I regularly check Yahoo! News’ Most Viewed page to see what people are viewing both in the U.S. and in other countries. There’s also Yahoo’s Buzz Index and Google Zeitgeist to see what’s on people’s mind. Now Amazon has Amazon Purchasing Circles where you can see what people are buying from your area.
I checked the books circle for Charlotte and wasn’t surprised to see Civil War books showing up, but where are the NASCAR books?