The heat index is rising dramatically (hope everyone is coping well with the temperatures and staying cool ... ), so hunkering down indoors with a great book seems like a sound idea right about now. Any such books to choose from? That’s a matter of taste, of course, but several new high-wattage titles join the list this weekend —

— The heartbreaking memoir from kidnap and abuse victim Jaycee Dugard, whose resilience evident in her chronicle of her ordeal, and her poise in her lengthy interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News is just astounding.

— On a very different note, conservative pundit Laura Ingraham takes a stab at explaining the “decline” of America, which seems a favorite pastime for politicians and talking heads of all stripes (but especially conservatives) when America is in the throes of a crisis (see: debt ceiling). Certainly there issues to be concerned about, but reviving the culture wars doesn’t seem particularly helpful or relevant — and frankly it’s a little tiresome, a well-trod path is you will. Middle class America is at risk, but rather than mention, say, the inequity of corporate (and many Wall Street) salaries to the average worker, it’s the “gluttonous” selection at Starbucks that is part of the problem. Somehow, I think not ...

— In fiction, naturally (and most deservedly), the new chapter in the fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” debuts at #1, where I suspect it will be perched for weeks to come. Almost six years since the last installment has left a lot of anxious George R.R. Martin fans desperate for more.

— Beloved writer Jennifer Weiner is back with a new novel on the lives of women, is one revolving around a planned surrogacy and its impact on the lives of those involved. Weiner has quite the knack for concocting riveting new tales, and her talent even spreads to the world of television, where she is a producer of the well-received new sitcom “State of Georgia,” starring Raven-Symone (tune into ABC Family).

— And a duo of new thrillers pop on the list, too: Iris Johansen’s “Quinn,” the conclusion of the part-flashback storyline in which we discover what really happened to Eve Duncan’s daughter Bonnie, and ”Before I Go to Sleep,” the new outing from S.J. Watson that follows the travails of a woman who loses her memory while asleep each evening.

BOOK WORLD

Bestsellers — July 24, 2011

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

NONFICTION HARDCOVER

1. A STOLEN LIFE (Simon & Schuster, $24.99)


In this July 1, 2011 photo released by ABC, ABC News' Diane Sawyer, left, speaks with Jaycee Dugard in Ojai, Calif., during her first interview since being kidnapped near her California home in 1991, when she was 11.  Dugard wrote a memoir, titled "A Stolen Life," which recounts her ordeal in detail. The exclusive interview airs Sunday, July 10 at 9:00 p.m. EDT on ABC. (AP Photo/ABC News) (Jill Belsley/ABC News/AP)

2. IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS: LOVE, TERROR, AND AN AMERICAN FAMILY IN HITLER’S BERLIN

(Crown, $26). By Erik Larson (10)

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

(Random House, $27)

By Laura Hillenbrand (35)

4. THE GREATER JOURNEY: AMERICANS IN PARIS

(Simon & Schuster, $37.50). By David McCullough

The tangible influence of the City of Light. (8)

5. BOSSYPANTS (Reagan Arthur, $26.99)

By Tina Fey. An amusing memoir from the acclaimed former SNL writer, comedian and actress. (15 )

6. GO THE F**K TO SLEEP (Akashic, $14.95)

By Adam Mansbach; illus. by Ricardo Cortes. A mature riff on all of those classic children’s picture books. (6)

7. THE FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM: A LEADERSHIP FABLE (Jossey-Bass, $24.95)

By Patrick M. Lencioni. Help for group dynamics. (2)

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

(Gallup, $24.95). By Tom Rath (51)

9. THE 17 DAY DIET: A DOCTOR’S PLAN DESIGNED FOR RAPID RESULTS

(Free Press, $25). By Dr. Mike Moreno. Metabolic mastery. (10)

10. OF THEE I ZING: AMERICA’S CULTURAL DECLINE FROM MUFFIN TOPS TO BODY SHOTS

(Threshold, $25). By Laura Ingraham. More examples of “doom and gloom.” (1)

FICTION HARDCOVER

1. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (Bantam, $35)

By George R.R. Martin. After almost six years, Martin returns to the Seven Kingdoms in this fifth book of “A Song of Ice and Fire.”


"Then Came You: A Novel" by Jennifer Weiner (Atria Books)

2. THEN CAME YOU

(Atria, $26.99)

By Jennifer Weiner. Surrogacy brings together three strikingly different women, each banking on a pregnancy to solve their individual crises. (1)

3. NOW YOU SEE HER (Little, Brown, $27.99)

By James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge. A woman risks the new life she’s created when she returns to Florida when a killer from her past strikes once again. (3)

4. STATE OF WONDER (Harper, $26.99)

By Ann Patchett. Set deep in the Amazon, this tale binds together pharmaceutical research and its tolls, both ethical and emotional. (6)

5. SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN (Bantam, $28)

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

6. AGAINST ALL ENEMIES (Putnam, $28.95)

By Tom Clancy with Peter Telep. A former Navy SEAL unearths a sinister plot on the U.S.-Mexico border by way of Pakistan’s tribal lands. (5)

7. ONE SUMMER (Grand Central, $25.99)

By David Baldacci. A father’s grave diagnosis is compounded by his wife’s accidental death and the machinations of his mother-in-law. (5)

8. BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP (Harper, $25.99)

By S.J. Watson. In this thriller, the protagonist loses her memory every evening as she falls asleep. (1)

9. QUINN (St. Martin’s, $27.99)

By Iris Johansen. This taut Eve Duncan thriller, following up the April release “Eve,” provides further answers about her daughter’s abduction. (1)

10. MAINE (Knopf, $25.95)

By J. Courtney Sullivan. Summering in Maine takes on added drama when three generations of Kelleher women descend on the family cottage. (4)

NONFICTION PAPERBACK

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

(Thomas Nelson, $16.99). By Todd Burpo (27)

2. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

(Broadway, $16). By Rebecca Skloot. The shocking story of a stem cell theft in 1951 and the HeLa cell line. (19)

3. OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS (Back Bay, $16.99)

By Malcolm Gladwell. Assumptions about success challenged. (6)

4. THE OFFICIAL SAT STUDY GUIDE (College Board, $21.99). This revised manual offers 10 practice tests and loads of tips. (76)

5. SCHOLASTIC SUCCESS WITH 1ST GRADE WORKBOOK

(Teaching Resources, $16.99). By Jon Buller. Tackling the three R's in grade school. (10)

6. CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS: TOOLS FOR TALKINGWHEN STAKES ARE HIGH

(McGraw-Hill, $16.95)

By Kerry Patterson et al. For all aspects of your life. (4)

7. BRAIN RULES: 12 PRINCIPLES FOR SURVIVING AND THRIVING AT WORK, HOME, AND SCHOOL

(Pear, $15). By John Medina (1)

8. SCHOLASTIC SUCCESS WITH 2ND GRADE WORKBOOK

(Teaching Resources, $16.99). By Terry Cooper. Level two of the series’ basics. (4)


Two dogs plays during an animal rights protest in front of Romanian Parliament building in Bucharest on April 11, 2011. Romanian Chamber of Deputies Administration Committee approved past week the law on stray dogs euthanasia. The draft will be sent the Chamber of Deputies for a vote, which has the final vote. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images) (DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

A psychology professor hits the dog park. (38)

10. HOW TO WIN FRIENDS & INFLUENCE PEOPLE

(Pocket, $15). By Dale Carnegie. The anniversary edition of the first “self-help” title. (1)

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. (15)

2. A GAME OF THRONES (Bantam, $17; Spectra, $8.99)


Author George R.R. Martin appears at a book signing for "A Dance with Dragons" at Barnes & Noble in New York, Thursday, July 14, 2011. HBO's "Game of Thrones," based on RR Martin's epic fantasy novels, was nominated for an Emmy for best drama series on Thursday. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes) (Charles Sykes/AP)

3. HELL’S CORNER

(Vision, $9.99)

By David Baldacci. This fifth Camel Club yarn involves Russian drug cartels and a plot to assassinate the British PM. (3)

4. A CLASH OF KINGS (Bantam, $17; Spectra, $8.99)

By George R.R. Martin. The second installment of Martin’s lushly imagined fantasy world. (3)

5. ROOM (Back Bay, $14.99)

By Emma Donoghue. By Emma Donoghue. A five year-old boy narrates this haunting tale of being held captive with his mother. (9)

6. WHIPLASH (Jove, $9.99)

By Catherine Coulter. Savich & Sherlock confront a possible haunting of a U.S. senator and a nefarious drug company. (2)

7. THE POSTCARD KILLERS (Grand Central, $14.99)

By James Patterson & Liza Marklund. A postcard sent to local newspapers is a European killer’s calling card. (1)

8. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

(Vintage, $14.95; $7.99). By Stieg Larsson. First book in the late Swede’s “Millennium Trilogy.” (106)

9. CUTTING FOR STONE (Vintage, $15.95)

By Abraham Verghese. Medicine, political upheaval and the African continent woven into a sweeping saga. (39)

10. TOUGH CUSTOMER (Pocket Star, $9.99)

By Sandra Brown. With mixed emotions, a brash P.I. goes to the aid of his daughter, whom he’s never met. (4)

Rankings reflect sales for the week ended July 17, 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.)