The Child That Books Built

By Francis Spufford (Metropolitan, $23)

Spufford, a British journalist, recalls his childhood enchantment with works by authors such as C.S. Lewis, Kenneth Grahame and Jane Austen. Revisiting the books he adored then, he also examines how reading profoundly influenced his character, values and the person he is today. (NF)

Gramercy Park

By Paula Cohen (Griffin, $13.95)

When Italian tenor Mario Alfieri comes to Gilded Age New York to make his Metropolitan debut, he meets the young, enigmatic Clara Adler, who is left penniless when her wealthy guardian dies. Mario marries Clara, though he is unaware of the painful secrets in her past -- secrets that a conniving lawyer (executor of her guardian's estate) is only too eager to reveal to destroy them both. (F)

McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales

Ed. by Michael Chabon (Vintage, $13.95)

Chabon has edited and written the introduction to this action-adventure anthology boasting literary heavyweights such as Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman and Dave Eggers, the founder and publisher of McSweeney's quarterly. (F)

The bestseller lists this week are culled from information submitted by Barnes & Noble, Borders and Olsson's based on sales from 03/17-03/23. 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. (04/06/03)