A Monitor Guide to The Bestsellers

The Monitor's Guide to Bestsellers


1. BODY FOR LIFE, by Bill Phillips, HarperCollins Publishers, $25 (Last week 4, Weeks on list 4) 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 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

2. TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, by Mitch Albom, Doubleday, $19.95 (Last week 2, Weeks on list 84)

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. THE GREATEST GENERATION, by Tom Brokaw, Random House, $24.95 (Last week 7, Weeks on list 27) 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

4. SUZANNE SOMERS' GET SKINNY ON FABULOUS FOOD, by Suzanne Somers, Crown Pub. Group, $24 (Last week 3, Weeks on list 6) 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

5. SUGAR BUSTERS! by H. Leighton Steward, et al., Ballantine, $22 (Last week 8, Weeks on list 56) 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. THE ART OF HAPPINESS, by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, Riverhead Books, $22.95 (Last week 9, Weeks on list 18) 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

7. POPULAR SHADOW, by Bob Woodward, Simon & Schuster, $27.50 (Last week 5, Weeks on list 4) The Washington Post's Bob Woodward argues that no president since Richard Nixon has understood the changes the Watergate scandal wrought in the relationships between the president on one hand and the public, the press, and Congress on the other. A typical Woodward effort, with all that implies, including anonymous sources and those controversial "reconstructed" quotes. Still, the book contains fascinating nuggets of pure gold that make it a must-read for the politics junkie. (592 pp.) By Lawrence J. Goodrich

8. SOMETHING MORE, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Little, Brown & Co., $20 (Last week 6, Weeks on list 15)

What a relief to see a self-help book for women that's not about how to snag a man or lose 10 pounds in six days. Breathnach's desire to help women value their spiritual selves and rediscover a sense of joy is laudable, and her use of archaeology as a metaphor for examining one's life is clever. But her self-promoting tone can occasionally grate, and one may question whether deep life lessons can be learned from the likes of "The Bridges of Madison County." (288 pp.) By Yvonne Zipp

9. SIMPLE ABUNDANCE, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Warner, $18.95 (Last week 12, Weeks on list 129) 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 reading on gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty, and joy. There is a reading for each day of the calendar year. Like modern goldmining - 30 tons of shoveled dirt to find one ounce of gold - there are pages of platitudes before one hits an original insight. "The Oprah Winfrey Show" spotlighted this book. (Unpaged) By Jim Bencivenga

10. THE OTHER SIDE AND BACK, by Sylvia Browne, Dutton Books, $23.95 (Last week /-, Weeks on list 1) Based on her supposed contact with the "Other Side" (which exists 3 feet in the air and where everyone is 30 years old, according to the author), this psychic, church founder, former Catholic school teacher, and good friend of Montel Williams ups the ante in the world of self-help with her latest demystification of the mystical. With chapters about past lives, hauntings, and the Dark Side, it mostly entertains while offering, at times, creative interpretation of life and death. (279 pp.) By Steven Harris

11. Real Age: Are You as Young as You Can Be? by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., HarperCollins, $25 (Last week 2, Weeks on list 3) Purporting to demystify the aging process, "Real Age: Are You as Young as You Can Be?" taps the dawning angst of baby boomers coming to terms with the fact that they are aging. It promises a methodology on how to control the aging process and identifies 44 behaviors that affect aging. By measuring obvious changes in behavior - reduce stress, don't smoke, monitor medication intake, watch calorie intake - this book promises a longer, healthier life. Extensive use of medical statistics. (335 pp.) By Jim Bencivenga

12. ENCORE PROVENCE, by Peter Mayle, Knopf/Everyman's Library, $23 (Last week 14, Weeks on list 3) 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

13. THE FIRST WORLD WAR, by John Keegan, Alfred A. Knopf, $35 (Last week 13, Weeks on list 2) The author of a dozen military histories over 20 years offers a comprehensive - though conventional - chronological narrative of Word War I's campaigns and battles. The predictable names and battles appear. But the tactical causes of the butchery of trench warfare, which left some 9 million dead and fatally weakened by democracy in interwar Europe, is a question that remains unanswered. Why were the Entente commanders so poor, and their German counterparts so capable? (475 pp.) (Full review 8/5/99) By Leonard Bushkoff

14. SEE JANE WIN, by Sylvia Rimm, Crown Publisher, &25 (Last week 11, Weeks on list 1) Noted child psychologist Sylvia Rimm and her daughters, a research psychologist and a pediatric oncology researcher, have compiled a well-researched and written study of how today's successful women have achieved their goals. They define a woman's success not in corporate terms, but rather in fulfillment in their professional and personal lives. This study unbiasedly tells the story of what has motivated and influenced women to pursue careers, and attain what is, for them, satisfying. (361 pp.) By Christy Ellington

15. DAVE PELZ'S SHORT GAME BIBLE, by Dave Pelz, Broadway Books, $30 (Last week -, Weeks on list 1) Call him the sultan of swing, Dave Pelz has tracked thousands of golfers and their swings and compiled statistical data. Now he lets you in on the secrets of golf's short game. From the waggle of the club head to internalizing the rhythm of your approach, Pelz tells you, and shows you in pictures, what works and why. This book focuses only on the short game. With thorough and clear writing, Pelz backs up his observations with statistics, not professional preaching. (429 pp.) By Lane Hartill


*LA Times; Denver Post; Booklist; Plain Dealer; Boston Globe; Gannett News; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Santa Fe New Mexican

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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