Randall Kennedy, author of Nigger, Our no. 5 bestseller
photo: Sylvia Plachy

Bestsellers compiled from our survey of the nation's top independent bookstores listed below


  1. THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26

  2. WHAT WENT WRONG by Bernard Lewis Oxford University Press, $23

  3. WITTGENSTEIN'S POKER by David Edmonds and John Eidinow Ecco Press, $24

  4. BASKET CASE by Carl Hiaasen Knopf, $25.95

  5. NIGGER by Randall Kennedy Pantheon, $22

  6. PEACE LIKE A RIVER by Leif Enger Atlantic Monthly Press, $24

  7. ISLAM: A SHORT HISTORY by Karen Armstrong Modern Library, $19.95

  8. CRASHING THE PARTY by Ralph Nader St. Martin's, $24.95

  9. AUSTERLITZ by W.G. Sebald Random House, $25.95

  10. THE SECRET LIFE OF PUPPETS by Victoria Nelson Harvard University Press, $29.95


  1. 9-11 by Noam Chomsky Seven Stories Press, $8.95

  2. A BEAUTIFUL MIND by Sylvia Nasar Touchstone, $16

  3. FAST FOOD NATION by Eric Schlosser HarperCollins, $13.95

  4. THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY by Michael Chabon Picador, $15

  5. UNDERSTANDING POWER edited by R. Mitchell and John Schoeffel New Press, $19.95

  6. THE BODY ARTIST by Don DeLillo Scribner, $12

  7. ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY by David Sedaris Little, Brown, $14.95

  8. WHITE TEETH by Zadie Smith Knopf, $14

  9. PRODIGAL SUMMER by Barbara Kingsolver HarperPerennial, $14

  10. BRUNELLESCHI'S DOME by Ross King Penguin, $13

VLS Bestsellers is compiled from these independent bookstores:

Bailey/Coy Books Seattle, WA; Black Oak Books Berkeley, CA; Book Soup West Hollywood, CA; Book Woman Austin, TX; Canterbury Books Madison, WI; City Lights Bookstore San Francisco, CA; Cody's Books Berkeley, CA; Fact & Fiction Missoula, MT; Farley's Bookshop New Hope, PA; Harvard Book Store Cambridge, MA; Labyrinth Books New York, NY; Left Bank Books St. Louis, MO; Midnight Special Bookstore Santa Monica, CA; Politics & Prose Washington, D.C.; Posman Books New York, NY; Prairie Lights Bookstore Iowa City, IA; The Regulator Bookshop Durham, NC; Ruminator Books St. Paul, MN; St. Mark's Bookshop New York, NY; Seminary Co-operative Bookstore, Inc. Chicago, IL; Shaman Drum Bookshop Ann Arbor, MI; That Bookstore in Blytheville Blytheville, AR; Women & Children First Chicago, IL.

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Also in This Week’s Books Section:

Joy Press on The Sweetest Dream by Doris Lessing

Alisa Solomon on Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine by Raja Shehadeh

J. Hoberman on Reading The Funnies: Essays On Comic Strips by Donald Phelps

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