A Monitor guide to The Bestsellers

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. THE POWER OF NOW

Last Week: 4

Weeks on List: 25

by Eckhart Tolle

New World Library, $21.95

Enlightenment. There's a plethora of theories on how to reach it, but Tolle claims to have attained it - and to be able to show others how to do the same. His method: meditation of the "now." By stilling the madness of mall-on-Christmas-Eve thoughts scurrying about in your head at any given time and focusing only on the now, Tolle claims that you can find out what's real and what's just the imposition of the many noisy thoughts that are constantly bogging you down. (193 pp.) By Christy Ellington

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

2. STUPID WHITE MEN

Last Week: 2

Weeks on List: 56

by Michael Moore

Regan Books, $24.95

Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore is no fan of George W. Bush. But the "stolen" election of 2000 is just one of the targets in his latest book, which also includes essays on why men are facing extinction and the "truth" about recycling. Moore offers plenty of suggestions for how Americans can get off the couch and make a difference. But his assessment of the state of the nation suffers for its lack of reference to the events of Sept. 11, which happened after the book was written. (304 pp.) By Kim Campbell

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

Washington Post: Unfavorable review

3. BUSH AT WAR

Last Week: 1

Weeks on List: 7

by Bob Woodward

Simon & Schuster, $28

Read Woodward's latest tome if you want to play arm-chair general inside the White House during the war with Afghanistan. It would be hard not to conclude from the evidence presented that dubious planning and a failure to put US "boots on the ground" allowed bin Laden to slip away to fight another day. Though it's an excellent description of the rise and fall of the president's various advisers and plans, some of the central characters, particularly Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, remain frustratingly inscrutable. (376 pp.) By Philip Smucker

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

Book List: Mixed review

4. Everyday Grace

Last Week: 3

Weeks on List: 6

by Marianne Williamson

Riverhead, $19.95

Available on tape

To a world entranced by Harry Potter, Williamson speaks in terms of magic, mystics, and miracles. But what this small trove is truly about is how best to infuse and transform everyday experience with the grace and warmth that flows from intimacy with God. It offers practical wisdom and invigorating insights from one who has experienced the traumas of life but lives in the conviction that the world of Spirit is the reality, and love is the definitive power. (288 pp.) By Jane Lampman

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

Publishers Weekly: Mixed review

5. Portrait of a Killer

Last Week: 8

Weeks on List: 8

by Patricia Cornwell

Putnam, $27.95

The author of the Kay Scarpetta forensic thrillers veers away from fiction to examine the 120-year-old unsolved Jack the Ripper murders. She uses her expertise and resources to build a case that Walter Sickert, a popular artist of the time, was the infamous killer. A thorough study of Sickert's artwork, family, and other historical documents, along with modern DNA testing, make a compelling case. Cornwell can be tedious and gruesome, but her outline of Victorian London and police procedures is fascinating. (387 pp.) By Anne Toevs

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: Unfavorable review

Publishers Weekly: Favorable review

6. The Get with the Program! Guide to Good Eating

Weeks on List: 1

by Bob Greene

Simon & Schuster, $24

Available on tape

For those who feel they indulged in too much stuffing over the holidays, Greene's latest book provides a recipe for trimming your waistline. Unlike others of his ilk, Greene admirably offers no secret formulas or quick fixes. Instead, he explains how to shed pounds permanently by making lifestyle changes and focusing on nutrition. However, the book itself could stand to slim down: At times it rambles and echoes his first installment (See No. 11). But, hey, it's working for Oprah. (228 pp.) B y Stephanie Cook Broadhurst

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

Publishers Weekly: Favorable review

7. My Losing Season

Last Week: 6

Weeks on List: 12

by Pat Conroy, Doubleday

$27.95

It's easy to love winners. The harder task is appreciating the also-rans, the bench warmers, and the losers - especially when they're you. Pat Conroy resurrects his last - and losing - season playing college basketball for the Citadel. His recounting is dark, and cringes under the blows of an abusive father - the Great Santini - who never thinks his son is good enough and a coach who seems unable to tongue-lash his team to victory. But Conroy insists that losses never come without good lessons. (304 pp.) By Kendra Nordin

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Mixed review

Publishers Weekly: Favorable review

8. Longitudes and Attitudes

Last Week: 7

Weeks on List: 18

by Thomas Friedman

FSG, $26

Even regular readers of this New York Times foreign affairs writer will benefit from another look at his collected post-9/11 columns. Whether hobnobbing with top Middle Eastern leaders or visiting Arab bazaars, he challenges the Muslim world to progress toward moderation and tolerance. Neither American nor Israeli decisions escape unscathed, either. A selection of diary entries is occasionally repetitive and self-important, but you'll wish this nonideological globalist made foreign policy instead of just writing about it. (224 pp.) By Seth Stern

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

Seattle Times: Favorable review

9. ABRAHAM

Last Week: 11

Weeks on List: 15

by Bruce Feiler, William Morrow

$23.95

Available on tape

Well aware of the power that history wields in the imagination of the Middle East, Feiler was hoping to find an Abraham of the sacred texts who could serve as a bridge for Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Instead, he encountered a multitude of Abrahams - some 240 - as the interpretative works of each religion over four millenniums reshaped and often made more exclusive the story of this remarkable figure. An inspiring and honest study that provides a basis for fostering genuine communication. (224 pp.) By Jane Lampman

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

Publishers Weekly: Favorable review

10. The Conquerors

Last Week: 9

Weeks on List: 10

by Michael Beschloss

Simon & Schuster, $26.95

Available on tape

Intimate and exhaustively detailed, this lively account of Roosevelt's, and later Truman's, arguments with Churchill and Stalin over how to prevent Germany from threatening the world again draws on newly opened American, Soviet, and British documents, as well as diaries and letters. The book pays particular attention to Roosevelt's shameful concealment of what he knew about Hitler's genocide, and to the American president's contributions to rebuilding Germany. (359 pp.) By Mary Wiltenburg

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

Publishers Weekly: Favorable review

11. GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

Weeks on List: 6

by Bob Greene

Simon & Schuster, $24

Like the others in the daunting mix of self-help and diet books, this one purports to offer that elusive key to "losing weight and staying fit." Its four-phase regimen will keep readers mentally - if not physically - occupied, with pages of ditto-sheet busywork, self-quizzes, journal entries, and food and exercise dos and don'ts. At least it doesn't promise overnight fixes or ask us to consume endless amounts of meat, oil, and cheese. It puts the onus on readers to make permanent changes. (224 pp.) By Stephanie Cook Broadhurst

The Christian Science Monitor: Unfavorable review

USA Today: Favorable review

12. Leadership

Last Week: 5

Weeks on List: 14

by Rudolph Giuliani

TalkMiramax Books, $25.95

Available on tape

Imagine having a devoted but stern father share his advice on how to be a successful leader. Pick up this book and you are one on one with Giuliani as he tells you his principles of leadership, his philosophy of loyalty, and the ways to command respect. Backed up by hundreds of real-life experiences and familial anecdotes, he takes readers down every political byway and cultural avenue of the city he loves and shares his approach to leadership, tempered as all his reflections are by Sept. 11. (407 pp.) By Jim Bencivenga

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Favorable review

Financial Times: Favorable review

13. What Should I Do with My Life?

Weeks on List: 1

By Po Bronson

Random House, $24.95

This collection of heartfelt interviews addresses the universal challenges associated with choosing a career path: Is it selfish to be bored with your job? Are you supposed to know what you want to do? Using an engaging story-telling format, Bronson glosses over external details, preferring to invoke an emotional connection with the reader. The people he profiles risk sacrificing traditional achievement for their dreams and long to live lives of meaning. In doing so, they (and we) learn that success is subjective. (400 pp.) By Olivia Kobelt

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Mixed review

14. Benjamin Franklin

Weeks on List: 3

by Edmund Morgan

Yale University Press, $24.95

Available on tape

This lean biography is based on 46 volumes of Franklin's writings. It offers a quick but mostly uncritical account of his remarkable career as a printer, scientist, diplomat, and principal architect of the American Republic. Readers see the turmoil of a man who loved both the British empire and the rights of Americans. Unfortunately, detailed descriptions of his machinations as a minister to England and France crowd out insights into his private life. Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. (368 pp.) By Seth Stern

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

Los Angeles Times: Favorable review

15. Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy

Last Week: 12

Weeks on List: 13

by Jane Leavy

HarperCollins, $23.95

Most Americans alive today never saw Sandy Koufax pitch, but reading this book will make them wish they had. After interviewing hundreds of people who rubbed shoulders with Koufax, Leavy reveals aspects of the private person whom many consider baseball's greatest left-handed pitcher. Details of Koufax's Jewish roots, his love of basketball, and the ups and downs of his baseball career are deftly interspersed between an inning-by-inning description of the perfect game he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1965. (304 pp.) By Vic Roberts

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

The Oregonian: Favorable review

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