THE MONITOR'S GUIDE TO BESTSELLERS

b = Favorable review

n = Unfavorable review

M = Mixed review

- = No review noted

The Christian Science Monitor

The New York Times

Kirkus Review of Books

Los Angeles Times

Selected reviews

1) 1

3

MISS America, by Howard Stern, Regan Books/Harper Collins $27.50

Bear-baiting is not protected by the first amendment. Unfortunately, this book by Howard Stern is. One hesitates to even comment on this similarly obscene and vulgar sequel to Stern's previous bestseller, ''Private Parts.'' The one thing the author wants is publicity. It's good for his business. In word and photos Stern baits the reader with celebrity insults, obsession with bodily functions, female bondage, and lesbianism. Stern may be one-of-a-kind, but that is one too many. By Jim Bencivenga

n

b

-

-b

LADN

2) 3

11

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

-

3) 4

6

Charles Kuralt's America, by Charles Kuralt, Putnam, $24.95

Retiring from CBS after 37 years, Kuralt decided to take a year off to travel. He revisited 12 of his favorite areas of the country during their peaks: Charleston when the azaleas are in bloom, Montana during fly fishing season. Despite the occasional bout with ego (he devotes an entire chapter to a daffodil: the narcissus Charles Kuralt), the result is an engaging travelogue of his experiences and the widely varied people he met - from a Haida totem-carver to a famous saddlemaker. By Yvonne Zipp

b

-

-

-

b

US

4) 2

139

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

TT8

41

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

-

-

-

-

5) 5

10

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 success, no matter how troubled one's childhood. By David Holmstrom

b

bb-

-

6) 7

4

DAVID BRINKLEY: A MEMOIR, by David Brinkley, Knopf, $25

Before MacNeil/Lehrer, there was Huntley/Brinkley. The surviving member of the famous NBC News duo, now at ABC, spins interesting anecdotes about the beginnings of TV and the cluelessness of the radio journalists who had to make the new medium work. Somehow they did: Chet and David outdid CBS's Walter Cronkite throughout the 1960s. Brinkley has no idea why, or why the ratings eventually dropped. But his tales of Washington make a good, if light, read. By Lawrence J. Goodrich

b

M

-

-

M

HC

b

CJR

7) -

1

THE ROAD AHEAD, by Bill Gates, Viking, $29.95

The mogul of Microsoft Corp. gives his view of a technology-rich future, hoping to stimulate ''understanding, debate, and creative ideas....'' The book is smoothly written, albeit open to a charge of serving Microsoft's interests, sprinkled with interesting anecdotes from his own experience and from the history of technology - from Gutenberg to room-size computers. Although many of Gates's predictions are not that new, readers will find the book thought-provoking. By Mark Trumbull

b

-

-

M

n

BW

BW

bw

-

8) 6

14MY 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 sitcom 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

-

-

-

9) 9

5

Lincoln, by David Herbert Donald, Simon & Schuster, $35

No major biography of our 16th president is quite like this: It is chiefly written from Lincoln's perspective. Information and ideas available to him, rather than to later historians, form its principal sources - together with Lincoln's own words and those of his contemporaries. Donald is fully familiar with the works of other historians, but he is good at trimming their special pleadings, and their works rarely find their way into the endnotes that are crowded with original sources. By Gabor Boritt

b

b

b

-

M

WP

10) 8

41

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

-

-

-

-

11) 10

43

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

-

-

12) 11

9

A Good Life, by Benjamin C. Bradlee, Simon & Schuster, $27.50

A must-read for journalists, government officials, politicans, and anyone else who wants to understand the changed relationship between the American press and government over the last 30 years. Bradlee includes fascinating tidbits about his friendship with John and Jacqueline Kennedy, the Pentagon Papers, and Watergate. But you'll also have to endure details of Bradlee's sex life and three marriages, foul language and all. By Lawrence J. Goodrich (See full review opposite page)

M

b

n

b

-

13) -

1

THE MARTHA STEWART COOKBOOK, by Martha Stewart, Potter, $27.50

Between these covers is a banquet of recipes, a cornucopia collected from Stewart's books, including a chapter on sumptuous wedding cakes. The book is subtitled ''Collected Recipes for Every Day,'' which makes one wonder what Stewart fixes for special occasions. There are recipes for those without world enough and time to make their own lady fingers. But, for the most part, the book is more an epicurean wish list rather than a menu to whip up after a hard day's work. By Yvonne Zipp

b

-

-

-

b

CE

14) 13

2

RETURN WITH HONOR, by Scott O'Grady with Jeff Coplon, Doubleday, $21.95

The tale of fighter pilot Scott O'Grady's shootdown over Bosnia is at heart powerful, educational, and surprisingly humorous. His voice, however, would have been clearer if the book had received stronger editing. Slow early chapters and some oddly narrative writing about family and colleagues' experiences make it a challenge to get to the valuable material within his remarkable story of strength, faith, and humility. O'Grady possessed unwavering trust that God would see him through. By Terri Theiss

b

-

-

b

b

AP

15) -

1

DAYS OF OUR LIVES, by Lorraine Zenka, Regan Books/HarperCollins, $25

This 30th anniversary companion to TV's long-lived daytime drama will be a welcome, ready reference for fans. For strangers, it is an opportunity to experience 30 years in ''Days.'' The first half of this lavishly produced volume recaps the lives and social crises of those special families in the Midwest town of Salem. The second half gives fascinating peeks behind the production scenes. Many colorful photographs remind me of former Saturday serials at the movies. By Mari Murray

b

-

-

-

b

DFP

BESTSELLER RANKING FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, DEC. 4, 1995 *LA Daily News; USA Today; Tampa Tribune; Houston Chronicle; Business Week; Washington Post; Cincinnati Enq.; AP; Detroit Free Press

MONITOR'S PICK LINCOLN, by David Herbert Donald, Simon & Schuster, $35

Widely acclaimed, David Herbert Donald's biography ''Lincoln'' easily sets the standard for this and the next generation of scholarship on America's 16th president.

Modern biographies begin with the premise that Lincoln was a great man and then work backwards to reveal that man. Donald's life of Lincoln is different. It is written from Lincoln's times forward. It presumes to know only what Lincoln knew when he knew it, thus revealing more starkly the singular character of the man and the practical calculations and life experiences that informed his judgments, which history has shown to have served him and his country so well during its severest crisis.

The popular magazine ''Civil War Times'' set out to select and then rank the best 10 books on Lincoln. Out of a possible 7,000 works, Donald's biography came in second - after Lincoln's own writing. Donald offers startling insights to Lincoln's Calvinist belief that the ''Almighty has His own purposes,'' and how he reconciled this with his own ambition to ''rise in life.''

The Monitor review of ''Lincoln'' (11/22/95) concluded: ''Lincoln remains a touchstone for Americans, their best face to the world. What the finest of historians tells us about him influences the country's future. None should take the responsibility lightly. David Herbert Donald does not. Literate Americans, and people around the world who would understand what Lincoln called this 'almost chosen people,' owe it to themselves to read this remarkable, provocative book.''

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