East Bay Best-Sellers 

What you're buying this 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. 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.

2. NEW Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $25.95). The Tipping Point cognition maven again affirms what we already know: that snap judgments are often more accurate than careful decisions.

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

4. 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.

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

6. NEW The Polysyllabic Spree, by Nick Hornby (McSweeney's, $14). A compilation of the smug, self-laudatory columns Hornby wrote for trendy lit-mag The Believer.

7 . Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond (Norton, $16.95). The circular reasoning of this grandiose attempt to explain away the civilizational achievements of different continents has become the premier palliative for Euro-guilt.

8. NEW French Women Don't Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano (Knopf, $22). Enjoy eating -- but in balanced moderation á la française, says this feel-good guide for diet-haters.

9. 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.

10. Chronicles, Vol. 1, by Bob Dylan (Simon & Schuster, $24). The first installment of Dylan's lyrical autobiography starts in 1961 with young Zimmerman's life-changing arrival in bohemian Manhattan.

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. NEW Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami (Knopf, $25.95). This double-narrative of a tough teenage runaway and a traumatized old man is packed with Murakami's trademark winning weirdness.

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

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Confessions Of Max Tivoli, by Andrew Sean Greer (Picador, $14). The topsy-turvy life of a lovelorn San Franciscan who was born old and ages backward.

7 . Love, by Toni Morrison (Vintage, $13). The pages of Morrison's latest novella, examining lives and loves in a "coloreds-only" beach resort, erupt with emotional intensity.

8. NEW The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (Harvest, $14). A lovestruck librarian involuntarily jumps back and forth through time, with comic and moving romantic consequences.

9. 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.

10. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown (Doubleday, $24.95). A deft novelization of the bizarre Christian conspiracy theories popularized in 1983's Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

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