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A Monitor Guide To Bestsellers

Hardcover Non-Fiction

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9. THE CENTURY, by Todd Brewster and Peter Jennings, Doubleday, $60

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Jennings and Brewster employ a pastiche of approaches in piecing together the past century - formal historical narrative, unfamiliar photographs, and, most striking, eye-witness accounts of events like Hiroshima, Vietnam, and Auschwitz. Conceived as a companion piece to a 27-hour documentary slated to air in 1999, the book rolls along, ticking off all that is newsworthy. But the sometimes cool tone burdens the eye-witness accounts with the task of conveying the human side of history. (608 pp.) By Ron Fletcher

10. AND THE HORSE HE RODE IN ON, by James Carville, Simon & Schuster, $14.95

Carville knows how to sling mud. Although he chooses the low road - every page of his jeering book oozes with below-the-belt "left" hooks aimed at Kenneth Starr - there's something respectable about his frankness and tenacity. After all, he's the president's most loyal, flamboyant advocate. His up-front, in-your-face style makes for light reading. Ultimately, though, his right-wing conspiracy theories, zealous political spin, and relentless Starr-bashing are too spiteful to take seriously. (128 pp.) By John Christian Hoyle

11. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, by Laura Schlessinger, HarperCollins, $24

This is the impassioned and persuasive response of radio talk-show host Laura Schlessinger to those who feel the Ten Commandments are obsolete. Exploring in depth the principle behind each and its relation to the intimate choices of daily life, she seeks to show how obeying God's laws lifts lives to new levels of joy and meaning. Converted to Judaism as an adult, she says being "chosen" means not favoritism but having an assignment to live by those laws so others come to know and love God. (320 pp.) By Jane Lampman

12. IN THE MEANTIME, by Iyanla Vanzant, Simon & Schuster, $23

Finding the right kind of romance is a bit like spring cleaning, says the author, who describes love as a three-story house. There's a progression from the basement, where we store our parents' values, to the first floor, where we confront our fears, all the way to the attic, where we learn how to accept ourselves unconditionally. Insightful at times, she is repetitive but easy to read. Her advice seems like common sense. If nothing else, the house metaphor may inspire cleaning the closet. Literally. (288 pp.) By Kendra Nordin

13. THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN, by Simon Winchester, HarperCollins, $22

Discover the origins of words such as "serendipity" and "bedlam" as you follow the history of an American lunatic murderer who, from his asylum cell, was a major contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary in the late 19th century. This well-researched retelling drags at some points and includes a scene of shocking self-mutilation, but it thoughtfully explores the self-destructiveness of lust and the redemptive effects of hard work and intellectual pursuits. (242 pp.) By Abraham McLaughlin

14. ONE DAY MY SOUL JUST OPENED UP, by Iyanla Vanzant, Fireside, $13

Vanzant admonishes us in the opening pages to "remain open. There is something bigger than you know going on here." And that's her underlying point throughout - let go and let God work in your life. She's structured her ideas into a 40-day spiritual regeneration plan, with a daily principle to mull over, starting with "truth" and ending with "unconditional love." But many of the principles in between veer away from the spiritual toward simple suggestions on changing your outlook. (316 pp.) By Kristina Lanier

15. LINDBERGH, by A. Scott Berg, Putnam, $30

Charles Lindbergh's 1927 flight to Paris made him a hero, the kidnapping of his young son generated universal sympathy, and his views on Nazi Germany led to widespread scorn and derision. Biographer Berg was given complete access to the Lindbergh family records and has written a magisterial biography. While admiring and sympathetic, Berg also sees Lindy's shortcomings. An extraordinary book about an American icon.

(642 pp.) By Terry Hartle