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

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


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

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

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

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


8 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Picador: $15) A Greek family embraces the American dream.

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

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



*--* SO. CAL. RATING Nonfiction 1 The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage: $14.95) A serial killer haunts the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

2 The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay: $14.95) How fads, trends and ideas behave like viruses in a society.

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

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


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

6 The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (New World Library: $14) How to attain enlightenment by living in the now.

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

8 Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter (TechPress/Warner: $16.95) Fiscal parenting.


9 A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (Anchor Books: $14.95) A descent into drug abuse and the struggle to detox.

10 Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman (Scribner: $14) Essays on postmodern pop culture.