Mona Simpson and the L.A. Times bestseller list

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Mona Simpson’s “My Hollywood,” a layered, literary take on motherhood and nannyhood, enters the L.A. Times bestseller list this week at No. 11. Simpson, who lives in Santa Monica, told Susan Salter Reynolds about what inspired her to create Lola, a Filipina babysitter, and Claire, the affluent woman who employs her.

In 1993, with a new child, Simpson had just moved back to Los Angeles. “I fell in with a group of babysitters,” she said. “I listened to the stories of their lives. I was taken with the musicality of their vernacular.” Lola is based, in part, on a friend’s babysitter.

“The central subject of this novel is motherhood,” Simpson said. “Which is why the book took me 10 years to write. I didn’t want Claire to seem benighted or draconian. Problems are so much more interesting when they are treated in a subtle way, don’t you think?”

Our complete feature on Mona Simpson and her book “My Hollywood” is here; the complete L.A. Times bestseller lists, in fiction and nonfiction, hardcover and paperback, are after the jump.


-- Carolyn Kellogg

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
Place Book Weeks on list
1 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson (Knopf: $27.95) The final book of the popular millennium trilogy. 11

2 The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Putnam: $24.95) The Southern lives of a maid, a cook and a college graduate intertwine. 62

3 Star Island by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf: $26.95) A young pop star’s undercover stunt double is kidnapped by an obsessed paparazzo. 3

4 The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (Doubleday: $25.95) Rose Edelstein’s gift of taste is bittersweet. 8

5 Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart (Random House: $26) A satirical, twisted, futuristic love story. 3

6 The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Random House: $26) A pious Dutch official finds love in turn-of-the-19th-century Japan. 5

7 Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic: $17.99) In a post-apocalyptic future, kids are forced to fight to the death in gladiator-like matches. 12

8 The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva (Putnam: $26.95) Murder and a stolen Rembrandt portrait. 4

9 Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner (Atria: $26.99) A mother and her daughters find comfort after an affair. 4

10 The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone: $25.99) The tale of Henry VII’s mother and her destiny to see him crowned king of England. 1

11 My Hollywood by Mona Simpson (Knopf: $26.95) The relationship between a TV writer’s wife and her Filipina nanny. 1

12 The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (Dial Press: $26) The goings-on at a ragtag English-language newspaper in Rome. 9

13 Star Wars: The Old Republic by Sean Williams (LucasBooks: $27) A prequel to the role-playing video game that takes place 3,500 years before the rise of Darth Vader. 3

14 The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman (Dial Press: $26) A Jane Austenesque tale set in the dot-com era. 2

15 Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis (Knopf: $24.95) An L.A. noir nightmare that returns to “Less Than Zero’s” characters as they near middle age. 8

16 The Beaufort Diaries by T. Cooper (Melville House: $15.95) A polar bear tries to survive the Hollywood rat race with help from Leonardo DiCaprio. 3

17 The Obama Diaries by Laura Ingraham (Threshold: $25) A satirical look at fictional diaries of The Obamas. 4

18 The Passage by Justin Cronin (Ballantine: $27) An apocalypse with fangs: A military experiment with vampires goes wrong and imperils humanity. 8

19 Kraken by China Miéville (Del Rey: $26) A London curator’s search for a stolen Kraken exhibit leads him into a strange underworld of squid worshipers. 2

20 Private by James Patterson (Little, Brown: $27.99) A former CIA agent tracks down the killer of a former lover. 7

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
Place Book Weeks on list
1 Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern (HarperCollins: $15.99) A son’s compilation of his elderly father’s ramblings and observations. 13

2 Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle (Free Press: $25) A Jesuit priest recounts working with L.A. youth through his gang intervention program. 19

3 Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth (Scribner: $24) How the connection between eating and core beliefs brings fulfillment. 18

4 Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson (Harper: $19.99) How “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and a little black dress influenced a generation. 5

5 Angelina by Andrew Morton (St. Martin’s Press: $26.99) An inside look at the Oscar-winning actress, mother and humanitarian. 1

6 Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown: $27.99) An exploration of the background of high achievers. 71

7 The Big Short by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton: $27.95) How the U.S. economy was driven to collapse by the bond and real estate markets. 20

8 Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain (Ecco: $26.99) A gastronome’s journey for foodies everywhere. 8

9 Orange Sunshine by Nicholas Schou (Thomas Dunne: $24.99) The history of a band of ‘60s LSD-dealing hippies, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. 5

10 Strength Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press: $22.95) An upgraded assessment on how to find your top talents. 9

11 Portrait of An Addict As a Young Man by Bill Clegg (Little, Brown: $23.99) A literary agent’s crack-addicted confessional. 4

12 Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking: $26.95) The author tackles her fears of marriage by delving into the institution’s history. 8

13 Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (W.W. Norton: $13) The science and oddities required for space travel. 1

14 Washington Rules by Andrew Bacevich (Metropolitan: $25) A critical analysis of American military policy. 1

15 Just Kids by Patti Smith (Ecco: $27) The singer’s early days and relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. 25

16 Four Fish by Paul Greenberg (Penguin Press: $25.95) The history and debate about wild versus farm-raised fish. 2

17 Suck It, Wonder Woman by Olivia Munn (St. Martin’s Press: $23.99) A self-proclaimed geek girl’s advice on life in Hollywood. 2

18 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Crown: $26) How a poor black woman’s cancer cells helped scientists. 12

19 You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh (Shambhala: $19.95) Buddhist techniques and practices for finding happiness by living in the moment. 8

20 Los Angeles: Portrait of a City by Kevin Starr (Taschen: $70) A photographic journey through the city’s cultural, political, industrial and sociological history. 3

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
Place Book
1 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson ($14.95)

2 The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson ($15.95)

3 One Day by David Nicholls ($14.95)

4 Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese ($15.95)

5 Little Bee by Chris Cleave ($14)

6 Tinkers by Paul Harding ($14.95)

7 Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann ($15)

8 The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver ($16.99)

9 Beezus & Ramona by Beverly Cleary ($5.99)

10 Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer ($14.99) The final book in the “Twilight” saga finds Bella choosing immorality.

11 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho ($13.95)

12 Hoot by Carl Hiaasen ($6.50)

13 Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon ($16)

14 Scott Pilgrim by Bryan O’Malley ($11.99)

15 To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee ($7.99)

Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
Place Book
1 Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert ($16)

2 Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson ($16)

3 Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer ($15.95)

4 Zeitoun by Dave Eggers ($15.95)

5 Food Rules by Michael Pollan ($11)

6 Slake: The Los Angeles Quarterly by Joe Donnelly et al. ($18)

7 How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer ($14.95)

8 Awkward Family Photos by Doug Chernack and Mike Bender ($15)

9 The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd Edition by The College Board ($21.99)

10 Lit by Mary Karr ($14.99)

11 Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad ($14.99)

12 The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell ($15.99)

13 Blink by Malcolm Gladwell ($15.99)

14 Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt ($15.99)

15 What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel ($24.95)

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