The Monitor Guide to The Bestsellers

The Monitor's Guide to Bestsellers


1. RELATIONSHIP RESCUE, by Phillip McGraw, Hyperion, $22.95

(Last week 4, Weeks on list 3)

Fed up with the cold-shoulder treatment from your spouse? In a guide that aims to revive disconnected couples, Oprah-darling "Dr. Phil" puts the onus on the reader to affect change. He bills himself as a "tell it like it is" love counselor, debunking 10 relationship myths. Readers are pushed to "reconnect with their core" in a seven-step strategy, complete with stick-to plans, rigorous questionnaires that rival the SAT, and instructions to "list five things that would make you fall out of love." (254 pp.)

By Stephanie Cook

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

(Last week 3, Weeks on list 10)

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

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

(Last week 5, Weeks on list 33)

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

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

(Last week 2, Weeks on list 120)

A beloved college professor who is dying agrees to meet each Tuesday with a former student and discuss life and death. 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

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

(Last week 1, Weeks on list 8)

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 from snide and barbaric to 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

6. THE MILLIONAIRE MIND, by Thomas J. Stanley, Andrews McMeel Publishing, $26.95

(Last week 6, Weeks on list 3)

Stanley examines the lifestyles of the rich and not-so-famous people who reside in good neighborhoods without being ostentatious. His well-researched book, cataloged from surveys and interviews, reveals how average people have attained wealth through a set of common attributes. Though the book is repetitive, it reveals how good social skills, integrity, hard work, a sense of vocation, a focus on family, responsible planning, and courage count for more than brilliance, good grades, or luck. (406 pp.)

By Stephen Humphries

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

(Last week 12, Weeks on list 189)

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

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

(Last week 7, Weeks on list 22)

" '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

9. FAITH OF MY FATHERS, by John McCain, Random House, $25

(Last week 8, Weeks on list 14)

This US senator from Arizona and Republican presidential candidate has had unusual opportunities to learn about character. His family memoir details a life marked by privilege and excess as well as the kind of challenges that most of us can barely imagine. This book will be best known for its break-your-heart account of McCain's five-plus years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, at one

point spending two years in isolation. It's a fascinating history of a remarkable military family. (349 pp.)

(Full review Sept. 16) By Brad Knickerbocker

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

(Last week 9, Weeks on list 18)

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. SHRUB, by Molly Ivins with Lou Dubose, Random House, $19.95

(Last week -, Weeks on list 1)

With the flexible reach that a long-time local earns, Ivins scrubs George W. Bush's past for comedy and criticism. She's often gratuitous, and there's a lot of "Quayle-ing" of the man she calls "Dubya." But throughout, the book has the feel and credibility of a good beat reporter's notebook. Stylistically, Ivins's use of metaphor, euphemism, and Texicanology is just too much. It's like sucking salsa through a straw. When Ivins writes, there has to be a jalapeo in every line. (224 pp.)

(Full review Feb. 17) By James N. Thurman

12. FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, by Cokie and Steve Roberts, William Morrow, $24.99

(Last week 14, Weeks on list 4)

Ever get that school assignment to write down every detail of your day? A good task for kids, but less enticing for adults. The cute dialogue and play-by-play of the co-authors' trip to the altar and thereafter could make a fence-straddler want to skip marriage altogether. The two journalists have been married more than 30 years, defying friends who said it wouldn't last. With historical anecdotes and stories from their own happy union, the Robertses write about family, parenting, and happiness. (347 pp.)

By Christy Ellington

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

(Last week 13, Weeks on list 50)

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 psychiatrist based in Phoenix. (315 pp.)

By Leigh Montgomery

14. HOW TO KNOW GOD, by Deepak Chopra, Harmony Books, $24.99

(Last week -, Weeks on list 1)

For Chopra, God "isn't a person, God is a process." Creatively weaving together physics and metaphysics, Chopra describes reality as a sandwich, with a transitional realm as the filling between God and the material world. Our brains are "hardwired" to enter this realm through seven different "God responses." Chopra draws from a variety of sources, including Eastern religions and physical sciences. While his argument at times seems jumbled, he makes several thought-provoking points. (320 pp.)

By Liz Marlantes

15. A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS, by Dave Eggers, Simon & Schuster, $23

(Last week -, Weeks on list 1)

There are so many reasons to dislike this super-hip, post-modern autobiography that it's something of a disappointment to report how wonderful it is. What saves the book is not its linguistic pranks (which are often very, very funny), but the tender story of Eggers's desperate love for his eight-year-old brother after the death of their parents from cancer. I can't think of anyone who captures the delight and terror of parenthood as well as Eggers does here. (375 pp.)

(Full review March 2) By Ron Charles


*USA Today; LA Times; Plain Dealer; Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Wall Street Journal; Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel; Rocky Mountain News; Booklist; Washington Post

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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