BESTSELLERS

Rankings are based on a Times poll of Southland bookstores.

*--* SO. CAL. RATING Fiction LAST WEEK WEEKS ON LIST 1 Next by Michael Crichton 1 5 (HarperCollins: $27.95) A cancer survivor, his daughter and grandson are the targets of unscrupulous genetic researchers determined to harvest disease-fighting cells for profit.

2 Hollywood Station by 5 6 Joseph Wambaugh (Little, Brown: $24.99) Cops stationed in a Hollywood of meth tweakers and hustlers try to solve a jewelry heist and a security guard's murder.

3 Cross by James Patterson 3 7 (Little, Brown: $27.99) Alex Cross quits tracking down serial killers for the sake of his family life until given the chance to hunt for his late wife's murderer.

4 Hannibal Rising by Thomas 4 4 Harris (Delacorte Press: $27.95) Hannibal Lecter is rescued from a Soviet orphanage by his uncle, but the boy is haunted by demons.

5 For One More Day by Mitch 2 14 Albom (Hyperion: $21.95) An alcoholic tries suicide and encounters his mother's ghost, who tells him about her life and sacrifices as a single parent.

6 Against the Day by Thomas 15 6 Pynchon (Penguin: $35) Thirty years of the adventures of a crew of balloonists begins with a trip to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

7 The Boleyn Inheritance by 7 4 Philippa Gregory (Touchstone: $25.95) Anne Boleyn's scheming sister-in-law continues her intrigues as lady-in-waiting to two more of Henry VIII's wives.

8 What Is the What by Dave 14 5 Eggers (McSweeney's: $26) A Sudanese refugee fights to survive and create a new life in America but finds safety and a sense of belonging elusive.

9 Dear John by Nicholas 12 7 Sparks (Warner: $24.99) A soldier on leave falls in love with a student, but their relationship is put on hold when he returns to duty after Sept. 11.

10 The Road by Cormac 8 9 McCarthy (Knopf: $24) A father's fierce love for his son is his last link with humanity as they struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world of cannibalistic marauders.

11 Special Topics in Calamity -- 9 Physics by Marisha Pessl (Viking: $25.95) Brilliant, eccentric high school students and their film studies teacher are drawn into a murder mystery.

12 World War Z by Max Brooks -- 3 (Crown: $24.95) Survivors give detailed historical accounts of "the crisis," a worldwide battle against insatiable predatory zombies.

13 Nature Girl by Carl 6 6 Hiaasen (Knopf: $25.95) Screwball characters romp through this tale of chases, hostage-taking and revenge, all so the world will be safe from telemarketers.

14 Paint It Black by Janet -- 11 Fitch (Little, Brown: $24.99) An art model on the punk scene tries to make sense of her boyfriend's death and his relationship with his narcissistic mother.

15 The Shape Shifter by Tony 9 6 Hillerman (HarperCollins: $26.95) Joe Leaphorn is yanked from retirement to find a missing friend and revisit a long-ago murder tied to an ancient Navajo rug.

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*--* SO. CAL. RATING Nonfiction LAST WEEK WEEKS ON LIST 1 The Audacity of Hope by 2 11 Barack Obama (Crown: $25) The U.S. senator from Illinois argues that his Democratic Party and the GOP must forgo partisanship to reclaim the American dream.

2 I Feel Bad About My Neck 1 22 by Nora Ephron (Knopf: $19.95) The screenwriter ruminates on the effects of gravity and menopause, and reconciling herself to life among the post-bikini set.

3 Palestine: Peace Not 3 6 Apartheid by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster: $27) The former president writes that Palestinians must recognize Israel, and Israel must honor its peace commitments.

4 The God Delusion by 8 12 Richard Dawkins (Houghton Mifflin: $27) The biologist criticizes religion for intolerance, rejecting scientific truth and threatening nonbelievers with eternal damnation.

5 Eat, Pray, Love by 9 24 Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking: $24.95) After deciding that marriage and motherhood aren't for her, the author embarks on a journey of self-discovery in Italy, India and Indonesia.

6 The Innocent Man by John 4 13 Grisham (Doubleday: $28.95) A true-crime tale about a former big league baseball player sent to death row for a murder he didn't commit.

7 Marley & Me by John Grogan 7 49 (William Morrow: $21.95) A columnist recalls how Marley, an incorrigible Labrador retriever, flunked obedience school, terrorized a pet sitter and won over his family.

8 Letter to a Christian -- 7 Nation by Sam Harris (Knopf: $16.95) "The End of Faith" author chides religious dogmatists for rationalizing violence and fostering human suffering.

9 The Omnivore's Dilemma by -- 6 Michael Pollan (Penguin: $26.95) A revealing look at the food we eat, the agribusiness that produces it and the corn that is now in nearly everything edible.

10 The Secret by Rhonda Byrne 11 4 (Beyond Words: $23.95) The book promises the distillation of a life-transforming "secret" gathered from oral tradition, literature, religion and philosophy.

11 Jim Cramer's Mad Money by 14 3 James J. Cramer with Cliff Mason (Simon & Schuster: $25) The basics of buying and selling stocks, assessing risk and creating a valuable portfolio.

12 I Like You by Amy Sedaris 5 11 (Warner Books: $27.99) A guide to throwing the perfect party, with helpful hospitality hints and arch observations from the comic writer.

13 Laurel Canyon by Michael -- 21 Walker (Faber & Faber: $25) A look at the '60s rock bands and artists whose creativity flowered in Laurel Canyon, then a sylvan enclave above Sunset Boulevard.

14 You: The Owner's Manual by -- 25 Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz (HarperCollins: $24.95) An anti-aging guru and a heart surgeon offer a wry and witty guide to staying healthy.

15 Culture Warrior by Bill 6 14 O'Reilly (Broadway: $26) The Fox News TV host rails against "secular progressives," billionaire Democrat George Soros, the ACLU and critics he dubs "smear merchants."

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