Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers For April 29

Compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide in collaboration with the American Booksellers Association. This list reflects sales ending April 25. Book descriptions are based in part on publishers' information.


1. The Big Short

Inside the Doomsday Machine

By Michael Lewis

Weeks on list: 6  •  The financial meltdown wasn't a surprise to everyone, according to Michael Lewis. His new book, The Big Short, tells the story of the lucky few who bet against the market, and ended up with big fortunes to show for it.

Hardcover, 266pp, $27.95, W. W. Norton & Company, Pub Date: Mar. 1, 2010


2. Women Food and God

An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

By Geneen Roth

Weeks on list: 5  •   Since adolescence, Geneen Roth has gained and lost more than 1,000 pounds. She has been dangerously overweight and dangerously underweight. She has been plagued by feelings of shame and self-hatred, and she has felt euphoric after losing a quick few pounds on a fad diet. Then one day, on the verge of suicide, she did something radical: She dropped the struggle, ended the war, stopped trying to fix, deprive and shame herself. She began trusting her body and questioning her beliefs -- and it worked. She begins her book with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive.

Hardcover, 224pp, $24.00, Scribner, Pub Date: Mar. 1, 2010


3. Eaarth

Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

By Bill McKibben

Weeks on list: 2  •  Twenty years ago, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; and now, he insists, humankind needs to acknowledge that it has waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. The globe is now melting, drying, acidifying, flooding and burning in ways that no one has ever seen.

Hardcover, 272pp, $24.00, Times Books, Pub Date: Apr. 13, 2010


4. The Bridge

The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

By David Remnick

Weeks on list: 3  •  Largely told through the prism of race, David Remnick's The Bridge is an exhaustive history of America's first African-American president. Remnick, a New Yorker editor, takes the reader from colonial Kenya, where President Obama's father grew up; to the gritty world of South Side Chicago politics, where Obama cut his political teeth; to the historic presidential race in 2008. Based on numerous on-the-record interviews with friends, associates and Obama himself, The Bridge is the most expansive look yet at where Obama came from, how he came to train his eye on the presidency, and how he executed that vision.

Hardcover, 672pp, $29.95, Knopf, Pub Date: Apr. 6, 2010


5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot

Weeks on list: 12  •  Henrietta Lacks is known to scientists simply as "HeLa." She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells -- taken without her knowledge -- became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than 60 years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they would weigh more than 50 million metric tons -- as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Author Rebecca Skloot explores the life of Henrietta, the woman behind the science.

Hardcover, 384pp, $26.00, Crown, Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2010


6. Oprah

A Biography

By Kitty Kelley

Weeks on list: 2  •  The prolific and controversial biographer Kitty Kelley has written unflattering tell-alls about some of America's most famous figures -- Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and both George Bushes among them. Now she's taken on a subject who has long been seen as perhaps the most untouchable of all: Oprah Winfrey. The book doesn't contain any explosive revelations, but it does flesh out some details about things Winfrey has discussed: the sexual abuse she says she endured as a child, a traumatic adolescent pregnancy, a heavy flirtation with drugs and the nature of her relationship with best friend Gayle King.

Hardcover, 544pp, $30.00, Crown, Pub Date: Apr. 13, 2010


7. 13 Bankers

The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown

By Simon Johnson; James Kwak

Weeks on list: 4  •  James Kwak and Simon Johnson make the case that America's six megabanks -- Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- which together control assets amounting to more than 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product, continue to hold the global economy hostage, threatening yet another financial meltdown with their excessive risk-taking and toxic practices.

Hardcover, 320pp, $26.95, Pantheon, Pub Date: Mar. 30, 2010


8. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

By Chelsea Handler

Weeks on list: 7  •  The essays in Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, a new collection by comedienne and talk show host Chelsea Handler, take aim at childhood, adulthood and daughterhood. And, as was the case in My Horizontal Life and Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, her love life is fair game, too.

Hardcover, 256pp, $25.99, Grand Central Publishing, Pub Date: Mar. 9, 2010


9. In the Green Kitchen

Techniques to Learn by Heart

By Alice Waters

Weeks on list: 3  •   Alice Waters has been a champion of the sustainable, local cooking movement for decades. In this collection of more than 50 recipes for fresh, local and seasonal meals, she demystifies the basics, including steaming a vegetable, dressing a salad, simmering stock, filleting a fish, roasting a chicken and making bread.

Hardcover, 160pp, $28.00, Clarkson Potter, Pub Date: Apr. 6, 2010


10. Game Change

Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime

By John Heilemann; Mark Halperin

Weeks on list: 15  •  There is a lot of political gossip in a new book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann: infighting in the Edwards family, Hillary Clinton's hubris and her husband's liabilities, Sarah Palin unable to say Joe Biden's last name and Sen. Harry Reid's now-infamous remark about Barack Obama's skin tone. To get these juicy tidbits, the authors relied on 200 interviews with political insiders, granted anonymity in exchange for their most tantalizing details.

Hardcover, 464pp, $27.99, Harper, Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2010


11. Born to Run

A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

By Christopher Mcdougall

Weeks on list: 47  •  Christopher McDougall travels to the unforgiving terrain of Mexico's Copper Canyons, in a quest to understand the area's indigenous population of ultra-runners, the Tarahumara Indians. Surviving on a diet of ground corn, mouse meat and homemade alcohol, are men and woman who nevertheless have the endurance to run cliff-side races topping 100 miles and sometimes lasting two days.

Hardcover, 304pp, $24.95, Knopf, Pub Date: May. 5, 2009


12. This Time Together

Laughter and Reflection

By Carol Burnett

Weeks on list: 3  •  Carol Burnett is one of the original queens of TV comedy. Her long-running variety show, with its outrageous costumes and its unpredictable sketches, offered a warm brand of wackiness that parents would let their kids stay up late to watch. In her memoir, she tells stories about what went on behind the scenes -- plus a few tales about what went down when she ventured out among the show's fans.

Hardcover, 288pp, $25.00, Harmony, Pub Date: Apr. 6, 2010


13. The Happiness Project

By Gretchen Rubin

Weeks on list: 12  •  Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon on a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. With humor and insight, she chronicles 12 months spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. She didn't make drastic changes, but rather focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions, and she immersed herself in guiding principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her -- and what didn't.

Hardcover, 320pp, $25.99, Harper, Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010


14. Stones into Schools

By Greg Mortenson

Weeks on list: 21  •   In his last book, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson recounted his unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, because of illness, and his recovery in a small Pakistani village. In return for the kindness of his hosts, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school. Stones into Schools picks up where that story left off. In this latest book, Mortenson details more about his vision of promoting peace through education and literacy.

Hardcover, 448pp, $26.95, Viking Adult, Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2009


15. The Bedwetter

Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee

By Sarah Silverman

Weeks on list: 1  •  Sarah Silverman shares her experiences as a bedwetter, a little sister, a Jewish kid growing up in New England and an aspiring stand-up comic in her new memoir.

Hardcover, 256pp, $25.99, Harper, Pub Date: Apr. 20, 2010

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