LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLERS / March 15, 1998

FICTION

1. THE STREET LAWYER by John Grisham (Doubleday: $27.95) After being confronted on a city street, an arrogant lawyer becomes a hero for the homeless.

Last Week: 1 ; Weeks on List: 5

2. BLOOD WORK by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown: $23.95) An ailing FBI investigator gets a new heart from a murder victim and probes the donor's death.

Last Week: 7 ; Weeks on List: 2

3. MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden (Knopf: $25) The life and loves of a teahouse entertainer growing up in Kyoto during World War II.

Last Week: 2 ; Weeks on List: 19

4. PARADISE by Toni Morrison (Knopf: $25) Generations of struggle in a small town founded by black pioneers with dreams of creating a utopia.

Last Week: 5 ; Weeks on List: 9

5. COLD MOUNTAIN by Charles Frazier (Atlantic Monthly: $24) A confederate soldier deserts the Civil War and takes a long walk home to his farm and lady love.

Last Week: 3 ; Weeks on List: 37

6. BIRTHDAY LETTERS by Ted Hughes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: $20) Breaking his silence about the suicide of Sylvia Plath. Reviewed by Carol Muske, Page 7

Last Week: 4 ; Weeks on List: 6

7. BLACK AND BLUE by Anna Quindlen (Random House: $23) A battered wife's past looms menacingly on the horizon of her new life in another town.

Last Week: 6 ; Weeks on List: 6

8. THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS by Arundhati Roy (Random House: $23) A chronicle of the rise and fall of a prosperous merchant family in modern India.

Last Week: 10; Weeks on List: 36

9. CLOUDSPLITTER by Russell Banks (HarperFlamingo: $27.50) The fire-and-brimstone life of abolitionist John Brown as told by his son Owen.

Last Week: 12; Weeks on List: 2

10. RIVEN ROCK by T.C. Boyle (Viking: $24.95) A sex-crazed heir goes to his family's estate to detox his libido and face an odd assortment of locals.

Last Week: 9 ; Weeks on List: 4

11. NIGHT TRAIN by Martin Amis (Harmony: $20) Police hunt for the cause of an astrophysicist's death and wax philosophical on the human condition.

Last Week: 11; Weeks on List: 8

12. CHARMING BILLY by Alice McDermott (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: $21) An Irish family reflects on the destructive, drink-spattered life of its deceased patriarch.

Last Week: 8 ; Weeks on List: 7

13. WHERE SERPENTS LIE by T. Jefferson Parker (Hyperion: $23.95) A detective faces a child kidnapper who leaves pieces of snakeskin as his calling cards.

Last Week: --; Weeks on List: 3

14. SPENDING by Mary Gordon (Scribner: $24) A passionate painter joins with a stock broker who serves as her muse, supporter and sugar daddy.

Last Week: --; Weeks on List: 3

15. ENDURING LOVE by Ian McEwan (Nan A. Talese / Doubleday: $23.95) After a tragic accident, a marriage is threatened by a young man with an unhealthy obsession.

Last Week: 15; Weeks on List: 4

NONFICTION

1. TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE by Mitch Albom (Doubleday: $19.95) A sportswriter's empowering story of his weekly visits to see an older dying friend.

Last Week: 1 ; Weeks on List: 11

2. THE ROAD TO UBAR by Nicholas Clapp (Houghton Mifflin: $24) The search for the ruins of an infamous Arabian city recorded in the Koran.

Last Week: 9 ; Weeks on List: 3

3. CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, BOOK ONE by Neale Donald Walsch (Putnam: $19.95) Channeling messages from Mr. Big about good, evil and the meaning of life.

Last Week: 6 ; Weeks on List: 43

4. STORY by Robert McKee (ReganBooks: $25) Tips for turning those amateur aspirations into a real career as a writer for the big screen.

Last Week: 4 ; Weeks on List: 10

5. ANGELA'S ASHES by Frank McCourt (Scribner: $24) A lyrical, bittersweet memoir about a poor Irish childhood in a gray, rain-soaked city.

Last Week: 5 ; Weeks on List: 72

6. HAPPINESS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM by Dennis Prager (ReganBooks: $23) Avoiding the cliches and finding the true sources of satisfaction in your life.

Last Week: 2 ; Weeks on List: 8

7. THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Lanko (Longstreet Press: $22) Lives of the rich and famous, including golden parachutes.

Last Week: --; Weeks on List: 13

8. JACKIE AFTER JACK by Christopher Andersen (Morrow: $25) The transformation from First Lady into a jet-set woman of independent means.

Last Week: 7 ; Weeks on List: 2

9. THE PERFECT STORM by Sebastian Junger (Norton: $23.95) An account of fisherman trapped in the harrowing fury of an Atlantic storm.

Last Week: 8 ; Weeks on List: 35

10. THE LONG HARD ROAD OUT OF HELL by Marilyn Manson with Neil Strauss (ReganBooks: $24) Turning ugliness into a million-dollar recording career.

Last Week: --; Weeks on List: 1

11. INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer (Villard: $24.95) An account of tragedy and recklessness during a 1996 ascent of Mount Everest.

Last Week: --; Weeks on List: 44

12. SLAVES IN THE FAMILY by Edward Ball (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: $30) A writer looks at his slaveholding ancestors and their impact on his own life.

Last Week: 12; Weeks on List: 2

13. THE UNIVERSE AND THE TEACUP by K. C. Cole (Harcourt Brace: $21) The glorious order that numbers impose on all aspects of the cosmos.

Last Week: 13; Weeks on List: 5

14. DIE BROKE by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine (HarperBusiness: $25) How to exhaust your equity before those money-grubbin' relatives do.

Last Week: --; Weeks on List: 2

15. THE RAPE OF NANKING by Iris Chang (Basic Books: $25) An account of the 1937 massacre of Chinese civilians by the invading Japanese military.

Last Week: 15 ; Weeks on List: 5

PAPERBACK FICTION

1. DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD by Rebecca Wells (HarperCollins: $13) Southern sisterhood.

2. THE PARTNER by John Grisham (Dell: $7.99) A lawyer's on the lam with $90 million.

3. SMALL VICES by Robert B. Parker (Berkley: $6.99) Boston sleuth Spenser fights the good fight.

4. LOS ALAMOS by Joseph Kanon (Island / Dell: $7.50) Atomic spy intrigue in the 1940s.

5. LE DIVORCE by Diane Johnson (Plume: $12.95) Not-so-innocents abroad.

6. CORELLI'S MANDOLIN by Louis de Bernieres (Random House: $13) Life in a Greek village in the early 20th century.

7. THE MISTRESS OF SPICES by Chitra Divakaruni (Anchor: $12) A young healer mixes a recipe for love and magic.

8. BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MUSEUM by Kate Atkinson (Picador: $14) Love among the ruins.

9. 3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (Del Rey: $6.99) A thawed-out astronaut faces a brave, new world.

10. THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks (Warner Vision: $5.99) Old flames recall their former combustion.

PAPERBACKS: NONFICTION

1. LEONARDO by Grace Catalano (Bantam: $7.95) A scrapbook featuring "Titanic's" dreamboat.

2. UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN by Frances Mayes (Broadway: $13) Feasts in a glorious Italian landscape.

3. HELLO, HE LIED by Lynda Obst (Broadway: $13) Cutting deals and dodging egos in Tinsel Town.

4. THE HARLOT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD by Jonathan Kirsch (Ballantine: $14.95) Bible stories, raw and uncensored.

5. THE COLOR OF WATER by James McBride (Riverhead: $12) A black musician's homage to his white mother.

6. PERSONAL HISTORY by Katharine Graham (Vintage: $15) The heiress at the helm of the Washington Post.

7. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Walter Lord (Bantam: $5.99) A historian retells the Titanic tragedy.

8. REVIVING OPHELIA by Mary Pipher (Ballantine: $12.50) The perils of young womanhood in our contemporary world.

9. A CIVIL ACTION by Jonathan Harr (Vintage: $13) David vs. an industrial Goliath in Massachusetts.

10. INTO THE WILD by Jon Krakauer (Doubleday: $12.95) A man's wilderness dream ends in tragedy.

*

Rankings are based on a Times poll of Southland bookstores.

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