The Monitor's Guide to Bestsellers, Hardcover Nonfiction

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers

1. MY SERGEI: A LOVE STORY, by Ekaterina Gordeeva, Warner, $18.95

Figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva's book - named after her late husband and skating partner, Sergei Grinkov, who died suddenly one year ago - is a touching and personal account of a relationship that started when the two were paired together at ages 11 and 15 by the Soviet regime. Written with Sports Illustrated's Ed Swift, it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the competitive world of figure skating as well as Gordeeva's struggle to heal and to raise her young daughter alone. By Shelley Donald Coolidge

2. ANGELA'S ASHES: A MEMOIR, by Frank McCourt, Scribners, $23

"Angela's Ashes," Frank McCourt's brilliant and tender memoir of his miserable Irish Catholic childhood in Limerick, Ireland, is a deeply moving story and a very funny book. Angela was McCourt's mother. The story begins on Classon Avenue in Brooklyn during the Depression as she tries to hold the family together; later, because of his father's alcoholism the family is forced to return to Ireland where Frank discovers Shakespeare and language. It is a book of splendid humanity. By Devon McNamara

3. DOGBERT'S TOP SECRET MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK, by Scott Adams, HarperBusiness, $16

Adams has taken a page out of Jonathan Swift's book with this satire. He presents several modest proposals of his own to help usher a generation of managers into a bright, shiny era of downsizing and micromanagement. Complete with bullet points and illustrations (for managers who can't read), these guidelines are guaranteed, as Adams puts it, to keep workers "jumpier than a cat on waterskis." By Yvonne Zipp

4. MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, by John Gray, HarperCollins, $20

Written more for the 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

5. MAKE THE CONNECTION:..., by Bob Green and Oprah Winfrey, Hyperion, $18.95

Fueled by the success story of talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Bob Greene presents a 10 step diet that emphasizes a focus on lifetime fitness and mental wellness as opposed to a quick-fix diet. He stresses the connection you need to make between your personal life and your weight. Oprah's successful weight loss, after so many public attempts, gives this book its appeal and credibility even though the steps in this book present little new diet information. Also includes a diet journal. By Debbie Hodges

6. THE SOUL'S CODE: IN SEARCH OF CHARACTER AND CALLING, by J. Hillman, Random House, $23

James Hillman's feel-good philosophy book aims to debunk much of today's victim-based psychology. The psychologist-author uses world leaders, artists, and sports figures as larger-than-life examples of his theory that everyone is unique, has a preordained purpose in life, and is paired with a positive, guiding force. The book is refreshing in light of much of contemporary thinking that life's traumas dominate personality development. But its abstract content can be hard to follow. By Christina Nifong

7. THE DILBERT PRINCIPLE, by Scott Adams, HarperBusiness, $20

The most ineffective workers are moved to the place where they can do the least damage: management. Adams illustrates this, the Dilbert Principle, with classic Dilbert cartoons (some repeated a few times) and e-mail messages from exasperated employees who will make you grateful you don't work for their company. (Or you can have fun picking out your employer from the parade of corporate nightmares.) A fun read, but Adams's mocking humor still zings best through his cartoons. By Yvonne Zipp

8. SIMPLE ABUNDANCE, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Warner, $17.95

A spiritual self-help book for the "modern woman," a how-to book that offers to overcome stress and assist in self-discovery with topical readings on gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty, and joy. There is a reading for each day of the calendar year. Like modern gold-mining - 30 tons of shoveled dirt to find one ounce of gold - there are pages of platitudes before hitting an original insight. The author's appearance on Oprah Winfrey show catapulted this book onto bestseller lists. By Jim Bencivenga

9. EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO MY OPINION, by David Brinkley, Knopf, $20

After a lifetime in the news business, David Brinkley has heard just about everything, from the Texas primary featuring a dead candidate to the Pentagon's $200 nails. He shares these stories in pointed, witty essays rarely longer than a page. The award-winning TV journalist has been working since World War II and the breadth of his experience is clear. If brevity is the soul of wit, in his hands, it's also a weapon, as he skewers Washington for its foibles and shows us a good time doing it. By Nicole Gaouette

10. FOREVER ERMA..., by Erma Bombeck, Andrew & McMeet, $21.95

Erma Bombeck turned the grind of being a housewife into grist for a divinely comic mill. The result, as this collection of columns shows, touches both the heart and the funny bone. Her "utility room beat" covered everything from how to turn a haircut into a weight-loss plan to how to make a banana nut loaf (using no bananas and no nuts). The collection, which spans more than 30 years, provides readers with a last, delightful chance to spend time with America's favorite housewife. By Yvonne Zipp

11. I'M NOT REALLY HERE, by Tim Allen, Hyperion, $21.95

This short humor book explores the meaning of life and some of its tougher questions via the "study" of quantum physics. During a weekend alone, normal guy-alone activities take second place to consideration of some intense personal experiences and related concepts. While the book has an interesting premise, it does not quite succeed in either of its two approaches: humor or examination of life's complex human relationships. Though sincere, a few humorous moments are not enough. By Terri Theiss

12. MY STORY, by Sarah the Duchess of York with Jeff Coplon, Simon & Schuster, $24

Sarah Ferguson lived the fairy tale when she wed Prince Andrew. But the fairy part ended quickly and the rest of the tale is told by the now-divorced duchess in this intriguing account. She candidly, if perhaps conservatively, discusses her peccadillos and more innocent missteps. She takes most of the blame and has recouped by increasing her work for charity. Fascinating are the parts about what goes on behind royal doors, from hectic appearance schedules to bureaucratic games. By Kim Campbell

13. THE ZONE by Barry Sears, HarperCollins, $22

This book purports to counteract the genetic programming of disease, excessive weight, loss of mental proficiency and physical performance through diet. The author develops a theory of "food as drug" that promises optimal health when eating the right foods in the right proportions. Contains minute technical details of disease, case studies, and a road map for achieving life in the "Zone," a state of being suggesting the perfect union of body and mind. By Jim Bencivenga

14. DOWN IN THE GARDEN, by Ann Geddes, Cedco Publishing, $49.95

Did you ever want to see a baby in a pea pod or dressed up as a watermelon? Well, here's your chance. Wearing "wigs" made of roses, apples, and mushrooms, among other things, the babies are pictured in various gardening scenes - from inside of tulips to sprouting up as daisies from the ground. The cute photos will make you laugh out loud, but they are more silly and bizarre than engaging and captivating. By Lisa Leigh Parney

15. SLOUCHING TOWARDS GOMORRAH: MODERN LIBERALISM..., by Robert Bork, HarperCollins, $25

Conservative scholar Robert Bork presents a scathing treatise about American intellect in decline. America possesses a "hedonistic," "enfeebled" culture, he says. Modern liberalism, from the 1960s, is the root of the problem. His jeremiad covers varied subjects such as crime, radical feminism, rap music and the Supreme Court. The court, he claims, is "responsible in no small measure for all that has gone wrong in our culture." He would let Congress overrule the Supreme Court. By Leigh Montgomery

MONITOR'S PICK

-WINGS OF PARADISE: THE GREAT SATURNID MOTHS, paintings and text by John Cody,

The University of North Carolina Press,

163 pp., 72 illustrations, $60

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