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What's hot on this week's L.A. Times bestseller list

April 22, 2010 |  2:57 pm

Chicks rock the nonfiction list this week. Singer Patti Smith -- whose iconic record "Horses" was a creative landmark for rock music and female musicians -- marks her twelfth week on the list. Her book is the memoir "Just Kids," about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and their youth in New York; it's at No. 6. And at No. 14 there's Cherie Curie, the lead singer of the all-girl early punk band the Runaways, with her memoir "Neon Angel." Currie was played by Dakota Fanning in the recent film about the band; in addition to rocking and writing, Currie can carve sculptures with a chainsaw.

That's not all that's happening on the list: There are still a pile of popular Wimpy Kid books, Kathryn Stockett's "The Help" isn't budging after 46 weeks, and mysteries, vampires and werewolves -- sometimes all in one book -- are all making moves. See this week's hardcover fiction bestsellers and hardcover nonfiction bestsellers after the jump.

1. Solar by Ian McEwan (Nan A. Talese: $26.95) A physicist tries to reinvigorate his career (at a colleague’s expense) and save the world. Weeks on the list: 3

2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Putnam: $24.95) The lives of a maid, a cook and a college graduate intertwine in a Mississippi town. Weeks on the list: 46

3. Changes by Jim Butcher (Roc: $25.95) Wizard detective Harry Dresden must save his newly revealed daughter from sacrifice at the vampire Red Court. Weeks on the list: 1

4. Caught by Harlan Coben (Dutton: $27.95) The search for a missing high school student stirs a reporter into action. Weeks on the list: 4

5. Bite Me by Christopher Moore (William Morrow: $23.99) A San Francisco goth girl and her boyfriend must save the city from a ravenous vampyre cat. Weeks on the list: 3

6. Imperfect Birds by Anne LaMott (Riverhead: $25.95) Fraught parents send their teenage daughter to a wilderness rehab program. Weeks on the list: 1

7. Deception by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine: $28) Alex Delaware investigates a prep school teacher’s death. Weeks on the list: 2

8. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs (Ace: $24.95) The paranormal romance and werewolf drama continues for coyote-shifting, garage mechanic Mercedes Thompson. Weeks on the list: 2

9. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (Atlantic Monthly: $24.95) The ravages of the Vietnam War told from the perspective of an ambitious young soldier. Weeks on the list: 2

10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (Grand Central: $21.99) The ax-wielding president seeks vengeance for the death of his mother. Weeks on the list: 6

11. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (Amulet: $12.95) The adventures of Greg Heffley, a wise-cracking kid trying to survive middle school. Weeks on the list: 9

12. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (Disney Hyperion: $17.99) Percy Jackson and his army of demigods battle to stop the Lord of Time. Weeks on the list: 18

13. River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters (William Morrow: $25.99) Egyptologists must stop an excavation of the lost Ark of the Covenant. Weeks on the list: 1

14. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules by Jeff Kinney (Amulet: $13.95) Greg navigates middle school while trying to keep his brother from revealing a secret. Weeks on the list: 4

15. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books: $15.99) A sixth-grader begins receiving mysterious notes accurately predicting the future. Weeks on the list: 2

1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton: $27.95) An account of how the U.S. economy was driven to collapse by the bond and real estate markets. Weeks on the list: 5

2. Women Food and God by Geneen Roth (Scribner: $24) How the connection between eating and core beliefs can bring fulfillment. Weeks on the list: 2

3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie Diary by Jeff Kinney (Amulet: $14.95) Behind the scenes during the making of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movie. Weeks on the list: 5

4. Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage by Raquel Welch (Weinstein: $26.95) The sex symbol’s views and secrets on diet, exercise and healthy living. Weeks on the list: 2

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-it-Yourself Book by Jeff Kinney (Amulet: $10.95) An interactive journal based on the original wimpy kid, Greg Heffley’s own diary. Weeks on the list: 3

6. Just Kids by Patti Smith (Ecco: $27) A memoir of the singer’s early days and relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. Weeks on the list: 12

7. Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Daniel G. Amen (Harmony: $25.99) Dietary advice to improve brain function and overall health. Weeks on the list: 2

8. Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin (Harper: $27.99) How the drama of the U.S. presidential campaign of 2008 unfolded. Weeks on the list: 14

9.The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose (NAL: $26.95) The real-life stories of four Marines and a Navy pilot fighting the Japanese in World War II. Weeks on the list: 6

10. When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead by Jerry Weintraub (Twelve: $25.99) Memoir of the legendary Hollywood producer and manager. Weeks on the list: 1

11. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking: $26.95) After circumstances cause her to wed, the author tackles her fears of marriage by delving into the institution's history. Weeks on the list: 1

12. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler (Grand Central: $25.99) Essays and amusing tales from the comic's personal life. Weeks on the list: 5

13. Bridge by David Remnick (Knopf: $29.95) The New Yorker editor's telling of the evolution of President Obama reaching back to his fatherless childhood. Weeks on the list: 1

14. Neon Angel by Cherie Currie (It Books: $24.99) The life of the lead singer of the 1970s all-girl rock band the Runaways. Weeks on the list: 3

15. Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle (Free Press: $25) Jesuit priest Boyle recounts working with troubled L.A. youth through his gang intervention program, Homeboy Industries. Weeks on the list: 3

Rankings are based on a weekly poll of Southland bookstores.

-- Carolyn Kellogg and Liesl Bradner

Editor's Note: This week, our extended bestsellers list is featured on Jacket Copy. You can find our extended paperback bestsellers list, book events listings, reviews and other features by going to this Sunday's book coverage.

Photos: Patti Smith, left, performing April 21; credit: Steve C. Mitchell / EPA. At right, former Runaways bandmate Joan Jett, left, poses with Cherie Currie  at a March 2010 film screening; credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press