1. "The Mermaid Chair," by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking, $24.95). On Egret Island, off the coast of South Carolina, a married woman is strongly attracted to a monk who is just months away from taking his final vows.
2. "4th of July," by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown, $27.95). Det. Lindsay Boxer, a member of the Women's Murder Club, investigates a series of killings while she herself is on trial.
3. "True Believer," by Nicholas Sparks (Warner, $24.95). A hip young New Yorker who writes a column for Scientific American finds love with a beautiful librarian who lives in a small town in North Carolina.
4. "The Da Vinci Code," by Dan Brown, (Doubleday, $24.95). The murder of a curator at the Louvre leads to a trail of clues found in the work of Leonardo and to the discovery of a centuries-old secret society.
5. "A Long Way Down," by Nick Hornby (Riverhead/Penguin, $24.95). On New Year's Eve, four would-be suicides gather on a London rooftop.
1. "1776," by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, $32). An account of America's founding year by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, focusing on the inexperienced George Washington and heroic citizen soldiers.
2. "The World is Flat," by Thomas L. Friedman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.50). A columnist for The New York Times analyzes 21st-century economics and foreign policy.
3. "Freakonomics," by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $25.95). A maverick scholar applies economic thinking to everything from sumo wrestlers who cheat to legalized abortion.
4. "Blink," by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $25.95). The author of "The Tipping Point" explores the importance of hunch and instinct.
5. "On Bull****," by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton University, $9.95). A philosopher attempts a theoretical understanding of a "vast," "amorphous" phenomenon.
1. "You: The Owner's Manual," by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz (HarperResource, $24.95). A guide to how the body works, and advice on maintaining health and youth.
2. "The Purpose-Driven Life," by Rick Warren (Zondervan, $19.99). Finding the meaning of life through God.
3. "Your Best Life Now," by Joel Osteen (Warner Faith, $19.99). A faith-based approach to living with enthusiasm.
4. "French Women Don't Get Fat," by Mireille Guiliano (Knopf, $22). The secrets of French women, who enjoy food and wine while staying slim.
5. "Winning," by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch (HarperBusiness, $27.95). Business and career advice from the former General Electric CEO.
- The New York Times