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February 2008
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New York Times Best Sellers: 22 February 2007

After an 8 week absence, the weekly best sellers list is back! Each week we bring to you the New York Times best sellers list. We go through the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you an an idea of what to download for your Kindle or just to buy for your bookshelf. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com. Here are our top 3 books of the week following by the top 5 books in each category;

Our Picks

The Appeal (by John Grisham): Number 1 in Hardcover Fiction

The Appeal (Hardcover) by John Grisham (Author)John Grisham will be ending his absence from the New York Times Best Seller’s List (fiction) with the arrival “The Appeal.” Grisham’s first legal thriller since the Broker (2005) is a gripping and compelling read that will be hard to put down. It is also timely since it highlights the underbelly of today’s election politics.

The story centers on a small Mississippi law firm who wins a big verdict over a chemical giant, Krane, that has spread carcinogenic pollutants. Krane, fearful that this verdict, if not overturned, would set a precedent that would eventually destroy it, goes into action. It files an appeal that will find its way to the state supreme court, and hires a “dirty tricks” firm to unseat a sitting justice believe to be unfriendly. This is a viable strategy since Mississippi elects their Supreme Court justices and 69% of its voters know little about the court’s candidates.

The “Appeal” provides a believable primer on how to rig an election – pick a victim; promote an unknown candidate with no visible record; and ambush the victim by painting him/her as a extreme ideologue (this liberal judge will destroy the family). Done well…and the election process is subverted.

This is Grisham’s thirteenth legal thriller since “A Time to Kill” which was published in 1989. He has been a master at putting urgent moral issues on center stage for all to consider. He has succeeded again in “The Appeal.”

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

A Thousand Splendid Suns (by Khaled Hosseini): Number 3 in Hardcover Fiction

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Hardcover) by Khaled Hosseini (Author)With his second novel, Khaled Hosseini proves beyond a shadow of doubt that “The Kite Runner” was no flash in the Afghan pan. Once again set in Afghanistan, the story twists and turns its way through the turmoil and chaos that ensued following the fall of the monarchy in 1973, but focuses mainly on the lives of two women, thrown together by fate.

The story starts decades before the Taliban came into power in 1996, and ends after the era of Taliban rule. The main character begins life as a “harami” – the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man and one of his housekeepers. Forced to live in a small shack with her emotionally disturbed and possibly epileptic mother, Mariam lives for Thursdays, the day her father comes to see her, bearing small gifts and showering her with the affection she craves. Naturally, Mariam wants to be a part of her father’s life and fit in with his legitimate family, but when she attempts to force his hand, she is rebuffed and feels betrayed by his reaction. Her impetuous actions bring an end to the life she has known for fifteen long years, and lead to an arranged marriage to a much older man, a shoemaker, whose views on the rights of women mirror those that the Taliban would soon enforce.

During the time that Mariam is dutifully enduring her unhappy marriage, a neighbor gives birth to a baby girl, whom they name Laila. By her ninth birthday, Laila has grown up to be a beautiful child with blonde hair, turquoise-green eyes, high cheekbones and dimples. Unfortunately, her mother lives only for the day her older sons will return home from fighting the jihad, and is consumed by the vision of a free Afghanistan. Laila’s best friend is a boy named Tariq, her confidant, defender and co-conspirator, and by the end of communist rule in 1992, Laila is fourteen, and beginning to see Tariq in a different way that she does not quite understand.

The enthusiastic rejoicing at the end of the jihad is silenced by the internal battles of the Mujahideen, and when the bombs start falling on Kabul, Laila and Tariq are forced apart. Circumstances can make strange things happen, and Laila soon becomes a part of Mariam’s husband’s household, by necessity rather than choice. The rest of this unforgettable story reflects the heart-rending sacrifices of these women, and allows the reader a peek behind the burqa, to the heart of Afghanistan.

There are parts of this book that will have grown men surreptitiously blotting the tears that are on the verge of overflowing their ducts, and by the time you get to the middle, you won’t be able to put it down. Hosseini’s simple but richly descriptive prose makes for an engrossing read, and in my opinion, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is among the best I have ever read. This is definitely not one to be missed.

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (by Michael Pollan): Number 1 in Hardcover Nonfiction

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (Hardcover) by Michael Pollan (Author)Thinking of going on a diet this New Year’s? Better read this book before you do. In Defense of Food will convince you that the solution to our weight woes is not to go on a diet, but, rather, to go off a diet–the Western diet, that is.

Don’t be fooled by this book’s subtitle; “manifesto” doesn’t do it justice. In Defense of Food is an out-and-out assault on the way America eats. Welcome to the agri-culture war, where Big Food, Agribiz, food scientists, and nutritionists battle not for our hearts and minds but our stomachs.

Pollan documents the decline of “real” foods in our diet–i.e., things that our grandparents would recognize as edible–and the corresponding rise of processed, packaged substances full of gobbledy-gook ingredients masquerading as food on our supermarket shelves. He notes that the meat-heavy Western diet inevitably leads to high rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes in every culture that adopts it.

In Defense of Food lays out in depressing detail how industrial agriculture has robbed the American diet of anything resembling diversity, citing the endless incarnations of corn and soy that the food industry foists on us before concluding that the only way to achieve a truly varied diet of predominantly plant-based, naturally nutritious whole foods is to ignore bogus health claims on boxes and simply stay out of the supermarket altogether, if possible, and rely on farmers’ markets instead. Sadly, that’s not a viable option for many Americans.

His other prescriptions for our overweight, undernourished nation? “Pay More, Eat Less”–i.e., the ol’ quality over quantity adage. Scale back the Paul Bunyonesque portions, if you don’t want to look like a lumberjack on steroids. And what’s up with the 24/7 snacking? As Pollan points out, there’s really no mystery to the so-called French paradox–French people just don’t snack, or help themselves to seconds.

We, on the other hand, consume soda, chips, cookies and candy all day long, but haven’t got time to prepare a decent meal, much less to sit down and savor it with friends or family. Pollan finds the antidote for this sorry state in the Slow Food movement, which, he says, “offers a coherent protest against, and alternative to, the Western diet and way of eating, indeed to the whole ever-more-desperate Western way of life.”

Pollan’s final piece of advice is my favorite: “Cook, And, If You Can, Plant a Garden.” The simple act of growing one’s own food was a nearly universal skill (as was cooking) a few generations back, but after World War II, leftover chemicals and pesticides became the basis of our current system of industrial agriculture. The military-industrial complex invaded our pantries and installed a regime of partially hydrogenated hucksters and high fructose corn syrup imposters, turning real food into a refugee on the crunchy granola fringe.

What Pollan advocates is nothing less than a wholesale rejection of the modern American food chain. It’s a radical proposal in a time when “cooking from scratch and growing any of your own food qualify as subversive acts.”

Pollan’s just the latest agri-culture warrior to call for a return to real foods; In Defense of Food is, he admits, “a work of synthesis, built on a foundation of research and thinking laid by others.” Indeed. The snappy slogan that sums up Pollan’s book–”Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”–echoes the premise of one of Pollan’s mentors, NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle, in her book What to Eat, published last year: “eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.”

Pollan’s succeeded in reducing Nestle’s ten word mantra to a mere seven words, which, in this era of ever shorter attention spans, may be a public service. In Defense of Food could transform the way America eats, and not a minute too soon, because we’re eating ourselves to death.

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* – These reviews are taken from Amazon.com customer reviews and do not reflect the views or opinions blogkindle.com

Top 5 Books In Each Category

Hardcover Fiction
1. THE APPEAL, by John Grisham
2. 7TH HEAVEN, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
3. DUMA KEY, by Stephen King
4. STRANGER IN PARADISE, by Robert B. Parker
5. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, by Khaled Hosseini

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, by Michael Pollan
2. AN INCONVENIENT BOOK, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe
3. REAL CHANGE, by Newt Gingrich with Vince Haley and Rick Tyler
4. I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!), by Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Allison Silverman et al.
5. TOM CRUISE, by Andrew Morton

Hardcover Advice
1. THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne
2. YOU: STAYING YOUNG, by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz et al.
3. ONE MONTH TO LIVE, by Kerry and Chris Shook
4. BECOME A BETTER YOU, by Joel Osteen
5. HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD, by Charla Krupp

Children’ Books
1. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
2. FLAMINGOS ON THE ROOF, written and illustrated by Calef Brown
3. STAR WARS POP-UP GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, by Matthew Reinhart
4. FIRST THE EGG, written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
5. SMASH! CRASH!, by Jon Scieszka

Paperback Trade Fiction
1. THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, by Ken Follett
2. ATONEMENT, by Ian McEwan
3. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
4. THE 6TH TARGET, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
5. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
1. DREAM CHASER, by Sherrilyn Kenyon
2. HARD TO HANDLE, by Lori Foster
3. DAWN’S AWAKENING, by Lora Leigh
4. SISTERS, by Danielle Steel
5. SNOWFALL AT WILLOW LAKE, by Susan Wiggs

Paperback Nonfiction
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
3. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, by Barack Obama
4. THE GIFT OF FEAR, by Gavin de Becker
5. THE INNOCENT MAN, by John Grisham

Paperback Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. A NEW EARTH, by Eckhart Tolle
2. YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, by Louise L. Hay
3. THE SPEED OF TRUST, by Stephen M. R. Covey with Rebecca R. Merrill
4. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
5. THE POWER OF NOW, by Eckhart Tolle

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