Freaky Snow 

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 Analog Books, Bay Books, Black Oak, Cody's, Diesel, and Pegasus.


1 . Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (William Morrow, $25.95). An expansion of Dubner's praiseful New York Times profile of trendy economist Levitt, with new revelations.

2. NEW The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion (Knopf, $23.95). Soon after ex-Daily Californian editor Didion finished writing this memoir about the death of her husband, her daughter died too.

3. Chronicles, Vol. 1, by Bob Dylan (Simon & Schuster, $14). The first installment of Dylan's lyrical autobiography starts in 1961.

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

5. On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton, $9.95). An academic treatise that treats BS -- exaggerations, distortions, trash culture -- as a legitimate topic; the author concludes that bullshit has nearly destroyed society.

6. NEW 1491, by Charles C. Mann (Knopf, $30). Intriguing overview of the latest speculative research about pre-Columbian America, with a healthy dollop of Euro-bashing.

7. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95). Gladwell's Blink has reawakened interest in this, his earlier rehashing of the trendology and social patterning first popularized in 1981's The Hundredth Monkey.

8 . NEW The End of Faith, by Sam Harris (Norton, $13.95). Religion will be the death of us all, Harris argues in this impassioned (and occasionally terrifying) plea for god-free rationality.

9. NEW A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey (Anchor, $14.95). This 21st-century Man with the Golden Arm traces a privileged youth's desperate descent into and recovery from drug addiction.

10. NEW The Game, by Neil Strauss (Regan Books, $29.95). True story of a frustrated chump who learns creepy seduction techniques from elite Casanovas, then bails out of "the game" for true love.


1. Snow, by Orhan Pamuk (Vintage, $14.95). This kaleidoscopic novel follows a melancholy poet snowbound in a desolate mountain town with Islamic fundamentalists, Turkish communists, and Kurdish nationalists.

2. NEW Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman (Morrow, $26.95). When a complacent London talent agent discovers he's the son of an African trickster god, his life goes completely haywire.

3. On Beauty, by Zadie Smith (Penguin, $25.95) Smith's latest multiracial seriocomic melodrama transfers the plot of Howards End to contemporary Massachusetts amidst intellectuals and rappers.

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. The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth (Vintage, $14.95). In a 1940s almost-America, Charles Lindbergh wins the presidency, leading the nation into fascism.

6. NEW The March, by E.L. Doctorow (Random House, $25.95). General Sherman's brutal Civil War march through the South as seen through the eyes of a panoply of offbeat characters.

7. Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer (Perennial, $13.95). A twentysomething seeks his grandfather's shtetl in this pyrotechnical, multilayered marvel -- recently made into a Hollywood blockbuster.

8. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf, $24). A woman's memories of life at a very experimental school fuel this thoughtful semifantasy.

9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $12). Last year's most unusual debut features an autistic narrator emulating his hero Sherlock Holmes to solve a canine murder.

10. Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Penguin, $15). This convoluted literary thriller set in 1945 Barcelona aspires to be a Spanish Da Vinci Code with Satanic overtones.


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