Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers For Oct. 28 When Jeanette Walls was a child, she and her free-spirited parents travelled through the Southwest, temporarily settling in desert towns and mountain campsites. The Glass Castle is Walls' account of the difficult aftermath of her transient youth. The book enjoys it 185th week on the list.
NPR logo Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers For Oct. 28

Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers For Oct. 28

Compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide in collaboration with the American Booksellers Association. This list reflects sales ending Oct. 24. Book descriptions are based on publishers' information.

1. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

A Memoir of Going Home

By Rhoda Janzen

Weeks on list: 28  •   Not long after Rhoda Janzen turns 40, her world is turned upside down. Her husband of 15 years leaves her for a man he met on Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, she packs her bags, crosses the country and returns to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she is welcomed back with open arms -- and some offbeat advice. Her mother suggests she mend her broken heart by dating her first cousin. A good catch, she says, because he owns a tractor.

Paperback, 272pp, $14.00, Holt Paperbacks, Pub Date: Apr. 13, 2010

2. Zeitoun

By Dave Eggers

Weeks on list: 19  •  Just after Hurricane Katrina, Syrian immigrant Abdulrahman Zeitoun sets out on the flooded streets of New Orleans, to check on his business properties and help victims. But, when members of the National Guard mistake him as a looter, he is picked up and detained for weeks. His wife, Kathy, and children aren't notified of his location, and he endures taunts from his captors, calling him a member of al-Qaida and the Taliban, before he is released and charges are dropped. Author Dave Eggers calls Zeitoun's story "a perfect intersection between the war on terror and the worst disaster in American history."

Paperback, 368pp, $15.95, Vintage, Pub Date: Jun. 15, 2010

3. Inside of a Dog

What Dogs See, Smell, and Know

By Alexandra Horowitz

Weeks on list: 4  •  Cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz explains how dogs perceive their daily worlds, each other, and that other quirky animal -- the human -- in Inside of a Dog.

Paperback, 384pp, $16.00, Scribner, Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2010

4. Eat, Pray, Love

One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

By Elizabeth Gilbert

Weeks on list: 17  •  Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, a writer who drags herself out of the depths of depression following a bitter divorce. She rejuvenates her spirit by escaping from the routines of her life, traveling for four months in Italy, India and Indonesia, and surrendering to food, God and romance.

Paperback, 352pp, $16.00, Penguin (Non-Classics), Pub Date: Jun. 1, 2010

5. Where Men Win Glory

The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

By Jon Krakauer

Weeks on list: 13  •  The latest book from Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air and Into The Wild, focuses on the life and tragic death of former NFL player Pat Tillman, who left a lucrative contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. Army Rangers. The book details the findings of Krakauer's own investigation into Tillman's death by friendly fire -- and the Army's subsequent effort to cover up the circumstances of that death.

Paperback, 480pp, $15.95, Anchor, Pub Date: Jul. 27, 2010

6. The Glass Castle

A Memoir

By Jeannette Walls

Weeks on list: 185  •  The Glass Castle is a memoir recalling Jeannette Walls' transient youth and her bohemian parents. Together her family traipsed across the Southwest, settling temporarily in desert towns and mountain campsites. But when the money ran out and the romance of the wandering life faded, the family settled into a sedentary life in West Virginia, which was soon darkened by alcoholism and dysfunction. Walls eventually left this life, but she looks back on it with honesty and compassion.

Paperback, 304pp, $15.00, Scribner, Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2006

7. Traveling with Pomegranates

A Mother and Daughter Journey to the Sacred Places of Greece, Turkey, and France

By Sue Monk Kidd; Ann Kidd Taylor

Weeks on list: 7  •  Sue Monk Kidd -- author of The Secret Life of Bees -- and her daughter, Ann, chronicle their travels together through Greece and France at a time when each was on a quest to redefine herself and rediscover each other. As Sue struggles to enlarge a vision of swarming bees into a novel and Ann ponders the classic question of what to do with her life, this modern-day Demeter and Persephone explore an array of inspiring figures and sacred sites.

Paperback, 304pp, $15.00, Penguin (Non-Classics), Pub Date: Sep. 7, 2010

8. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession

By Allison Hoover Bartlett

Weeks on list: 3  •  Journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunges into the world of book lust and discovers just how dangerous it can be. Most thieves steal for profit, but John Charles Gilkey stole purely for the love of books. Immersing the reader in the rich, wide world of literary obsession, Bartlett looks at the history of book passion, collection and theft to examine the craving that makes some people stop at nothing to possess the books they love.

Paperback, 288pp, $15.00, Riverhead Trade, Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2010

9. Three Cups of Tea

One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time

By Greg Mortenson; David Oliver Relin

Weeks on list: 195  •  In Three Cups of Tea, American Greg Mortenson recounts his first encounter with rural Pakistan and the events that inspired him to found more than 50 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He chronicles his work educating girls in the Taliban's backyard.

Paperback, 368pp, $16.00, Penguin (Non-Classics), Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2007

10. The Old Farmer's Almanac 2011

By Old Farmer's Almanac

Weeks on list: 9  •   Now in its 219th year, the latest Old Farmer's Almanac is full of weather predictions, gardening advice and mouthwatering recipes for Dutch ovens.

Paperback, 288pp, $6.95, OFA, Pub Date: Sep. 1, 2010

11. Half the Sky

Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

By Nicholas D. Kristof; Sheryl Wudunn

Weeks on list: 18  •  Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism, team up again, this time to look at instances of oppression of women and girls in the developing world. The empowerment of women, they conclude, is not only just, but also essential for increasing productivity and fighting poverty.

Paperback, 320pp, $15.95, Vintage, Pub Date: Jun. 1, 2010

12. The Big Burn

Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America

By Timothy Egan

Weeks on list: 7  •  Author Timothy Egan takes us back to 1910 and the scene of the largest forest fire in American history, which burned down 3 million acres -- an area the size of Connecticut -- in Idaho and Montana over the course of a single weekend. Egan argues that the epic fire actually helped save the nation's forests because it served to strengthen the fledgling U.S. Forest Service and rally public opinion behind Theodore Roosevelt's plan to protect national lands.

Paperback, 352pp, $15.95, Mariner Books, Pub Date: Sep. 1, 2010

13. Eating Animals

By Jonathan Safran Foer

Weeks on list: 7  •  The writer of the novels Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close might not seem like an obvious choice to write a book about the ethics and economics of eating meat, but Jonathan Safran Foer found himself examining the issue closely when he became a dog owner. In Eating Animals, he considers the philosophical underpinnings of meat-eating, goes out on visits to factory farms to check out the issues for himself, and ultimately asks readers to consider their own choices against the backdrop of the way modern food production actually works.

Paperback, 368pp, $14.99, Back Bay Books, Pub Date: Sep. 1, 2010

14. Lit

A Memoir

By Mary Karr

Weeks on list: 17  •   Mary Karr's third memoir, Lit, describes her early years as a writer, wife and mother, marked by drug use, drinking and the dissolution of her marriage. Eventually, she sobered up and found herself on an unexpected path to Catholicism. She writes unflinchingly about marriage, class, guilt and the struggle to make peace with her past.

Paperback, 432pp, $14.99, Harper Perennial, Pub Date: Jul. 1, 2010

15. Dewey

The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

By Vicki Myron; Bret Witter

Weeks on list: 2  •  On the coldest night of the year, a kitten was stuffed into the book return slot at a public library in Spencer, Iowa. For the next 19 years, "Dewey Readmore Books" never stopped charming the people of Spencer. In Dewey, library director Vicki Myron tells the story of an abandoned kitten that transformed a small library, saved a classic American town and became famous around the world.

Paperback, 304pp, $13.99, Grand Central Publishing, Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010