BOOKS / The Independent on Sunday bestseller list

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The Independent Culture
IN THE LISTS Bill Watterson, whose collection of strip cartoons Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat heads this week's humour bestsellers, looks like the natural heir to Charles M Schulz. The venerable Peanuts became a cult, was taken so seriously it stopped being funny and has ended up almost a religion.

Watterson - by comparison a rank newcomer - is already syndicated to more than 500 newspapers from Finland to Fiji, and his Calvin and Hobbes books sell by the multiple million in America. Luckily he has so far continued to be funny. Calvin is a six-year-old kid who leads a vivid fantasy life with his toy tiger Hobbes. Like the members of Schulz's gang of baby neurotics, Calvin is a hybrid, a child-man constantly haunted by the chasm separating desire and performance, dream and reality, language and truth. This of course is the moral territory of almost all comedy, but where children are involved the danger of charm eliding into cutesiness is always there and Watterson is not entirely immune. Yet he has one priceless advantage over Schulz: he is a great draughtsman. When he departs from his everyday Peanuts-like minimalism and pulls out the whole box of tricks for a big coloured strip peopled by marvellous monsters - a weekend special - he achieves a power which Schulz and Charlie Brown can only dream about.

HARDBACKS 1 Writing Home - Alan Bennett: Faber, pounds 17.50 (2/2) 2 Botham: My Autobiography - Ian Botham & Peter Hayter: CollinsWillow, pounds 15.99 (3/6) 3 Princess in Love - Anna Pasternak: Bloomsbury, pounds 14.99 (1/3) 4 Looking for Trouble - Peter de la Billiere: HarperCollins, pounds 19.99 (4/5) 5 Treasure - Dan James: Studio Editions, pounds 8.99 (10/2) 6 Grace - Robert Lacey: Sidgwick, pounds 16.99 (-/2) 7 Magic Eye 3 - N E Thing Enterprises: Michael Joseph, pounds 11.99 (7/7) 8 The Body Farm - Patricia D Cornwell: Little, Brown, pounds 15.99 (6/2) 9 Blanc Mange - Raymond Blanc: BBC Books, pounds 18.99 (8/3) 10 Murderers and Other Friends - John Mortimer: Viking, pounds 17.00 (-/1) 11 East, West - Salman Rushdie: Jonathan Cape, pounds 9.99 (13/2) 12 Wild Horses - Dick Francis: Michael Joseph, pounds 14.99 (5/7) 13 The Friendship Book - Francis Gay: D C Thompson, pounds 3.95 (-/3) 14 Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 1995 - Hugh Johnson: Mitchell Beazley, pounds 7.99 (-/1) 15 The Tinker's Girl - Catherine Cookson: Bantam Press, pounds 15.99 (15/2) PAPERBACKS 1 100 Recipes in No Time At All - 'Challenging Anneka': BBC Books, pounds 4.99 (1/3) 2 Bravo Two Zero - Andy McNab: Corgi, pounds 5.99 (2/7) 3 The Golden Straw - Catherine Cookson: Corgi, pounds 5.99 (4/3) 4 The Crocodile Bird - Ruth Rendell: Arrow, pounds 4.99 (6/3) 5 Complicity - Iain Banks: Abacus, pounds 6.99 (3/6) 6 Disclosure - Michael Crichton: Arrow, pounds 5.99 (5/7) 7 A Spanish Lover - Joanna Trollope: Black Swan, pounds 5.99 (7/16) 8 Nightmares and Dreamscapes - Stephen King: NEL, pounds 5.99 (-/1) 9 Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow - Peter Hoeg: Flamingo, pounds 5.99 (-/1) 10 Cruel and Unusual - Patricia D Cornwell: Warner, pounds 4.99 (14/17) 11 Mrs de Winter - Susan Hill: Mandarin, pounds 5.99 (10/2) 12 Deceit - Clare Francis: Pan, pounds 5.99 (13/6) 13 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha - Roddy Doyle: Minerva, pounds 5.99 (12/19) 14 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks: Vintage, pounds 5.99 (8/15) 15 Wild Swans - Jung Chang:Flamingo, pounds 7.99 (-/52) HUMOUR 1 Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat - Bill Watterson: Warner, pounds 7.99 2 Giles Cartoons 1995 - Carl Giles: Pedigree, pounds 9.99 3 Why Cats Paint - Burton Silver: Weidenfeld, pounds 9.99 4 Mr Bean's Minidiary - Rowan Atkinson & Robin Jarvis: Boxtree, pounds 3.99 5 Gumpisms - Winston Groom: Corgi, pounds 2.99 6 Dorien's Diary - Lawrence Marks & Maurice Gran, Pavilion, pounds 4.99 7 Pavilion - Stephen Fry: Mandarin 4.99 8 Son of Stupid Men Jokes - Jane Birtles: O'Mara, pounds 3.99 9 Politically Correct Bedtime Stories - James Finn: Garner Souvenir, pounds 6.99 10 Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book - Terry Jones & Brian Froud: Pavilion, pounds 12.99

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