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*--* SO. CAL. RATING Fiction


*--* 1 Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Harvest Books: $14) An Indian boy shares a lifeboat with a tiger on a harrowing trip

2 The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin: $14) A teenage girl is haunted by her mother’s death

3 The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor: $11.95) Botswana’s female private eye


4 Atonement by Ian McEwan (Anchor: $14) A haunting novel of guilt and redemption in World War II England

5 Three Junes by Julia Glass (Anchor: $14) A Scottish family comes together over three summers

6 Beach House by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge (Warner: $7.99) A man seeks justice in his brother’s death

7 Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (Anchor: $10) Literary sunshine in a gray communist village

8 McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales edited by Michael Chabon (Vintage: $13.95)

9 The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (Griffin: $13.95) The travails of an overworked caregiver


10 Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (HarperPaperbacks: $13.95) Opera mingles with mayhem in South America


*--* SO. CAL. RATING Nonfiction


*--* 1 Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (Ballantine: $15) How a thoroughbred horse went from also-ran to sports icon

2 Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution by Robert C. Atkins (Quill: $13.95) How a low-carb diet helps shed pounds

3 Dreaming War by Gore Vidal (Thunder’s Mouth: $11.95) Arguing that greed, not justice, underlies Bush’s focus on Iraq

4 Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (Picador: $14) A boy goes to live with his mother’s psychiatrist

5 Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter (Techpress: $15.95) Fiscal parenting


6 Self Matters by Phillip C. McGraw (Free Press: $14) The self-help guru teaches how to “create your life from the inside out.”

7 Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (HarperCollins: $13.95) The unappetizing practices of the junk-food industry

8 The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (Amber-Allen: $12.95) A code of conduct based on Toltec wisdom

9 The No Spin Zone by Bill O’Reilly (Broadway: $14) Insights from the outspoken Fox cable interviewer

10 War Talk by Arundhati Roy (South End Press: $12) Essays critical of the U.S., arguing that war pits rich against poor