The Monitor's Guide to Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction
1. THE ARTHRITIS CURE, by Jason Theodosakis, Brenda Adderly, Barry Fox, St. Martin's, $22.95
This short work discusses a non-surgical, no-drugs approach to dealing with arthritis. It relies instead on nutritional supplements, combined with diet and exercise. The book is of necessity detailed in its description of the malady. The authors seem to sincerely care about helping others and encourage proactive steps rather than surgical/drug treatment. They do not accept the inevitability of suffering from the illness. By Terri Theiss
2. PERSONAL HISTORY, by Katharine Graham, Knopf, $29.95
Katharine Graham writes conversationally and invites close attention for her humor and understatement. Her accounts of the Washington Post's printing of the Pentagon papers and investigations into Watergate, are required reading. Her often fumbling relationships with reporters and editors are instructive too. Aptly called a "personal history," the book tells how Graham saw things - and she saw much of the last half century's political history close up. By Richard J. Cattani
3. SIMPLE ABUNDANCE, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Warner, $17.95
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 readings on gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty, and joy. There is a reading for each day of the calendar year. Like modern gold-mining - 30 tons of shoveled dirt to find one ounce of gold - there are pages of platitudes before hitting an original insight. Appearance on Oprah Winfrey show spotlighted this book. By Jim Bencivenga
4. ANGELA'S ASHES: A MEMOIR, by Frank McCourt, Scribners, $23
"Angela's Ashes," Frank McCourt's brilliant and tender memoir of his miserable Irish Catholic childhood in Limerick, Ireland, is a deeply moving story and a very funny book. Angela was McCourt's mother. The story begins in Brooklyn during the Depression as she tries to hold the family together; later, because of his father's alcoholism the family is forced to return to Ireland where McCourt discovers Shakespeare and language. It is a book of splendid humanity. By Devon McNamara
5. MASTERING THE ZONE, by Barry Sears, HarperCollins, $24
A quick sequel to his previous besteller, "The Zone," (see number 7 below) offers nothing new from the original but 150 "scientific" recipies. The dietary observation is obvious: Don't eat too much, don't eat too little, eat the right food. The publishers are cognizant that wrapping menus in a mantle of research and analysis about genetics satisfies a national craving for information about good health through good eating. By Jim Bencivenga
6. MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, by John Gray, HarperCollins, $20
Written more for the female audience, this easy-to-read guide helps men and women better understand how the other sex communicates. Although redundant and sometimes stereotypical, it goes beyond psychobabble. The author explores such issues as the difference between a man's silence and a woman's, why men and women resist the other sex's solutions, and how a man reacts when a woman needs to talk. By Shelley Donald Coolidge
7. MURDER IN BRENTWOOD, by Mark Fuhrman, Regnery, $24.95
The detective whose racial slurs taped for a fictional work overshadowed the Simpson criminal trial tells his story. Fuhrman points to several errors made in the case, including evidence (a bloody fingerprint and Swiss Army knife box) that led detectives failed to collect. He also points out that exhaustive public investigations of his work have not turned up any evidence of wrongdoing or racism on his part. Better editing would have helped this book. By Faye Bowers
8. THE GIFT OF PEACE..., by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Loyola Press, $17.95
After being dianosed with terminal cancer, Cardinal Bernardin of the Chicago Archdiocese wrote this book subtitled, "Personal Reflections." He did so in the last two months of his life finishing it 13 days prior to his passing. It reads like a collection of letters to friends and shares the serene state of his thought. It reveals a profoundly spiritual man completely at peace with God and his own conscience, something he wanted to share with all mankind. By Jim Bencivenga
9. THE ZONE, by Barry Sears, HarperCollins, $22
This book purports to counteract the genetic programming of disease, excessive weight, loss of mental proficiency and physical performance through diet. The author develops a theory of "food as drug" that promises optimal health when eating the right foods in the right proportions. Contains minute technical details of disease, case studies, and a road map for achieving life in the "Zone," a state of being suggesting the perfect union of body and mind. By Jim Bencivenga
10. CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, by Neale Donald Walsch, Putnam, $19.95
Written in a very simple, accessible style, this book is based on what the author, the founder of an Oregon-based organization called ReCreation, describes as a three-year conversation with God that he transcribed. It contains some substantial insights and flashes of humor. God is described as an all-good, omnipotent Being, who is constantly communicating with all people. Prayer is described as a process, not a petition. First of three books. By Abraham T. McLaughlin
11. A REPORTER'S LIFE, by Walter Cronkite, Knopf, $26.95
Walter Cronkite, often called the most trusted man in America, tells his life story with candor and wit. From his start delivering newspapers in Kansas City to his rise to being the most watched anchorman on TV, his story is an entertaining and interesting read. Though some of his insights come off as a bit simplistic, others are thought provoking. The book has the advantage of being written by someone who was there at the major events of this century. By Brian McCauley
12 EVIDENCE DISMISSED:..., by Tom Lange, Pocket Books, $24
In the swirl of media hype, high-paid legal teams, and debates about who used the "N" word and when, the two lead detectives on the O.J. Simpson case say the "mountain of evidence" they gathered to prove Simpson's guilt was ignored. In this carefully constructed book they explain in copious detail all their moves throughout the investigation and the rationale for them. They rebut each of the defense team's allegations of conspiracy or incompetence. By Abraham T. McLaughlin
13. WHAT FALLS AWAY, by Mia Farrow, Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $25
Two-thirds of this book is an entertaining Hollywood memoir - filled with interesting anecdotes and overblown language. But when Woody Allen enters the pages, it becomes something darker. Most will recall the 1992 scandal where Allen confessed to having an affair with Farrow's adopted daughter and she accused him of sexually abusing another child. It is not a topic America should find entertaining, although one hopes Farrow found peace through writing about it. By Yvonne Zipp
14. HIS NAME IS RON: OUR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE, by F. Goldman and W. Hoffer, Morrow, $25.95
In this heart-wrenching and very emotional book, the Goldmans tell of their close-knit family and the pain of losing a son. In exhausting detail they chronicle both the criminal and civil trials of O.J. Simpson, blaming the not-guilty verdict on Johnnie Cochran's playing the race card and on what they call Judge Ito's incompetence. But they also tell how they were able to continue life as a family and how they were transformed in to victims' rights advocates. By Abraham T. Mclaughlin
15. MY SERGEI: A LOVE STORY, by Ekaterina Gordeeva, Warner, $18.95
Figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva's book - named after her late husband and skating partner, Sergei Grinkov, who died suddenly - is a touching and personal account of a relationship that started when the two were paired together at ages 11 and 15 by the Soviet regime. Written with Sports Illustrated's Ed Swift, it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the competitive world of figure skating as well as her struggle to raise her young daughter alone. By Shelley Donald Coolidge
SOUTHERN JOURNEY: A RETURN TO THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, By Tom Dent, William Morrow & Co., 381pp., $35
While clinging to its past, the South today is also greatly changed. And never since the end of the Civil War did that change flow faster than during the great struggle for black civil rights in the early 1960s.
In Tom Dent's, "Southern Journey," readers meet Southerners, especially black Southerners, in a series of candid conversations, some heartwarming, some filled with bitterness.
The original civil rights movement sprouted with lunch counter sit-ins and boycotts, then bloomed into the memorable marches that brought down segregation and brought in voting rights for African-Americans.
More than 30 years later, the racial picture in the South is more complex, says Dent. While blacks are still at the bottom of the economic ladder, a huge number of them have never been better off. While schools are no longer officially segregated, in many places so many whites have fled to suburbs or private academies that they might as well be.
To collect impressions of what has changed, and what hasn't since the 1960s, Dent traveled the back roads of a half-dozen Southern states for nearly a year, talking with 140 Southerners, black and white. Whatever their current troubles, many of Dent's interviewees still have an overriding feeling that something irreversible has happened.