Bestselling Hardcover Nonfiction

1. MAKING 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

2. AMERICAN TRAGEDY, by Schiller and Willwerth, Random House, $27.50

The latest O.J. book is unique for its access to the Dream Team of defense lawyers. Written by the man who put together Simpson's mid-trial money making book, "I Want to Tell You," it is overtly flattering toward the defendant and his lawyers. The book's contribution to the ever-growing body of O.J. literature is its intimate account of O.J.'s contemplation of suicide and its look at defense-team strategy - from playing the race card to redecorating O.J.'s house for the jury's visit. By Abraham McLaughlin

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. CINDY CRAWFORD'S BASIC FACE, by Cindy Crawford, Broadway Books, $25

Filled with glossy photos and written in capital letters, this is less a work of nonfiction than a marketing device - one that is badly in need of a touch-up. To be fair, Crawford probably knows make- up as well as anybody in the fashion industry and does have one piece of excellent advice: Don't spend more than five minutes each day putting on makeup. A spiral binder allows for flexible and fully extended open pages that can be viewed while applying makeup in front of a mirror. 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


This autobiography is both a personal history and a social history of Philadelphia's black music scene. The writing style is, like its author, energetic and straightforward. Better editing would help in spots. The content comes hard and fast. LaBelle's personal and professional lives have included great hardships. Readers should be prepared for some tragic experiences: discussion of sexual abuse and terminal illnesses. But LaBelle's message of unselfishness is valuable and moving. By Terri Theiss


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

11. LOVE LUCY, by Lucille Ball with Betty Hannah, Putnam, $24.95

Lucie and Desi Arnaz found this unfinished autobiography, along with 20 hours of taped interviews, among their mother's personal effects. Filled with insightful detail and funny stories, it spans Lucille Ball's childhood through her marriage and phenomenally successful TV years with Desi Arnaz to their divorce and her marriage to Gary Morton. Unlike the tell-all books that usually frequent the bestseller lists, Ball's autobiography possesses her characteristic generosity and good humor. By Yvonne Zipp

12. HOW GOOD DO WE HAVE TO BE, by Harold Kushner, Random House, $23

Kushner's basic premise is that God doesn't expect people to be perfect and loves them in spite of their imperfection. Instead of feeling guilty and blaming others for whatever is wrong in our lives, we should be more godlike by forgiving our friends, our parents, and our children for their imperfections. Kushner focuses on child/parent relationships using many examples of the forgiveness theory. He says things several times in several different ways, but he is basically saying the same thing. By Janet Moller

13. 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

14. UNDAUNTED COURAGE, by Stephen E. Ambrose, Simon & Schuster, $30

Lewis and Clark. Stephen Ambrose tells the story with a zest for detail, and a feel for the humanity of Meriwether Lewis and his patron, Thomas Jefferson, that make the history sing and sigh, groan and breathe. If you think you already know the tale, think again. If you've heard about it but never read much about it, here's the chance to go along on an epic journey that helped mold not only the new nation, but the American character itself, with its manifest strengths and frailties. By Keith Henderson

15. DOWNSIZE THIS!: Random Threats..., by Michael Moore, Crown, $21

This book of essays is ostensibly satirical humor about current American politics and society. Moore is best known for his championing of working Americans facing hard times and his dislike of corporate entities. The humor here, though, is unclear, juvenile, and often tasteless. What is clear is a leftist-biased, meanspirited whine written with anger and foul language. A few interesting insights do not make up for pages and pages of carping. It is not worth the effort to read this book. By Terri Theiss

*Bestseller Ranking From Publishers Weekly, November 4, 1996


FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE: FROM PROMETHEUS TO PORNOGRAPHY, by Roger Shattuck, St. Martin's Press, 346 pp., $27.95

Modern civilization has been built upon the almost sanctified premise that social progress depends upon the unfettered pursuit of truth wherever it may lead. But are there things that we should not uncover? Are there topics or activities that should not be disclosed? Can we know too much for our own good? Has the very notion of cultural taboos become taboo in this morally weightless postmodern world?

Such profound questions animate this learned and illuminating book. Its scope is enormous.

In "Forbidden Knowledge," Roger Shattuck ranges effortlessly across the landscape of Western culture, past and present, using evocative examples from mythology, religion, and literature to show how people have been counseled to restrain their unfettered quest for knowledge. The need for prudent restrictions on human inquiry dominates the ancient stories of Prometheus and Pandora, Psyche and Cupid, Adam and Eve, as well as most great religions.

Shattuck notes that these same concerns emerge in the writings of Dante and Milton. He recognizes the allure and the benefits of open-ended inquiry and free expression as well as their many practical benefits. He also acknowledges the dangers of any form of censorship. But he expresses grave concerns about totally free expression and the unfettered pursuit of scientific knowledge and its applications.

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