While many retailers suffered in August, 26-year-old PGW in Berkeley, Calif., had its best month ever. "We started off with four titles on the New York Times list, which was the first time in the company's history that we had so many bestsellers at one time," said Susan Nathan, executive v-p of sales. "It was a wonderful confluence of having the right books at the right time."

The books, all from different publishers, continue to sell briskly: art critic Catherine Millet's memoir The Sexual Life of Catherine M. (Grove Press); Shelly Brady and William H. Macy's inspirational Ten Things I Learned from Bill Porter (New World Library); Don Miguel Ruiz's longtime bestselling paperback, The Four Agreements (Amber-Allen), which has spent almost two years on the list; and Gore Vidal's critique, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (Thunder's Mouth/Nation Books).

"We just had a strong summer overall," said Mark Ouimet, executive v-p of marketing, noting that the just released paperback of Leif Enger's Peace Like a River (Grove/Atlantic) "is really flying." With just one more month remaining in the quarter, Ouimet added that "September is shaping up to be a strong month, and the fiscal quarter is shaping up as well."