New York Times Best Sellers: 28 December 2007

Each week we bring to you the New York Times best sellers list. We go through the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you an an idea of what to download for your Kindle or just to buy for your bookshelf. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Here are the Top 5 books in each category;

Hardcover Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. T IS FOR TRESPASS, by Sue Grafton
2. DOUBLE CROSS, by James Patterson
3. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, by Khaled Hosseini
5. FOR ONE MORE DAY, by Mitch Albom

Hardcover Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!), by Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Allison Silverman et al.
2. BOOM!, by Tom Brokaw
3. AN INCONVENIENT BOOK, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe
4. QUIET STRENGTH, by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
5. A FAMILY CHRISTMAS, edited by Caroline Kennedy

Hardcover Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS, by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden
2. THE DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS, by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
3. YOU: STAYING YOUNG, by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz et al.
4. DECEPTIVELY DELICIOUS, by Jessica Seinfeld
5. JIM CRAMER’S STAY MAD FOR LIFE, by James J. Cramer with Cliff Mason

Children’ Books
Top 5 at a Glance
2. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, by Clement C. Moore. Various illustrators.
3. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
4. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: ALL ACCESS, by N. B. Grace. Various illustrators.
5. ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN, written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman

Paperback Trade Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
2. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
3. ATONEMENT, by Ian McEwan
5. LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA, by Gabriel García Márquez

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. BLOOD BROTHERS, by Nora Roberts
2. I AM LEGEND, by Richard Matheson
3. NEXT, by Michael Crichton
4. CROSS, by James Patterson

Paperback Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. THE INNOCENT MAN, by John Grisham
3. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. INTO THE WILD, by Jon Krakauer
5. 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey

Paperback Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. RACHAEL RAY: JUST IN TIME, by Rachael Ray
2. THE WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS 2008, edited by C. Alan Joyce
3. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
4. 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE, by Patricia Schultz

Our Picks

Jim Cramer’s Stay Mad for Life: Number 5 in Hardcover Advice

Jim Cramer’s Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer) (Hardcover)In Stay Mad for Life, Jim Cramer addresses a whole range of financial issues that he hasn’t dealt with on his Mad Money TV show and in his prior books. He takes a step back from his primary focus of teaching his viewers and readers how to select individual stocks and presents his approach to broader issues of personal financial management that one deals with from cradle to grave. In this sense the book deals with quite basic topics such as avoiding or getting out of credit card debt (about nine pages), creating and following a budget (about twelve pages) and obtaining health and disability insurance. These topics may seem elementary, even boring compared to the topics of Jim’s earlier books, but are issues that people of limited financial experience need to learn about.

On the topic of retirement planning he talks about the advantages and disadvantages of 401(k) plans and of traditional and Roth IRAs. He likes 401(k) plans for their employer-dollar-matching feature but dislikes their limited choice of offered funds and their associated expenses. He advocates funding your 401(k) only up to the point where you’ve reached the maximum employer match. Beyond that he strongly advocates putting additional retirement dollars into an IRA where the range of choices of investments is so much broader.

In the category of family finance he advocates getting your children interested in investing as young as possible and lists six stocks that you might want to buy just one share of for your child that might pique their interest. That same chapter covers college and home financing.

In his prior books Jim has created lists of rules for investing and he does so again in this book. These twenty rules came from distilling his experience with the investments he makes for his charitable trust that he often mentions on Mad Money. For example one of these new rules that I’ve found myself prone to violating is “Don’t quit when you get back to even”. If you’ve taken on a position in a stock and if the price then drops significantly, it’s easy to feel so grateful if/when it comes back up to your break even point, you bail out with a small profit. Jim contends that if the fundamentals of the stock are still good, hang in there with it for additional upside.

In the next to last chapter, Jim really hangs himself out on a limb by selecting five sectors that he thinks will be strong for the next five years and climbs even further out on that limb by naming twenty stocks that he thinks will do well over that time frame. I’m a subscriber to his Action Alerts e-newsletter where Jim announces the buys and sells that he plans to make for his charitable trust. At the time of this review, 16 of the 20 stocks are presently held by the trust and the other four are stocks that Jim has mentioned many times on Mad Money.

In the final chapter Jim makes what must be a major concession for him since he’s such a strong advocate of selecting and holding individual stocks. At several places in the book he recommends that if you really aren’t willing or able to devote the time and effort to individual stock selections (remember – his tough homework rule is one hour per stock per week!) your next best choice is a low cost passive index mutual fund such as the Vanguard VFINX. However if you REALLY want to invest in an actively managed mutual fund, Jim has conducted research and come up with a list of 13 recommended funds. In doing this research he looked at historical fund performance for the seven-year period 2000-2006. He gives especially heavy weight to fund performance in the three down-market years 2000-2002. He also emphasizes the importance of the fund manager and considers only funds where one manager ran the fund.

I recommend the book for those wanting a good (strongly opinionated) survey of the major issues of personal finance. For those not so interested in basic personal finance, just skip the first five chapters and read the final four chapters which stand on their own and will be of interest to the regular followers of Jim’s books and TV.

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

The Innocent Man: Number 2 in Paperback Nonfiction

The Innocent Man - John GrishamAmbivalence really sums up my feelings toward Mr. Grisham’s latest book. Depressing is another. I applaud Mr. Grisham in his attempt to analyze the hows and whys of just what happened to Ron Williamson during his hectic, confusing, and sometimes just unlucky life. From outstanding major league baseball prospect, to drug and alcohol abuser, to mentally unstable convict, to exonerated felon, Ron Williamson never really knew any peace off the baseball diamond. His dream of a major league career shattered he simply withdrew into his own private hell of dope, booze, loose women, honky tonks, and insanity.

Sometimes a difficult book to follow, the darkness that Mr. Grisham maintains throughout the book is at times oppressive. How many times must Ron Williamson have to exhibit mental instability before someone, anyone, gets him real help and not just temporary “band-aid” his CHRONIC mental problems. It is a wonder that he didn’t harm someone during his drunken, drug induced haze. Finally convicted of a murder he never committed, the complex judicial process to free him was very well told by Mr. Grisham. Ron’s years spent on “death row” were both illuminating, sad, and frightening all at the same time. His eventual release and exoneration was the ONLY happy point in an otherwise sad biography of a profoundly unhappy life.

Again, I was ambivalent about this book. I can not say I enjoyed it but I did learn from it. This is not your typical light Grisham reading so be very careful. Be ready for a heavy, dark, oppressive book that while educating about the legal system, at the same time leaves one empty about the sad state of this nation’s mental health programs. This up close and personal view of America’s seamy underbelly will stay with you for quite awhile.

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

Double Cross: Number 2 in Hardcover Fiction

Double Cross- Alex CrossI have always been a big fan of the Alex Cross Novels (With the exception of London Bridges (Alex Cross Novels) and I don’t care for his other books written by other authors with his named stamped on top), so I was excited to receive and advance readers copy of Double Cross (Alex Cross)! I waited for a slow day a the Marina before cracking it open and was soon lost in the world of Cross. Alex has become like a old friend, having read so many of his trails, adventures, and tragedies.

Alex’s life has become more settled since we last saw hin in Cross. He is back at work tending to his patients and living a normal life with his girlfriend Brianna Stone–detective Stone that is. But of course this cannot last. Washington DC and the east cost are a jitter because of a number of elaborate murders, these are not just murders but spectacles. This guy is a grisly showman. A murderer who wants fame—and to scare the pants off the entire DC metro area. Of course it is up Alex and Brianna to bring this guy down…but at what cost?

Patterson’s master plotting, lightening fast chapters that keep you turning the pages are again on display and make for a great beach read! For Patterson like pacing I have to recommend the cult classic “A Tourist In The Yucatan” ripping good thriller!

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* – These reviews are taken from and do not reflect the views or opinions

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