Book used by hostage flies off shelves

March 20, 2005 at 3:30 PM

NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) -- The book, "The Purpose Driven Life," is selling heavily after an Atlanta hostage read parts while being held by a man wanted in four killings.

After fugitive Brian Nichols forced his way into Ashley Smith's Atlanta apartment, Smith, a waitress and single mother whose husband died in her arms after being stabbed during a brawl, read parts of the "The Purpose Driven Life," a book that centers on the notion that every person has a purpose, reported the Sunday Telegraph.

The book, by the Rev. Rick Warren, was published three years ago and has sold about 21 million copies worldwide.

Smith credits the book with saving her life and now one Atlanta bookstore alone has sold 1,500 copies in one week. Internet retailer Amazon.com shows the book in second place, behind advance orders for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,' by J.K. Rowling, to be published in July.

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