From Autobiography To Self-Help...You Pick

The Monitor's Guide to BESTSELLERS

TWO weeks ago, the Monitor launched its ''bestseller list with a difference.'' We reviewed every entry on the Publishers Weekly's list of best-selling fiction. Today we do the same for nonfiction. Every title includes a staff evaluation to help you decide whether a bestseller is really worth a trip to the bookstore or the public library.

The list also includes ratings based on reviews published elsewhere, such as in the Los Angeles Times and the Kirkus Review of Books. If these reviews were mostly positive, we show that with an ''up'' arrow in green. If a review was negative, it shows as a red ''down'' arrow. Mixed reviews are shown by the letter ''M'' and may indicate books containing material that some readers will find objectionable. A dash means no review was found.

We would also like to hear your views on best-selling books. If you have read any of the ones on the current bestseller lists - fiction or nonfiction - we invite you to let us know whether they deserve favorable, unfavorable, or mixed reviews. If enough of you respond, we will add a special readers' column to the chart below. Send evaluations to:

The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 Attention: CSMBESTBOOKS.

If you prefer e-mail: csmbestbooks@csps.com

HARDCOVER FICTION

BESTSELLER RANKING FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, OCT. 5, 1995

TT - TAMPA TRIBUNE; AA - AUSTIN AMERICNA STATESMAN

b Favorable review; n Unfavorable review; M Mixed review; - No review noted

1 LAST WEEK

2 WEEKS ON LIST

1) MY AMERICAN JOURNEY, by Colin Powell with Joseph E. Persico, Random House, $25.95

Powell's memoirs, like the retired Joint Chiefs chairman himself, are smooth, entertaining, and full of telling detail. And we do mean full: At 2-1/2 pounds and 612 pages, ''My American Journey'' is a book for readers willing to wade through a long account of Powell's rise from modest Bronx beginnings before they reach anecdotes about his life at the pinnacle of American power. On the tenor of day-to-day life in the White House and the Pentagon's E-Ring, this book has compelling stuff. By Peter Grier

b b - b -

2 LAST WEEK

130 WEEKS ON LIST

2) MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, by John Gray, HarperCollins, $24

Written more for a female audience, this easy-to-read guide helps men and women better understand how the other sex communicates. Although redundant and sometimes stereotypical, it goes beyond psychobabble. Gray, who has written an assortment of books on this topic, explores such issues as the difference between a man's silence and a woman's; why men and women resist the other sex's solutions; and how a man reacts when a woman needs to talk. By Shelley Donald Coolidge

b - - - b TT

4 LAST WEEK

32 WEEKS ON LIST

3) THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL LAWS OF SUCCESS, by Deepak Chopra, New World Library, $12.95

Chopra draws points from Eastern philosophies and practices such as Taoism, Vedic Science, meditation, and karma and distills them into a new-age seven-step program. The logic is at times circular and simplistic, and Chopra's attempts to incorporate the Bible and Christian tradition into his text are uneven at best. Nonetheless, while not original, many of the espoused ideas - prayer, generosity, and a nonjudgmental and positive outlook - certainly have merit. By Yvonne Zipp

M - - - -

3 LAST WEEK

5 WEEKS ON LIST

4) MY POINT ... AND I DO HAVE ONE, by Ellen DeGeneres, Bantam, $19.95

Musings on God, airplane food, and the Iditarod dog race await readers of this offbeat, meandering work by comedienne and TV sit-com star Ellen DeGeneres. The Louisiana native, once dubbed the Funniest Person in America by the Showtime network, offers material that ranges from pithy lists to long, digressing stories. Fans will find plenty of Ellenisms in this quick read, although some of the author's bits are racy, and some of the humor falls flat. By Kim Campbell

M M - - -

5 LAST WEEK

16WEEKS ON LIST

5) A Good Walk Spoiled, by John Feinstein, Little, Brown, $23.95

This is the perfect book for anyone who's never been able to get enough of golf. Lovers of the game will get their fill here, albeit vicariously through the ecstasies and agonies - from botched shots to bruised egos - of the world's best players. Professional golfers lead dreamlike lives, making millions of dollars walking the fairways. But the ways of spoiling that walk are legion, and Feinstein manages to colorfully chronicle most of them.

By Keith Henderson

b b M - -

15 LAST WEEK

4 WEEKS ON LIST

6) I'M ONLY ONE MAN, by Regis Philbin with Bill Zehme, Hyperion, $22.95

Regis is the dark cloud and Kathie Lee the silver lining, according to this year-in-the-life of an exasperated talk-show host. From Bronx beginnings to television fame, Philbin colorfully relates personal history and celebrity encounters through flashbacks. Compared with other recent confessional autobiographies, this diary of laughs and insights, covering June 1994 to May 1995, is a breath of foul-free air. By Mari Murray

b - M - -

13 LAST WEEK

34 WEEKS ON LIST

7) SISTERS, essays by Carol Saline, photographs by Sharon J. Wohlmuth, Running Press, $27.50

It's like zooming in on the ''sisters'' portion of 36 family photo albums. This beautifully designed collection of essays and black-and-white photographs proves there's no limit to the variety of sister-relationships. Many of these women have been best friends for decades and can testify to the importance of a sister's support during major life changes. In celebrating the richness of sisterhood, the book doesn't shy away from presenting bonds tested by anger or separation. By Stacy A. Teicher

b - b - -

- LAST WEEK

4 WEEKS ON LIST

8) THE MELATONIN MIRACLE, by W. Pierpaoli, W. Regelson with O. Davies, Simon & Schuster, $21

''The Melatonin Miracle'' promises readers a younger, healthier, more vital self - what more could aging baby boomers want? Melatonin, the authors claim, helps to relieve everything from insomnia to cancer, aging to AIDS. Drs. Pierpaoli and Regelson are convinced they have discovered a ''miraculous hormone'' - if only the medical community were more open-minded. Trouble is, it's just too hard to take the authors - to say nothing of their theories - seriously. By Suzanne MacLachlan

n M - - -

- LAST WEEK

1 WEEKS ON LIST

9) EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, by Daniel Goleman, Bantam, $23.95

Goleman asserts that IQ is not destiny; emotional intelligence, the ability to be cool in a bind and make clear decisions, is equally important in a good life. The theories about brain architecture are less interesting than examples of emotional control that establishes solid relationships and cooperation among people. He says those lacking self-control are morally deficient and the conclusions of scientists do not limit one's prospects for successful living, no matter how troubled a childhood. By David

Holmstrom

b b b - -

- LAST WEEK

1 WEEKS ON LIST

10) AN UNQUIET MIND, by Kay Redfield Jamison, Alfred A. Knopf, $22

This memoir about her own mental illness is by a nationally recognized expert on manic-depressive disorders. Jamison writes frankly, sometimes elegantly, recounting in detail her breakdowns, attempted suicide, and indecision about using the drug lithium, the only medical treatment considered effective in moderating extreme mood swings (but with severe side effects). Despite black periods, she cherishes the ''highs'' that enhance creativity and productivity, and intensify pleasure. By Ruth Johnstone Wale s

n b - - -

7 LAST WEEK

75 WEEKS ON LIST

11) MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL, by John Berendt, Random House, $23

This zany portrait of Savannah, Ga., sings with wonderfully quirky characters. It tells the universal tale of small-town life in which neighborly rivalries and gossip are residents' pastimes. But Savannah's characters are even more outrageous - and sometimes more sensuous - than those of most small towns: from a good natured con-man who invites the town to raucous parties in other peoples' houses to ''The Lady Chablis'' - a drag queen who crashes debutant balls. By Abraham McLaughlin

b - b b -

9 LAST WEEK

9 WEEKS ON LIST

12) STOP AGING NOW, by Jean Carper, HarperCollins, $24

This book is an updated, annotated, ad infinitum repetition of the old saw, ''You are what you eat.'' Carper, a health-care journalist with numerous book and TV credits, serves up a full helping of the theory that vitamins, supplements, and herbs can fend off all kinds of ills, and, yes, even aging itself. While acknowledging the value of balanced eating, one suspects there is much, much more to health, happiness, and longevity than this book encompasses. By Keith Henderson

n - - - b AA

6 LAST WEEK

15 WEEKS ON LIST

13) NEW PASSAGES, by Gail Sheehy, Random House, $25

Middle-class America is living much longer and taking longer to grow up. This finding, backed by hundreds of interviews, lays the groundwork for ''New Passages.'' Sheehy gently guides readers through her redrawn map of adult life. She shatters stereotypes about aging, focusing instead on the challenging but positive aspects of growing older. For example, she dubs middle age ''Second Adulthood'' - a time of deeper meaning, renewed playfulness, and creativity for those who embrace it. By Jennifer G. Wolco tt

b n M n -

11 LAST WEEK

8 WEEKS ON LIST

14) MY OLD MAN AND THE SEA, by David Hays and Donald Hays, Algonquin Books, $19.95

There is not room enough to quote from the exquisite exchanges between father and son, embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Included: all the drama of the high seas; all the details of seafaring on a small, snug ship; all the vastness of two hearts, afloat on the open ocean, knotting a union that most parents only dream about and children don't even imagine. This is a book to take down from the shelf late on a winter's night.

By Jim Bencivenga

b b - - -

10 LAST WEEK

13 WEEKS ON LIST

15) TO RENEW AMERICA, by Newt Gingrich, HarperCollins, $24

Here is Gingrich's plan for making America a better place to live: Balance the budget, revamp welfare, accelerate on the infobahn. Though the book lapses into generalities, the point is clear: America's future depends on its citizens, not on the government. Whether or not you agree with its conservative agenda, this book is worth reading. It offers a clear sense of how this self-described revolutionary, who happens to be Speaker of the House, welcomes citizen involvement. By Kristiana Helmick

b M - M -

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