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: Black Oak, Cody’s, Diesel, Pegasus, and Rakestraw Books.

NONFICTION

1. Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand (Ballantine, $15). The screen version of this Depression-era horse-racing saga is already generating Oscar buzz.

NEW 2. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, by Al Franken (Dutton, $24.95). Comedy writer and liberal pundit Franken takes devastating — and hilarious — aim at the corporate-controlled conservative media.

3. Small Wonder, by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper, $12.95). Well-intentioned but sanctimonious essays from a beloved novelist exploring her feelings in a post-9/11 world.

NEW 4. Schott’s Original Miscellany, by Ben Schott (Bloomsbury, $14.95). This self-consciously bizarre and somewhat pretentious little book of arcane trivia was a surprise bestseller in Britain.

5. Weapons of Mass Deception, by Sheldon Rampton and John C. Stauber (Tarcher, $11.95). An unforgiving portrait of the Bush administration’s heavy-handed and often ludicrous attempts at propaganda.

6. Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, by Elaine H. Pagels (Random House, $24.95). The New Testament is a lopsided compilation of texts retroactively deemed sacred; other Christian scriptures were suppressed for political reasons.

7. Running with Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs (Picador, $14). After his mom “gave” him to a crazy psychiatrist when he was a boy, Burroughs was raised in an environment that gives dysfunction a whole new dimension.

NEW 8. Sand in my Bra and Other Misadventures, edited by Jennifer Leo (Travelers’ Tales, $14.95). An anthology of lighthearted travel essays by mostly fearless (but occasionally fearful) female globetrotters.

NEW 9. The Zanzibar Chest, by Aidan Hartley (Atlantic Monthly, $24). Transcending genres, Hartley weaves wartime reportage, personal memoir, and political commentary into an eye-opening exploration of African colonialism.

10. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast (Plume, $14). Corruption, greed, and economic atrocities on a global scale are exposed to the harsh light of day.

FICTION

1. The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14). Childhood traumas, the civil rights movement, mysterious Black Madonnas, and a trio of beekeepers populate this overambitious Deep South melodrama.

2. Three Junes, by Julia Glass (Anchor, $14). Eloquent, National Book Award-winning saga of a melancholy Scottish family, traced through three loosely connected novellas.

3. 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.

4. 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.

NEW 5. The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Philippe Mason (Vintage, $14). The title character travels to Burma from Victorian London to fix a rare piano, only to find himself embroiled in colonial exotica.

NEW 6. The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri (Houghton Mifflin, $24). Pulitzer prizewinner Lahiri delivers another masterfully crafted epic of immigrants from India finding new lives in America.

7. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $11.95). This mystery, set in Botswana, stars an irresistibly warm, wry, and well-written female sleuth.

8. When the Elephants Dance, by Tess Uriza Holthe (Penguin, $14). Desperate yet proud Filipinos struggle to maintain their dignity during the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines in WWII.

9. Atonement, Ian McEwan (Anchor, $14). Booker Prize-winner McEwan’s latest epic examines the nature of perception.

NEW 10. Diary, by Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday, $24.95). Ever-edgy Palahniuk takes a new direction in this spooky, unsettling tale of a frustrated artist and her comatose husband.

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