The Monitor Guide to The Bestsellers

1. THE GREATEST GENERATION, by Tom Brokaw, Random House, $24.95 Tom Brokaw has effectively captured a cross section of World War II veterans and their contemporaries. They revisit their pasts to tell stories of struggle, perseverance, and heroism. He was inspired by veterans he met while preparing an NBC documentary on the 40th anniversary of D-Day in 1984. Fifteen years and hundreds of interviews later, Brokaw chronicles the era through the eyes of everyday men and women, as well as distinguished individuals such as George Bush, Julia Child, and Bob Dole. (352 pp.) By Stephanie Cook

2. TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, by Mitch Albom, Doubleday, $19.95 A beloved college professor who is dying agrees to meet each Tuesday with a former student and discuss life and death. Mitch Albom, a well-known sportswriter, recorded 14 "classes" with his former teacher Morrie Schwartz. Religion, family, friends, and work are carefully considered. Schwartz (now deceased) was interviewed at home by Ted Koppel and appeared on "Nightline." What keeps this uplifting book from being maudlin is Albom's crisp writing and Schwartz's generous heart. (192 pp.) By Jim Bencivenga

3. SUZANNE SOMERS' GET SKINNY ON FABULOUS FOOD, by Suzanne Somers, Crown Pub. Group, $24 Following on the well-toned heels of her bestselling "Eat Great, Lose Weight," Somers is back with more nutritional advice and decadent recipes. Using a method called "Somersizing," her aim is to debunk the myth that fat is the enemy. She offers more than 130 recipes for delicious food designed to help readers lose weight without feeling deprived. But readers may find the catchy "7 step plan to Somersizing" as fun - and flighty - as her "Three's Company" character Chrissy Snow. (268 pp.) By Sara Steindorf

4. Every man a tiger, by Tom Clancy with Gen. Chuck Horner, Putnam, $27.95 Clancy looks at the role of air power in the Gulf War. His book, published on the heels of the air war in Kosovo, is as timely and precise as any laser-guided bomb dropped on Belgrade a few short weeks ago. General Horner, whose air-combat career began before Vietnam, provides a cockpit, combat center, Pentagon war-room view of the Gulf War. The last chapter on how lessons learned from the Gulf War might be applied (and were in Belgrade) in the next war is particularly valuable. (576 pp.) By Jim Bencivenga

5. SUGAR BUSTERS! by H. Leighton Steward, et al., Ballantine, $22 Three MDs and one CEO cooked up this latest opinion on the best way to trim your waistline. The authors claim that sugar consumption has soared over the past few decades, causing a host of health complications. Complete with graphs and low-sugar recipes, this book focuses on insulin levels in the bloodstream. If you aren't afraid of food now, you will be after reading "Sugar Busters!" (270 pp.) By Kendra Nordin

6. CINDERELLA STORY, by Bill Murray, Doubleday, $19.95 No one has ever provided a sport with more comic relief than Bill Murray does golf. The star of "Caddyshack" and a regular in celebrity charity events, Murray turns his attention, tongue well in cheek, to his Cinderella story on the fairways. If there's a fairy tale anecdote, it occurs at the Western Open, where he and pro partner Peter Jacobsen prevail over basketball superstar Michael Jordan and D.A. Weibring. Unfortunately, the work scatters thoughts the way a wild-swinging duffer scatters his drives. (224 pp.) By Ross Atkins

7. LIVE NOW AGE LATER, by Isadore Rosenfeld MD, Warner Books Inc, $24 Popular medical writer Isadore Rosenfeld wants to give readers a clear guide to making decisions about their health. Convinced that people with the right information can "slow down the clock" and substantially reduce their risk of disease, the upbeat doctor discusses the importance of diet, exercise, and healthy living. Each chapter covers a specific ailment or condition, with recommended ways to avoid, detect, and treat it medically. The discussion of health is clear and frank, but strictly physiological. (368 pp.) By Ron Charles

8. ENCORE PROVENCE, by Peter Mayle, Knopf/Everyman's Library, $23 Southern France, with its sun-steeped soupon of lavender sachets, ratatouille, and bounteous grape harvests is an armchair-traveler's dream. But, with book No. 7, Mayle has turned his panegyric-to-Provence routine into little more than a merchandising gimmick. Despite his snappy anecdotal writing, Mayle has few surprises left in this installment. As a self-styled expert on the region, the author often comes across as smug, turning Provenal folklore and gastronomy into a suburban commodity. (225 pp.) By Elisabetta Coletti

9. I AIN'T GOT TIME TO BLEED, by Jesse Ventura, Villard Books, $19.95 This book could be subtitled, "I Ain't Got No Off Switch." Ventura has the same all-out enthusiasm for the American dream, the need for a third political party, and life in general as a dog chasing a Frisbee. In finger-jabbing sentences, he lays out how he got to the Minnesota governor's mansion via careers as a Navy SEAL, Hollywood actor, radio talk-show host, and local mayor. His positive can-do message is at once inspirational, simplistic, coarse, and unapologetic. And for the 20 bucks, entertaining. (224 pp.) By Skip Thurman

10. THE CENTURY, by Todd Brewster and Peter Jennings, Doubleday, $60 Jennings and Brewster employ a pastiche of approaches in piecing together the past century - formal historical narrative, unfamiliar photographs, and, most striking, eyewitness accounts of events like Hiroshima, Vietnam, and Auschwitz. Conceived as a companion piece to the 27-hour documentary on PBS, the book rolls along, ticking off all that is newsworthy. But the sometimes cool tone burdens the eyewitness accounts with the task of conveying the human side of history. (608 pp.) By Ron Fletcher

11. BELLA TUSCANY: THE SWEET LIFE IN ITALY, by Frances Mayes, Broadway Books, $25 In her luminous follow-up to "Under the Tuscan Sun," Mayes infuses richness, color, and humorous observation. Amid the current trend of publishing houses to jump on the rural-Italian bandwagon, Mayes is a wonderful storyteller. The book sometimes overromanticizes the "foreign" and the preciousness of the "authentic," but Mayes vividly and deftly describes everything from a leaky roof to a slippery lizard with delicious, engaging prose. (286 pp.) By Elisabetta Coletti

12. BETRAYAL, by Bill Gertz, Regnery, $27.95 An uneven look at the Clinton administration's handling of strategic and foreign-policy issues, especially missile threats and defenses. Gertz charges that the administration's adherence to arms-control policies of past administrations has led the US into a dangerous situation: China is up to no good and several rogue states can hit US territory with ballistic missiles. But the book careens between serious and silly, and its leaps of logic offer little connection between fact and mere assertion. (291 pp.) By Lawrence J. Goodrich

13. BODY FOR LIFE, by Bill Phillips, HarperCollins Publishers, $25 Phillips, founder and editor in chief of "Muscle Media" magazine, furthers the spread of his dietary expertise in his new book "Body-for-Life." Phillips's 12-week program treats physical wellness as one, out of many, aspects of our lives. His theory is that the success of our physical goals will help us acheive other life goals, too. Arranged with a variety of success stories, charts, and examples, this plan provides an easy to follow program, with tasty food and a simple exercise program. (203 pp.) By Christy Ellington

14. THE MAJORS: IN PURSUIT OF GOLF'S HOLY GRAIL, by John Feinstein, Little, Brown & Co., $25 This book is a look into life on the 1998 PGA tour and the quest to win one of the four tournaments that define a career in golf: the Masters, the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. Journalist Feinstein, author of "A Good Walk Spoiled," reports many of the untelevised moments from last year's tour and provides an understanding of how this game and its athletes are different in the late-'90s world of celebrity sports. (472 pp.) By Leigh Montgomery

15. THE ART OF HAPPINESS, by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, Riverhead Books, $22.95 The purpose of life, says the Dalai Lama, is to seek happiness. This seemingly elementary statement requires strict adherence and mental discipline toward a benevolent, rather than self-centered, happiness. There is great value in reading about the basic spiritual principles of this unique world figure and Tibetan spiritual leader: human qualities of goodness, compassion, and caring. This book is based on a series of conversations with Howard Cutler, a Phoenix-based psychiatrist. (315 pp.) By Leigh Montgomery

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