs and Steel author uses historical case studies (from Easter Island to Greenland) to illuminate why societies collapse.

5. Chronicles, Vol. 1, by Bob Dylan (Simon & Schuster, $24). The first installment of Dylan's lyrical autobiography starts in 1961 in bohemian Manhattan.

6. Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi (Random House, $13.95). Literature as liberation: amazing memoir of an underground women's literary salon.

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 On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee (Scribner, $35). An eye-opening and mouth-watering examination of food, from its molecular components to the best way to spot a ripe melon.

9. What's the Matter With Kansas?, by Thomas Frank (Metropolitan, $24). Anthropological study of those rednecks who refuse to be politically enlightened.

10. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon, $11.95). In the first volume of her groundbreaking graphic memoir, Satrapi illustrates her Iranian girlhood under the totalitarian Islamic rule of the ayatollahs.

FICTION

1. 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.

2. The Final Solution, by Michael Chabon (Fourth Estate, $16.95). Reissue of Chabon's 2003 novella starring an elderly Sherlock Holmes.

3. The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, $26). Roth applies his deft touch to a fascist 1940s almost-America.

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

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $12). 2004's most unusual debut novel features an autistic narrator.

6. NEW Birth of Venus, by Sarah Dunant (Random House, $21.95). Gratuitous sex and modern diction punctuate this tale of a teenage girl in 15th-century Florence.

7. NEW Skeleton Man, by Tony Hillerman (HarperCollins, $25.95). Native American gumshoes Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are back in this latest caper involving diamonds, a plane crash, and an unsolved fifty-year-old puzzle.

8. Life Of Pi, by Yann Martel (Harvest, $14). The author of this lively yarn about a boy and a beast surviving a shipwreck admits he "borrowed" the plot from a 1981 Brazilian novel.

9. NEW Tears of the Giraffe, by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $11.95). The second installment of the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series sees Precious Ramotswe tracking a missing American while planning her own marriage.

10. NEW The News from Paraguay, by Lily Tuck (Perennial, $13.95). A beautiful 19th-century Irish lass finds her way to Paraguay as the mistress of an egotistical dictator who brings the country to ruin.

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