Rushing about this holiday shopping season, and stressed for some solid gift ideas? Well, if books are an option, below is what’s selling best this last weekend before the Christmas / Hanukkah holidays arrive (we assume the revelry kicked in long ago).

On the new nonfiction roster, not much new to speak of — Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography remains perched at #1, with a slight rejiggering in the order below. And the addition of one of the Ripley franchise’s latest ”can you believe it!” offerings.

New fiction sees the strongest two debuts on the list — P.D. James ’s introducing murder into the genteel world of Jane Austen’s beloved “Pride and Prejudice,” and Patricia Cornwell’s new Kay Scarpetta outing, a hefty book full of intense investigation, intrigue and the expected “ick” factor thanks to the forensic component. Appearing at #1 and #2, respectively, and likely to hang firm on the list for weeks to come.

BOOK WORLD

Bestsellers — December 18, 2011

[click on the author’s name to be linked to Book World’s review]

NONFICTION HARDCOVER

1. STEVE JOBS (Simon & Schuster, $35)

By Walter Isaacson. The life of the offbeat, visionary founder of the Apple corporation, based on numerous interviews with Jobs himself. (7)


2. KILLING LINCOLN: THE SHOCKING ASSASSINATION THAT CHANGED AMERICA FOREVER

(Henry Holt, $28). By Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (11)


3. GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2012

(Guinness World Records, $28.95). The series unveils a “wide-screen” design, new topics and previously unseen photos. (10)


4. UNBROKEN: A WORLD WAR II STORY OF SURVIVAL, RESILIENCE, AND REDEMPTION

(Random House, $27). By Laura Hillenbrand (54)


5. CATHERINE THE GREAT: PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN

(Random House, $35). By Robert K. Massie. The remarkable life of German princess turned Russian empress. (5)


6. THINKING, FAST AND SLOW (FSG, $30)

By Daniel Kahneman. The Nobel Prize winner (economic sciences) examines the modes of thought that fuel our decision making. (3)


7. JACK KENNEDY: ELUSIVE HERO

(Simon & Schuster, $27.50). By Chris Matthews. The political pundit’s biography of President Kennedy, drawn from multiple sources. (6)


8. BEING GEORGE WASHINGTON: THE INDISPENSABLE MAN, AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HIM

(Threshold, $26). By Glenn Beck. A new biography of the Founding Father, flaws and all. (3)


9. STRENGTHS FINDER 2.0: ... ONLINE TEST FROM GALLUP'S “NOW, DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS”

(Gallup, $24.95). By Tom Rath (64)


10. RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! STRIKINGLY TRUE

(Ripley, $28.95). Offbeat and downright bizarre facts, backed up with images. (1)




FICTION HARDCOVER

1. DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY

(Knopf, $25.95). By P.D. James. A bit of murder is injected into the milieu of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” (1)


(Knopf)

2. RED MIST

(Putnam, $27.95)

By Patricia Cornwell. Scarpetta’s probe of her deputy chief’s murder reveals a conspiracy laced with terrorism. (1)


3. 11/22/63 (Scribner, $35)

By Stephen King. A modest English professor is offered the chance to change history — by preventing the JFK assassination. (5)


4. THE LITIGATORS (Doubleday, $28.95)

By John Grisham. The fortunes of a sketchy law practice may change thanks to a new recruit and one major lawsuit. (7)


5. KILL ALEX CROSS (Little, Brown, $28.99)

By James Patterson. The president and his daughter are kidnapped as a biological attack on Washington, D.C.’s water supply is unleashed. (4)


6. EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN (Bantam, $28)

By Janet Evanovich. A Hawaiian sojourn goes terribly wrong for Stephanie Plum, as her seatmate on the flight is murdered — and she could be next. (3)


7. THE DROP (Little, Brown, $27.99)

By Michael Connelly. With little more than three years before mandatory retirement, Harry Bosch is eager for cases — and then gets handed two, each bearing serious ramifications. (2)


8. ZERO DAY (Grand Central, $27.99)

By David Baldacci. A top notch U.S. Army CID investigator finds something amiss in a rural West Virginia Town. (6)


9. THE BEST OF ME (Grand Central, $25.99)

By Nicholas Sparks. A funeral calls former high school sweethearts back to their rural North Carolina town. (9)


10. MICRO (Harper, $28.99)

By Michael Crichton and Richard Preston. Graduate students from diverse scientific disciplines are recruited by a mysterious microbiology firm. (3)





NONFICTION PAPERBACK

1. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

(Broadway, $16). By Rebecca Skloot. How one woman’s death from cervical cancer in 1951 led to the creation of the prodigious HeLa cell line. (40)


2. HEAVEN IS FOR REAL: A LITTLE BOY’S ASTOUNDING STORY OF HIS TRIP TO HEAVEN AND BACK

(Thomas Nelson, $16.99). By Todd Burpo (48)


3. THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES: THE SECRET TO LOVE THAT LASTS (Northfield, $14.99)

By Gary D. Chapman. Knowing that special someone. (19)


4. THE WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS 2012

(World Almanac, $12.99). The one-volume classic, a reference staple since 1868. (4)

5. UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS: 47 REMARKABLE STORIES FROM THE ANIMAL KINGDOM (Workman, $13.95)

By Jennifer S. Holland. Heartwarming tales accompanied by full color photos. (8)


6. THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE: COMPLETE PROTECTION FROM THE LIVING DEAD

(Three Rivers, $13.95). By Max Brooks. A near-dead parody. (1)


7. OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS

(Back Bay, $16.99). By Malcolm Gladwell. Assumptions about success challenged. (20)


8. EAT TO LIVE: THE AMAZING NUTRIENT-RICH PROGRAM FOR FAST AND SUSTAINED WEIGHT LOSS

(Little, Brown, $15.99). By Joel Fuhrman (2)


9. THE OFFICIAL SAT STUDY GUIDE (College Board, $21.99) This revised manual offers 10 practice tests and loads of tips. (92)


10. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT (Harper, $14.99)

By Gretchen Rubin. What happened when a lawyer, writer and mom set out to improve her life in a year. (16)



FICTION PAPERBACK

1. THE HELP (Berkley, $16)

By Kathryn Stockett. A frank chronicle of the lives of several black maids working in a town in 1960s Miss. (35)


2. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

(Vintage, $14.95; $7.99). By Stieg Larsson. First book in the late Swede’s “Millennium Trilogy.” (114)


3. THE NEXT ALWAYS: BOOK ONE OF THE INN BOONSBORO TRILOGY

(Berkley, $16). By Nora Roberts. A love story set in the very real Maryland town. (6)


4. TOYS

(Vision, $9.99). By James Patterson & Neil McMahon. Hays Baker, part of a genetically engineered perfect family complete with super strength, has his do-gooder world turned upside down. (2)


5. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE

(Vintage, $15.95; $7.99). By Stieg Larsson. Sex trafficking between Sweden and Eastern Europe is exposed. (59)


6. THE TIGER’S WIFE (Random House, $15)

By Téa Obreht. While on a humanitarian mission, a doctor in the Balkans is confronted by the riddles of her own family’s past. (5)


7. LAWE’S JUSTICE (Berkley, $7.99)

By Lora Leigh. This latest Breeds tale finds Lawe’s brother, Rule, laying claim to his mate. (1)


8. SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN (Bantam, $8.99)

By Janet Evanovich. Bail bondsman Stephanie Plum is faced with a string of murders and pressure to settle down with ... who? (4)


9. CUTTING FOR STONE (Vintage, $15.95)

By Abraham Verghese. Medicine, political upheaval and the African continent woven into a sweeping saga. (51)


10. SING YOU HOME (Atria, $16)

By Jodi Picoult. Three characters take turns narrating this emotional tale of parenting, relationships and love. (8)



Rankings reflect sales for the week ended December 11, 2011. The charts may not be reproduced without permission from Nielsen BookScan. Copyright 2011 by Nielsen BookScan. (The right-hand column of numbers represents weeks on this list, which premiered in Book World on Jan. 11, 2004. The bestseller lists in print alternate between hardcover and paperback; the complete list can be found online.)