A Monitor guide to the bestsellers

1. Leap of Faith

Last Week: 3

Weeks on List: 3

Recommended: 10 best books of June, according to The Christian Science Monitor

by Queen Noor

Miramax Books, $25.95

Lisa Halaby was among the first women admitted to Princeton, but it is her marriage to King Hussein of Jordan in 1978 that distinguishes her life. Noor's memoir describes her transformation from shy American to confident queen, a partner in her husband's efforts to modernize Jordan, heal rifts between Arab states, and bring peace to the Middle East. Her book blends the historical and fairy-tale elements of the royal couple's journey together, which lasted for two decades until Hussein's death in 1999. (467 pp.) By Kim Campbell

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Favorable review

USA Today: Mixed review

2. Stupid White Men

Last Week: 1

Weeks on List: 69

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 real 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

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Unfavorable review

3. Jarhead

Last Week: 2

Weeks on List: 6

by Anthony Swofford

Scribner, $24

Just in time for America's encore in Iraq, Marine Corps sniper Swofford offers a boot's-eye view of the last Gulf war, stripped of any romance or glory. During his time as a 20-year-old "jarhead," Swofford and his platoon mates became trapped in a long, boring purgatory between home and war, while dodging friendly fire. He portrays his fellow soldiers, barely out of high school, as foul-mouthed and girl-crazy. They may be trained killers and tough talkers, but they're mostly lonely kids. ( Reviewed March 20 ) (272 pp.) By Seth Stern

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

Los Angeles Times: Favorable review

4. The Devil in the White City

Last Week: 4

Weeks on List: 8

by Erik Larson

Crown, $25.95

Larson has a genius for turning all-but-forgotten bits of history into narratives as engrossing as any novel. Here, he twins the construction of Chicago's 1893 World's Fair with the tale of a serial killer, H.H. Holmes, who turned the festivities into his hunting ground. Architect Dan Burnham had to overcome everything from his partner's untimely death to a flood to create the White City, an idealistic vision of the 20th century. The tale of the fair's construction is even more suspenseful than the murder mystery. (416 pp.) By Yvonne Zipp

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

Boston Globe: Mixed review

5. Reading Lolita in Tehran

Weeks on List: 1

by Azar Nafisi

Random House, $23.95

Tired of fighting a repressive administration and government, Nafisi assembled a private class for seven of her best female students in Iran to talk about forbidden works of Western literature. Incredibly, the controversial "Lolita" resonated most powerfully. Like its main character, her students felt themselves "the figment of someone else's dreams," those of an ayatollah who sought to "re-create" women in the image of an illusory past. A passionate, astute defense of the value of literature. ( Reviewed March 27 ) (347 pp.) By Heather Hewett

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

Publishers Weekly: Favorable review

6. What Should I Do With My Life

Last Week: 5

Weeks on List: 14

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

7. Atkins for Life

Last Week: 6

Weeks on List: 11

by Robert C. Atkins

M.D., St. Martin's, $24.95

For years, Atkins has claimed that a low-carbohydrate diet combined with exercise helps you stay healthier than a low-fat strategy. His latest book explains how many carbs per day you need to lose or maintain your weight. Personal success stories are told throughout, with medical findings supported by doctors. The book lays out tips and charts on what foods you should and should not eat regularly, including easy-to-follow meal plans and 125 low-carb recipes, from snacks to meals to desserts. (256 pp.) By Mary Roberts

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

Publishers Weekly: Mixed review

8. Of Paradise and Power

Last Week: 11

Weeks on List: 2

by Robert Kagan

Knopf, $18

This clear-eyed, controversial essay posits that the current US-Europe rift is more than a personality clash between a cowboyish President Bush and a haughty French President Chirac. It stems, Kagan says, from the widening military gap between the US and Europe. Europeans can afford to be peace-loving because they know the powerful American military will defend them if need be. Yet each needs the other: The US moderates Europe's idealism, and Europe reins in America's imperialism. (112 pp.) By Abraham McLaughlin

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Mixed review

Los Angeles Times: Favorable review

9. The Power of Now

Last Week: 7

Weeks on List: 38

by Eckhart Tolle

New World, $22.95

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." Tolle claims that 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, you can find out what's real and what's just the imposition of the noisy thoughts bogging you down. (193 pp.) By Christy Ellington

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

10. Crisis of Islam

Last Week: 15

Weeks on List: 2

by Bernard Lewis

Modern Library, $19.95

The renowned but controversial historian of the Middle East sheds valuable light on distinctive Muslim views of history, identity, and community. He also dispels some misperceptions. But this book, while full of learning, provides more generalization and argument than in-depth analysis of Islam's crisis. Though Lewis says various movements vie for Muslims' allegiance, including some the West could readily deal with, he fails to acquaint us with any but the familiar terrorist camps. (144 pp.) By Jane Lampman

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: Unfavorable review

Publishers Weekly: Favorable review

11. The Power of Full Engagement

Last Week: 8

Weeks on List: 4

by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Free Press, $26

Most people work too long without breaks and exercise too little. Loehr and Schwartz's premise is that energy management is the key to performance and fulfillment. Their Corporate Athlete system is designed to increase capacities of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy by alternating stress and recovery periods. It assumes you have some control over your schedule. Many of the principles are already well established, but their organization is instructive and case examples are enlightening. (246 pp.) By Tim Rauschenberger

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

12. Get with the Program!

Weeks on List: 14

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 as the high-protein diets do. It puts the onus on readers to make permanent changes. (224 pp.) By Stephanie Cook

The Christian Science Monitor: Unfavorable review

Book List: Mixed review

13. Dark Star Safari

Weeks on List: 1

by Paul Theroux

Houghton Mifflin, $28

Where travel writer Paul Theroux sees Africa uncluttered by clich├ęs, his writing is brilliant. But his image of the continent as a "dark star" waiting to swallow the Western traveler is a 19th-century holdover. Theroux lived in Africa 40 years ago as a teacher, and too often sees it today not for what it is, but for what it might have been. His writing takes on the hectoring tone of a letter-writer to a small-town paper: In dreary passages on Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi, readers may long for his ironic side. ( Reviewed March 20 ) (496 pp.) By Henk Rossouw

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: Unfavorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

Publishers Weekly: Mixed review

14. The Savage Nation

Last Week: 9

Weeks on List: 11

by Michael Savage

Thomas Nelson, $24.99

By landing on the bestseller list, radio host Savage proves there's still money to be made in small-minded demagoguery. This 200-page rant is intended as a wake-up call to the "sheepish" majority about the enemies poisoning the manly, mighty, and moral America of his youth: Ivy league journalists, "turd world" immigrants, gays, and a host of Jewish and black politicians. Remarkably, for a man with a PhD, he brands the worst of these with a single self-contradictory label: "Commie-Nazis." (220 pp.) By Seth Stern

The Christian Science Monitor: Unfavorable review

15. Pigs at the Trough

Last Week: 12

Weeks on List: 8

by Arianna Huffington

Crown, $22

Political columnist Arianna Huffington yanks back the curtains on the '90s "go-go market" to reveal a portrait of Dorian Greed. While skewering "the lunatic excesses and the frenzy of fraud perpetrated by our high-flying corporate chieftains," she manages to entertain with wicked gallows humor. Lobbyists and accountants, Democrats and Republicans sizzle like bacon under her broilering spotlight. Scrupulous detail, including names, dates, and dollar figures, give her outraged accusations real porcine heft. (240 pp.) By John Kehe

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

USA Today: Favorable review

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...