All three newcomers on this week's hardcover fiction bestseller list are from Putnam. Landing in the #1 slot, as she usually d s with a new book, is Patricia Cornwell with Southern Cross. The book had a one-day laydown on January 11 with a first printing of about 600,000 copies. Cornwell brings back the trio of characters she introduced in Hornet's Nest, and her media appearances include Rosie, Today, CNN's Showbiz Today and more.

W.E.B. Griffin offers the eighth volume in his bestselling series about Marines in WWII, The Corps. In Danger's Path lands in the #7 slot in its first week out. The author is doing a series of personal appearances, for the first time in many years, in various Texas cities. First printing is 250,000 copies.

For Lilian Jackson Braun, it's #21 in her bestselling Cat Who... series. This time, The Cat Who Saw Stars makes it into the #9 spot, with 175,000 copies on sale. Braun will do a number of booksignings in North and South Carolina throughout January and February.

Oprah credits Phillip C. McGraw with helping her win her Texas beef trial. A professional psychologist and litigation consultant, McGraw's tactic is to help a person take responsibility for his or her "own actions and break free from self-destructive patterns." And now Oprah helps McGraw take control of the bestseller charts -- Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters lands in the #3 slot in its first week in the stores. Oprah actually encouraged McGraw to write his book and Hyperion was a natural choice for publisher, considering the house's earlier success with Make the Connection by Oprah Winfrey with Bob Greene, her personal trainer. Oprah dedicated her entire program on January 13 to the book, and McGraw has also done a 20-city television and radio satellite tour. First printing was 350,000, and the publisher has gone back to press for an additional 50,000 copies to meet demand.

That's what the folks at Pocket Books said when Oprah's 21st book club selection was a title from the house's backlist. Bret Lott's Jewel was first published in hardcover by Pocket in 1991 and then released as a Pocket Books/Washington Square Press trade paperback in 1992. PW's very favorable review back in the August 23, 1991, issue noted: "This haunting novel, imbued with an almost unbearable authenticity, runs the gamut of emotions associated with marriage and parenthood and acknowledges love's limitless potential." The publisher re-released the book with a 650,000-copy first printing. This is the second time the #1 talk-show host chose a PB/WSP book; the first was Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. Award-winning actress Celia Weston is the reader on the Simon &Schuster audio of Jewel, which was rushed into publication to coincide with Oprah's announcement. Oprah chose the Wal-Mart discount chain as her setting to chat up her 20th pick, Where the Heart Is by Billy Letts, the Warner trade bestseller that tops that list this week; she made the Jewel announcement at the same time. In tow were Letts and four viewers; lunch was typical Wal-Mart fare -- corndogs, BLTs, chicken sticks and fries.

What are some of the recent bestselling novels-we're talking three to five years-that have appreciated in value for collectors of modern first editions? According to a recent issue of MFE Collectors' Bookline (mfe@ bookline.com.), E. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News, which was valued at about $50 in 1994, is now worth about $375. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy went from $40 in 1993 to $325 in 1999. While The Bridges of Madison County went from $35 in 1993 to $130 this year, it was valued at $225 in 1994.