The Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America

By Ellis Cose (Washington Square, $13)

Cose makes the case that black men in 21st-century America have more significant opportunities for success than ever before. But they still face hurdles, as he makes clear in describing the painful experiences of himself and others. Despite the challenges, Cose offers a message of hope and also advice on how black men can increase their odds for success. (NF)The Monk Downstairs

By Tim Farrington (HarperSanFrancisco, $22.95)

Rebbeca Martin, an overwrought single mother, rents her basement apartment to Michael Christopher, a former monk who recently left the cloistered life after 20 years due to a crisis of faith. Drawn to his charm and amiable nature, Rebecca finds their relationship growing increasingly intimate. But she has crises of her own to sort out first -- a hapless ex-husband, a slightly nutty mother and her own pessimistic take on love. (F)

Warrior Politics

By Robert D. Kaplan (Vintage, $12)

With today's leaders under constant scrutiny -- be they on the world stage or on the city council -- what does it take to succeed brilliantly in this modern age? Robert Kaplan claims we need look no further than the wisdom of history's great thinkers (Sun-Tzu, Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes among them), to aid us in navigating the current perilous political climate. (NF)

The bestseller lists this week are culled from information submitted by Barnes & Noble, Borders and Olsson's based on sales from 01/13-01/19. The "Washington Is Also Reading" list is based on reports from Chapters, Reprint and Vertigo Books. The Book World bestsellers hotline is 202-334-9000, category code 4175. (02/02/03)