First it was Anita Shreve's The Pilot's Wife, then Janet Fitch's White Oleander, and now Little, Brown has scored a third time in seven months. Last Thursday, that literary lioness of the airwaves (aka Oprah Winfrey) announced the 27th selection of her on-air book club -- River Cross My Heart, a first novel by Breena Clark that was published by LB in July.

Boosted by 'phenomenal' reviews, said Terry Adams, the book's editor -- and LB's director of trade paperbacks -- River's 12,000-copy hardcover printing sold out, and is now being replenished to the tune of 25,000 copies. Not surprisingly, the date for the trade paper edition was moved up to coincide with Oprah's announcement; a 650,000 first printing has already been augmented with 150,000 copies. In a nice bit of serendipity, author Clark works in the building where LB is located (she administers the editorial diversity program at Time Inc.). Believing that her book should be 'kept in the family,' if possible, Clark submitted it to Larry Kirshbaum, CEO of Time-Warner Publishing. He loved the book and passed it to Adams, who noted that 'editorial meetings were incredibly easy: Breena was only four [telephone] digits away.'


It must be a record: thanks to Oprah, six health-related titles are debuting on our charts. On October 4, the influential hostess had as her guests Dr. Richard Heller and Dr. Rachael Heller, authors of The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program (Plume, 1998). Winfrey admitted that she was a carbo addict, said that she had no intention of taking her weight into the next millennium, and remarked that the Hellers' program made a lot of sense to her. On October 11, the Hellers returned to the show, along with a group of guests who had tried the program for a week. When audience members said they had trouble locating the book, Oprah replied that folks should try, 'my favorite place to buy books.'

Amazon was swamped, to put it mildly, and the Hellers' book shot to #1. (Because Amazon doesn't report sales to PW, this particular title d oesn't show up on our list.)

Landing as our #2 hardcover is The Carbohydrate Addict's Healthy Heart Program by the Hellers and Dr. Frederic J. Vagnini (Ballantine, Sept., 190,000 in print after three printings). Capturing the top trade paper spots are two related titles, Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (Avon, June 1998, 705,000 in print) and Dr. Atkins' New Carbohydrate Gram Counter (M. Evans, Dec. 1996, 1,400,000 copies in print after 27 printings); landing at #11 is Dr. Atkins' New Diet Cookbook (M. Evans, Oct. 1995, 600,000 copies after 30 printings). Debuting on the mass market list are two 1993 Signet titles, both by the Hellers: The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet (1,536,000 in print) and The Carbohydrate Addict's Gram Counter (720,000 in print). Holding on to the top mass market spot is Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (Avon, Jan. 1997, 6,057,000 in print).


'When I was seventeen, my life changed forever.' So begins A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, which centers around a teenage boy in Beaufort, N.C., in 1958--and which hits our list at #2. Sparks's third novel seems poised to duplicate the success of his earlier works, both of which had impressive runs on our charts: The Notebook's hardcover and paperback editions held sway for 115 weeks (the mass market topped that list for five weeks), and Message in a Bottle spent a combined total of 45 weeks, with its mass market holding #1 for four weeks. Warner's first printing for Walk (pub date: Oct. 7) was 650,000; a second trip back to press brings the total to 675,00. Sparks began a 34-city tour in New Bern, N.C. (where he resides); Warner deputy publicity director Jennifer Romanello noted that at three of his first six stops, more than 1000 books were sold. Film rights to the novel have gone to Denise DiNovi at Warner Brothers, which produced the Kevin Costner movie version of Message.

With reporting by Dick Donahue.