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Unstrange Phenomena

20 April 2010

Top 15 Bestsellers of What America is Reading: 20 Apr 2010

From Denny: We all love books and nonfiction is my favorite genre though I've been known to day trip into science fiction and fantasy fiction on a regular basis from time to time. :) Since the world runs at a fast pace it's a real delight to sit down - and slow down - with a book about what's happening in the world.

These bestsellers seem to come in twos: two popular books about Wall Street, two popular comedy, two popular about African-Americans, two popular spiritual, two about other cultures, two about the culture of women: in the kitchen and marriage...

What's interesting about this list of bestsellers is most are about recent, a couple of generations ago and ancient history. There are two about comedy - both written by women. Then there are two about African-Americans, one about our current President. The book about America's financial meltdown is the number one bestseller - like that was a surprise. Everyone has been trying to figure out how to avoid the same stupidity in the future.

Two books are written by women about a practical search for spirituality by exploring the wisdom of the ages, weighing their options and applying what they think will work for them in their lives.

This selection of popular bestsellers comprises a wide assortment of interests. Take advantage of clicking on their title links and visiting the Amazon book store. Why? The reason I enjoy Amazon so much is because they deeply discount hardcover books (my favorite choice for a lasting library). They also are a global company and ship worldwide.



*** Click on the title links to see the deeply discounted prices of these great books over at Amazon!







1. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

By Michael Lewis

Weeks on list: 4 • The financial meltdown wasn't a surprise to everyone, according to Michael Lewis. His new book, The Big Short, tells the story of the lucky few who bet against the market, and ended up with big fortunes to show for it.

Hardcover, 288pp, $27.95, W. W. Norton & Company, Pub Date: Mar. 15, 2010







2. The Bridge - The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

By David Remnick

Weeks on list: 1 • Largely told through the prism of race, David Remnick's The Bridge is an exhaustive history of America's first African-American president. Remnick, a New Yorker editor, takes the reader from colonial Kenya, where President Obama's father grew up; to the gritty world of South Side Chicago politics, where Obama cut his political teeth; to the historic presidential race in 2008. Based on numerous on-the-record interviews with friends, associates and Obama himself, The Bridge is the most expansive look yet at where Obama came from, how he came to train his eye on the presidency, and how he executed that vision.

Hardcover, 672pp, $29.95, Knopf, Pub Date: Apr. 6, 2010







3. Women Food and God - An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

By Geneen Roth

Weeks on list: 3 • Since adolescence, Geneen Roth has gained and lost more than 1,000 pounds. She has been dangerously overweight and dangerously underweight. She has been plagued by feelings of shame and self-hatred, and she has felt euphoric after losing a quick few pounds on a fad diet. Then one day, on the verge of suicide, she did something radical: She dropped the struggle, ended the war, stopped trying to fix, deprive and shame herself. She began trusting her body and questioning her beliefs -- and it worked. She begins her book with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive.

Hardcover, 224pp, $24.00, Scribner, Pub Date: Mar. 1, 2010





4. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

By Chelsea Handler

Weeks on list: 5 • The essays in Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, a new collection by comedienne and talk show host Chelsea Handler, take aim at childhood, adulthood and daughterhood. And, as was the case in My Horizontal Life and Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, her love life is fair game, too.

Hardcover, 256pp, $25.99, Grand Central Publishing, Pub Date: Mar. 9, 2010







5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot

Weeks on list: 10 • Henrietta Lacks is known to scientists simply as "HeLa." She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells -- taken without her knowledge -- became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than 60 years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they would weigh more than 50 million metric tons -- as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Author Rebecca Skloot explores the life of Henrietta, the woman behind the science.

Hardcover, 384pp, $26.00, Crown, Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2010






6. The Happiness Project

By Gretchen Rubin

Weeks on list: 11 • Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon on a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. With humor and insight, she chronicles 12 months spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. She didn't make drastic changes, but rather focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions, and she immersed herself in guiding principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her -- and what didn't.

Hardcover, 320pp, $25.99, Harper, Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010







7. In the Green Kitchen - Techniques to Learn by Heart

By Alice Waters

Weeks on list: 1 • Alice Waters has been a champion of the sustainable, local cooking movement for decades. In this collection of more than 50 recipes for fresh, local and seasonal meals, she demystifies the basics, including steaming a vegetable, dressing a salad, simmering stock, filleting a fish, roasting a chicken and making bread.

Hardcover, 160pp, $28.00, Clarkson Potter, Pub Date: Apr. 6, 2010








8. Game Change - Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime

By John Heilemann; Mark Halperin

Weeks on list: 13 • There is a lot of political gossip in a new book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann: infighting in the Edwards family, Hillary Clinton's hubris and her husband's liabilities, Sarah Palin unable to say Joe Biden's last name and Sen. Harry Reid's now-infamous remark about Barack Obama's skin tone. To get these juicy tidbits, the authors relied on 200 interviews with political insiders, granted anonymity in exchange for their most tantalizing details.

Hardcover, 464pp, $27.99, Harper, Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2010






9. The Pacific

By Hugh Ambrose

Weeks on list: 6 • Hugh Ambrose's account of five U.S. service men in the Pacific during World War II is the companion to a new HBO mini-series. Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, these five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war against Japan.

Hardcover, 512pp, $26.95, NAL Hardcover, Pub Date: Mar. 2, 2010







10. This Time Together - Laughter and Reflection

By Carol Burnett

Weeks on list: 1 • Carol Burnett is one of the original queens of TV comedy. Her long-running variety show, with its outrageous costumes and its unpredictable sketches, offered a warm brand of wackiness that parents would let their kids stay up late to watch. In her memoir, she tells stories about what went on behind the scenes -- plus a few tales about what went down when she ventured out among the show's fans.

Hardcover, 288pp, $25.00, Harmony, Pub Date: Apr. 6, 2010





11. 13 Bankers - The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown

By James Kwak; Simon Johnson

Weeks on list: 2 • James Kwak and Simon Johnson make the case that America's six megabanks -- Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- which together control assets amounting to more than 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product, continue to hold the global economy hostage, threatening yet another financial meltdown with their excessive risk-taking and toxic practices.

Hardcover, 320pp, $26.95, Pantheon, Pub Date: Mar. 30, 2010






12. Born to Run - A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

By Christopher Mcdougall

Weeks on list: 45 • Christopher McDougall travels to the unforgiving terrain of Mexico's Copper Canyons, in a quest to understand the area's indigenous population of ultra-runners, the Tarahumara Indians. Surviving on a diet of ground corn, mouse meat and homemade alcohol, are men and woman who nevertheless have the endurance to run cliff-side races topping 100 miles and sometimes lasting two days.

Hardcover, 304pp, $24.95, Knopf, Pub Date: May. 5, 2009






13. Stones into Schools

By Greg Mortenson

Weeks on list: 19 • In his last book, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson recounted his unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, because of illness, and his recovery in a small Pakistani village. In return for the kindness of his hosts, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school. Stones into Schools picks up where that story left off. In this latest book, Mortenson details more about his vision of promoting peace through education and literacy.

Hardcover, 448pp, $26.95, Viking Adult, Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2009





14. Committed

By Elizabeth Gilbert

Weeks on list: 14 • Having both survived painful divorces, Elizabeth Gilbert and Felipe -- the man she fell in love with at the end of her best-selling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love -- promised to love but never marry. However, the couple finds that Felipe, a Brazilian national, will not be able to live in the U.S. unless the two formalize their union. Gilbert relents on her marriage ban, but is prompted to explore the meaning of marriage, in the U.S. and abroad, and its various manifestations through history, in order to come to peace with the institution.

Hardcover, 304pp, $26.95, Viking Adult, Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010



15. Christianity

By Diarmaid MacCulloch

Weeks on list: 1 • More than 1,000 pages, Diarmaid MacCulloch traces Christianity from its origins in the Hebrew Bible onward into the modern day. Presuming no prior knowledge of the faith, he gives a thorough account of how the message of Jesus Christ was spread, and how the New Testament was formed. He documents the conversion efforts in Africa and Asia, and pivotal moments in the history of the religion in Europe and North America, highlighting Christianity's role in the Enlightenment and age of exploration, and in shaping the course of World Wars I and II.

Hardcover, 1184pp, $45.00, Viking Adult, Pub Date: Mar. 18, 2010



*** Click on the title links to see the deeply discounted prices of these great books over at Amazon!


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