Rankings are based on a Times poll of Southland bookstores.

*--* SO. CAL. RATING Fiction 1 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead: $14) A writer returns to Kabul to rescue the son of a childhood friend.

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

3 Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Vintage: $12) An autistic teen seeks out a killer.


4 The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone: $16) Two sisters vie for the love of Henry VIII.

5 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperSanFrancisco: $13) An Andalusian shepherd boy seeks treasure in Egypt.

6 The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason (Dell: $7.99) College roommates seek a buried Roman treasure.

7 Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Pocket Books: $7.99) A scholar uncovers a vendetta against the Roman Catholic Church.


8 Courtesan by Dora Levy Mossanen (Touchstone: $14) A girl is initiated into a life of seduction.

9 The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Penguin: $15) A quest for the truth about a Spanish novelist.

10 Wicked by Gregory Maguire (ReganBooks: $16) The Wicked Witch of the West tells her side of the story.



*--* SO. CAL. RATING Nonfiction 1 The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay: $14.95) How fads, trends and ideas behave like viruses in a society.

2 The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage: $14.95) A serial killer haunts the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

3 Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (W.W. Norton: $16.95) A scientist’s take on Europe’s rise to dominance.

4 The Book of Sudoku by Michael Mepham (Overlook: $9.95) An introduction to the number puzzle.


5 Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett (Perennial: $13.95) Reflections on friendship and devotion.

6 This Book by Bodhi Oser (Chronicle: $14.95) Images of signs altered by a four-letter word.

7 Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (Back Bay: $14.95) The humorist on his family.

8 Bad Cat by Jim Edgar (Workman: $9.95) Meet 244 cats and kittens with attitude, all in living color.


9 C’est la Vie by Suzy Gershman (Penguin: $14) A widow moves to Paris and begins a new life.

10 It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins (Berkley: $14) On beating cancer and cycling.