*--* SO. CAL. RATING Fiction
*--* 1 Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Harvest Books: $14) A boy shares a lifeboat with a tiger on a harrowing trip.
2 Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Pocket Books: $7.99) A scholar uncovers a vendetta against the Catholic Church.
3 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Picador: $15) A Greek family embraces the American dream.
4 The King of Torts by John Grisham (Dell: $7.99) A street killing is linked to a conspiracy involving a pharmaceutical giant.
5 The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin: $14) A teenage girl is haunted by her mother’s death.
6 Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (Vintage: $14.95) A disillusioned Confederate soldier makes his way home.
7 Prey by Michael Crichton (Avon: $7.99) Self-replicating nanobots escape the laboratory and threaten their creators’ lives.
8 Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian (W.W. Norton: $13) Adventure on the high seas in the Napoleonic Wars.
9 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Harper SanFrancisco: $13) An Andalusian shepherd boy’s quest.
10 Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (Plume: $14) Imagining the young woman who inspired Vermeer’s painting.
*--* SO. CAL. RATING Nonfiction
*--* 1 Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki & Sharon Lechter (Techpress: $15.95) Fiscal parenting.
2 Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich (Free Press: $14) A blackjack team from MIT bests Las Vegas casinos.
3 Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (Ballantine: $15.95) How an also-ran became America’s favorite racehorse.
4 Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (HarperCollins: $13.95) Unappetizing practices of the junk food industry.
5 Still More George W. Bushisms by Jacob Weisberg (Fireside: $9.95) Presidential phrases gathered by Slate’s editor.
6 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know by American Heritage (Houghton Mifflin: $4.95)
7 Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris (Little, Brown: $8.95) Elf love, Santa’s diaries and more about the season’s dark side.
8 Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Little, Brown: $14.95) Quirky reflections on life in Paris and elsewhere.
9 Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King (Penguin: $15) The making of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.
10 Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom (Broadway: $12.95) Learning life’s lessons from a dying former teacher.