The Monitor Guide to The Bestsellers

The Monitor's Guide to Bestsellers


1. THE ROCK SAYS, by the Rock with Joe Layden, Regan Books, $26

(Last week 1, Weeks on list 4)

Dwayne Johnson is the Zeus of the wrestling world, a giant that knows how to rile up his foes. His career started on the gridiron at the University of Miami, and he ended up toiling on a Canadian team's practice squad. The book's tone alternates between snide and barbaric and reflective and soft. "The Rock" peels back the canvas and shows the slams and shams behind the matches. Unless you're a devoted fan, this rowdy and crass bomb will have you running for more wholesome sports. (224 pp.)

By Lane Hartill

2. TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, by Mitch Albom, Doubleday, $19.95

(Last week 2, Weeks on list 116)

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. WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? By Spencer Johnson, Putnam, $19.95

(Last week 5, Weeks on list 6)

Using a children's book style, Johnson tells the story of two mice, two mini-men, and their never-ending search for cheese. The cheese represents the things people want out of life, and the characters portray all the patterns we fall into as we search for our cheese. The format makes the book's keep-life-moving-by-overcoming-fear philosophy easy to remember. This quick read of simple ideas will provide at least one character to relate to and some advice to hold on to during a busy day. (94 pp.)

By Christy Ellington

4. 'TIS, by Frank McCourt, Scribner, $26

(Last week 3, Weeks on list 18)

" 'Tis" picks up with McCourt's arrival in New York in 1949 as a 19-year-old of astonishing naivet and wearisome self-pity. Too often the memorable tragedy of his first memoir inadvertently mocks the relatively minor trials of this sequel. The flames of "Angela's Ashes" have burned down considerably, but there are still wonderful moments in this book whenever McCourt moves away from himself to his cast of remarkable characters. His tales of teaching English are particularly good. (367 pp.) (Full review Sept. 23)

By Ron Charles

5. BODY FOR LIFE, by Bill Phillips, HarperCollins Publishers, $25

(Last week 4, Weeks on list 29)

Phillips, founder and editor in chief of Muscle Media magazine, furthers the spread of his dietary expertise in this new book. Phillips's 12-week program treats physical wellness as one of many aspects of life. His theory is that the attainment of physical goals will help one achieve other life goals. Arranged with a variety of success stories, charts, and examples, this plan provides an easy-to-follow program, with tasty recipes and a simple exercise program. (203 pp.)

By Christy Ellington

6. A VAST CONSPIRACY, by Jeffrey Toobin, Random House, $25.95

(Last week 6, Weeks on list 4)

This is a soup-to-nuts examination of the Clinton impeachment scandal that takes the disparate characters, facts, and timelines and reassembles them smartly for the history record. It will appeal particularly to those news rats who hit the feeder bar for updates each day. Toobin's legal background gives his analysis authority. His writing is accurate and fearless. He also provides clarifying detail to the cast of characters - clarification that would have been useful during the scandal. (422 pp.) (Full review Jan. 27)

By James N. Thurman

7. THE GREATEST GENERATION, by Tom Brokaw, Random House, $24.95

(Last week 9, Weeks on list 54)

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

8. SUGAR BUSTERS!, by H. Leighton Steward, et al., Ballantine, $22

(Last week 11, Weeks on list 185)

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 during 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 self-conscious about what you eat now, you will be after reading "Sugar Busters!" (270 pp.)

By Kendra Nordin

9. THE ART OF HAPPINESS, by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, Riverhead Books, $22.95

(Last week 12, Weeks on list 46)

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

10. HAVE A NICE DAY! by Mick Foley, Regan Books, $25

(Last week 7, Weeks on list 14)

This autobiography tells the rise of a wrestling legend, but it's a raw, sometimes vile narrative. The book goes into detail - and provides photos - about Foley's injuries and the opponents who made him the wrestler he is today. "Cactus Jack," as he calls himself, shares the everyday life inside and outside the ring. There are glimmers of humanity, such as the thoughtful time he spends with his children and wife, but the majority of the book is a mish-mash of pile drives, open wounds, and needless banter. (544 pp.)

By Lane Hartill

11. THE GREATEST GENERATION SPEAKS, by Tom Brokaw, Random House, $24.95

(Last week 10, Weeks on list 8)

News anchor Tom Brokaw crafts a follow-up to his bestselling "The Greatest Generation," which pays tribute to the people who survived the Depression and fought in World War II. His latest chronicle is filled with letters from that generation - poignant reflections of war and its life lessons. Their voices vividly reflect on everything from close encounters at the front lines and tragic loss to marriage proposals made from overseas. (412 pp.)

By Stephanie Cook

12. GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2000, by Guinness Media, $25.95

(Last week 8, Weeks on list 19)

Those who remember "The Guinness Book of World Records" as a treasure-trove of trivia, ranging from the delightfully arcane (most digits of pi memorized) to the truly awe-inspiring (most eggs eaten in one second) will be sorely disappointed with this "millennium edition." More of a coffee-table piece than a reference source, the book is chock full of celebrity and gross-out photos that make this Guinness incarnation a cross between People magazine and Fox's "When Animals Attack." An obnoxious book. (284 pp.)

By Josh Burek

13. HELL TO PAY, by Barbara Olson, Regnery Publishing, $27.95

(Last week -, Weeks on list 1)

This poorly written, thinly sourced hatchet job reveals almost nothing of value about the first lady. Barbara Olson, a former federal prosecutor who investigated the Travelgate and Filegate scandals, is representative of a group of right-wingers who have an almost pathological dislike of Mrs. Clinton. The vitriol seems to come from frustration: They keep pointing out her "crimes," yet the public ignores them. Olson's book is the equivalent of a high-pitched scream: irritating and without substance. (344 pp.)

By Liz Marlantes

14. WHEN PRIDE STILL MATTERED, by David Maraniss, Simon & Schuster, $26

(Last week -, Weeks on list 16)

If Vince Lombardi had pursued his original plan and entered the priesthood, his relentless desire to succeed might have made him the pope. Instead, he preached the gospel of the gridiron - the T-formation and forearm shiver. Is Lombardi the symbol of a better time in sports (and life), or is his winning-is-the-only-thing mentality the problem that plagues the games today? Sports fans will relish Maraniss's abundant detail. The shattered myth of a more innocent America will captivate all. (504 pp.)

By David S. Hauck

15. THE NEW NEW THING, by Michael Lewis, W.W. Norton and Co., $25.95

(Last week 14, Weeks on list 8)

"The New New Thing" shows how Silicon Valley has turned Wall Street - and the American economy - on its head. On the surface, it's the story of Jim Clark, a volatile but brilliant entrepreneur who created Silicon Graphics and Netscape. But it's also a story of how greed and a bright idea at just the right moment has made individuals like Mr. Clark the Rockefellers of our time. The creation of massive wealth with little more than a good idea and the right contacts is a disturbing vision. (268 pp.) (Full review Oct. 28)

By Tom Regan


*Denver Post; LA Times; Boston Globe; Dallas Morning News; San Francisco Chronicle; Plain Dealer; Washington Post; Business Week; Charlotte Observer; Buffalo News; New Yorker; Salon Magazine; USA Today

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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