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 (Morrow, $25.95). Dubner’s fawning New York Times profile of trendy economist Levitt gets padded out with hackneyed insights and gee-whiz social theorizing.
2. Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $25.95). The Tipping Point cognition maven once again affirms what we already know: that snap judgments are often more accurate than careful decisions.
3. Plan B, by Anne Lamott (Riverhead, $24.95). Lamott emerges as a grunge Karen Armstrong, identifying as Christian while dallying in other spiritualities and trumpeting her far-left, Bush-loathing politics.
4. 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.
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. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95). Blink has reawakened interest in this earlier rehashing of the trendology and social patterning first popularized in 1981’s The Hundredth Monkey.
7. NEW Thomas Jefferson, by Christopher Hitchens (Eminent Lives, $19.95). The controversy over renaming Berkeley’s Jefferson School has made this insightful portrayal of the man Hitchens dubs “the author of America” essential reading.
8. NEW Oh the Glory of It All, by Sean Wilsey (Penguin, $25.95). Having extremely wealthy parents and access to fancy exclusive private schools can’t buy happiness, as this angry memoir reveals.
9. NEW Garlic and Sapphires, by Ruth Reichl (Penguin, $24.95). Wanting to eat anonymously, New York Times restaurant critic Reichl adopted elaborate alter egos, as this self-important memoir reveals.
10. Don’t Think of an Elephant, by George Lakoff (Chelsea Green, $10). Berkeley linguist Lakoff argues that the 2004 election hinged on semantics .
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 Zorro, by Isabel Allende (HarperCollins, $25.95). Allende recasts the pulp-fiction swashbuckler as a neo-Marxist freedom fighter with aristocratic flair.
3. NEW A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby (Riverhead, $24.95). A quartet of would-be suicides meet by accident on a London rooftop and share cathartic — and comic — tales of woe.
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. NEW The History of Love, by Nicolae Krauss (Norton, $23.95). A miserable Holocaust survivor and a sad teenage misfit trace the depths of their psychic pain in self-consciously literary intertwined tales.
6. NEW The Hummingbird’s Daughter, by Luis Alberto Urrea (Little, Brown, $24.95). The magical powers of a downtrodden peasant girl in 19th-century Mexico threaten to ignite a people’s revolution.
7. 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.
8. The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking, $24.95). Her maiden name is Monk — and a fictional monk, of all things, features in this tale of mysticism and soul searching, set in the Carolina Sea Islands.
9. Never Let Me Go , by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf, $24). A woman’s memories of life at a very experimental school fuel this thoughtful semifantasy.
10. 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.