*--* SO. CAL. RATING Fiction LAST WEEK WEEKS ON LIST 1 Special Topics in Calamity 4 3 Physics by Marisha Pessl (Viking: $25.95) Brilliant, eccentric high school students and their film studies teacher are drawn into a murder mystery.
2 Suite Francaise by Irene 2 19 Nemirovsky (Knopf: $25) Two novellas from a writer killed at Auschwitz on the exodus from Paris ahead of the Germans' arrival and on life in a farming village under occupation.
3 Hunters of Dune by Brian -- 1 Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books: $27.95) Based on Frank Herbert's final outline, this novel picks up with Duncan Idaho's ghola fleeing a dark sisterhood.
4 The Keep by Jennifer Egan 1 4 (Alfred A. Knopf: $23.95) Two cousins fix up their frayed relationship as they repair an Eastern European castle in the hopes of launching a luxe hotel.
5 White Sister by Stephen J. -- 1 Cannell (St. Martin's: $24.95) Det. Shane Scully scours the world of L.A. rap musicians for the person who shot and critically wounded his wife.
6 Judge & Jury by James 10 4 Patterson and Andrew Gross (Little, Brown: $27.99) An FBI agent finally gets his man, but a brutal mob boss hires a killer to make sure no conviction comes down.
7 The Afghan by Frederick -- 1 Forsyth (Putnam: $26.95) A British soldier goes undercover with the Taliban in Afghanistan to foil a terrorist plot discovered on an Al Qaeda member's computer.
8 The Messenger by Daniel 3 5 Silva (Putnam: $25.95) Israeli art restorer and spymaster Gabriel Allon tries to avert an Islamic militant's assassination plot against the pope.
9 Water for Elephants by -- 9 Sara Gruen (Algonquin: $23.95) A nursing-home patient recalls his life and loves as a penniless college student who dropped out to join the circus in the 1930s.
10 Dragon's Fire by Anne and -- 1 Todd J. McCaffrey (Del Rey: $24.95) A homeless girl, a miner's son and a mute apprentice prepare for the return of the deadly Red Star.
11 Literacy and Longing in 12 13 L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack (Delacorte: $22) A book-obsessed divorcee stalks her movie-mogul ex-husband until she meets a literature major.
12 Messenger of Truth by -- 1 Jacqueline Winspear (Henry Holt: $24) Private eye Maisie Dobbs suspects foul play in the death of a WWI veteran and artist in 1930s Britain.
13 Ricochet by Sandra Brown 8 2 (Simon & Schuster: $25.95) A Georgia police detective is enthralled with the beautiful wife of a judge who may be in the pocket of a local drug lord.
14 Three Days to Never by Tim 13 3 Powers (William Morrow: $25.95) A man who discovers he is a descendant of Albert Einstein battles a shadowy Gnostic seeking a time-travel machine.
15 Can't Wait to Get to -- 5 Heaven by Fannie Flagg (Random House: $25.95) When adversity hits Elmwood Springs, Mo., townsfolk discover happiness and renewed faith in helping each other.
*--* SO. CAL. RATING Nonfiction LAST WEEK WEEKS ON LIST 1 I Feel Bad About My Neck: 1 5 And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron (Knopf: $19.95) The screenwriter considers the effects of gravity and aging.
2 Fiasco: The American 2 5 Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin: $27.95) The Washington Post reporter details the administration's "reckless" war in Iraq.
3 State of Emergency by -- 1 Patrick J. Buchanan (Thomas Dunne Books: $24.95) The conservative pundit asserts that Mexico is deliberately trying to reclaim the U.S. Southwest.
4 Laurel Canyon by Michael -- 13 Walker (Faber & Faber: $25) A look at the '60s rock bands and artists whose creativity flowered in Laurel Canyon, then a sylvan enclave above Sunset Boulevard.
5 Marley & Me by John Grogan 3 41 (William Morrow: $21.95) A columnist recalls how Marley, an incorrigible Labrador retriever, flunked obedience school, terrorized a pet sitter and won over his family.
6 The Looming Tower by 7 3 Lawrence Wright (Knopf: $27.95) A penetrating explanation of the ideological roots of Al Qaeda and how Osama bin Laden came to hate America.
7 The World Is Flat by 5 71 Thomas L. Friedman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: $30) How technology and globalization are changing the world and the training that is needed to compete.
8 Cesar's Way by Cesar 6 21 Millan with Melissa Jo Peltier (Harmony: $24.95) The "Dog Whisperer" of TV gives tips on understanding and correcting common canine behavior problems.
9 Freakonomics by Steven D. 4 62 Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (William Morrow: $25.95) An economist deconstructs statistics and uses numbers to help explain human behavior.
10 The I Chong: Meditations -- 1 From the Joint by Tommy Chong (Simon Spotlight: $23.95) The comedian traces his life and how he came to be ensnared in the U.S. government's war on drugs.
11 I Feel Earthquakes More 8 3 Often Than They Happen by Amy Wilentz (Simon & Schuster: $26) Leaving the East Coast behind, the author takes on California.
12 La Bella Figura: A Field -- 1 Guide to the Italian Mind by Beppe Severgnini (Broadway: $23.95) The Italian journalist and columnist offers a sociological look at the people of his homeland.
13 Eat, Pray, Love by -- 16 Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking: $24.95) After deciding that marriage and motherhood aren't for her, the author embarks on a journey of self-discovery in Italy, India and Indonesia.
14 Conservatives Without -- 6 Conscience by John W. Dean (Viking: $25.95) The former Watergate figure argues that the conservative movement has become riddled with authoritarianism.
15 Barn Burning Barn Building -- 1 by Ben Barnes and Lisa Dickey (Bright Sky Press: $24.95) A former legislator recounts the rise and fall of the Democratic Party in Texas.