What You’re Snapping Up

In the latest best-sellers, an ex-president, the Mongol hordes, and two gay cowpokes.

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. Collapse, by Jared Diamond (Penguin, $17). The Guns, Germs and Steel author uses historical case studies from Easter Island to Greenland to illuminate why societies collapse.

2. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins (Plume, $15). A former high-powered corporate consultant reveals the conspiratorial inner workings of international development loans and foreign aid.

3. NEW Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster, $25). The onetime peanut farmer and habitat hammerer updates his “national malaise” speech with a gloomy prognosis for the 21st century.

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

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

6. 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.

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

8. A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey (Anchor, $14.95). Scandal has flung doubt onto this graphically gross and amazing popular alleged memoir about a descent into drug addiction.

9. NEW Genghis Khan, by Jack Weatherford (Three Rivers, $14.95). Globetrotting Weatherford strives to salvage the bloodthirsty reputation of the Mongol chieftain (and his dynastic progeny) who conquered much of Eurasia.

10. NEW Marley and Me, by John Grogan (William Morrow, $21.95). Dog lovers are drooling with delight over this saccharine tale of a Labrador retriever named Marley, “the world’s worst dog.”


1. Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $14.95). This double-narrative of a tough teenage runaway and a traumatized old man is packed with Murakami’s trademark winning weirdness.

2. Memories of My Melancholy Whores, by Gabriel García Márquez (Knopf, $20). Márquez’ latest novella borrows the plot of a Kawabata story about an elderly misogynist finding love with an unconscious teen prostitute.

3. 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.

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. Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14). In a letter to his young son, an Iowa preacher traces his family’s remarkable spiritual maturation and the Midwest’s turbulent history.

6. The Sea, by John Banville (Knopf, $23). Banville’s sweetly lyrical reminiscence of summer adolescence in a 1950s British seaside resort won this year’s Man Booker prize.

7. 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.

8. The Lighthouse, by P.D. James (Knopf, $25.95). James delivers again with an intelligent literary mystery that finds Inspector Dalgliesh on a deadly Cornish island.

9. Runaway, by Alice Munro (Vintage, $14.95). A collection of heart-wrenching and piquant emotional vignettes from the modern master of the short-story genre.

10. NEW Brokeback Mountain, by Annie Proulx (Scribner, $9.95). Proulx’ wistfully homoerotic short story of two frustrated Wyoming sheepherders has been repackaged as a slender book.


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