A weekly feature at the Spinoff Review of Books: The best-selling books at the Wellington and Auckland stores of Unity Books.
THE BEST–SELLER CHART FOR THE WEEK JUST ENDED: July 1
UNITY BOOKS AUCKLAND
1 In Love with These Times: My Life with Flying Nun Records (HarperCollins, $37) by Roger Shepherd
The Nun man’s memoir is number one for the fourth week in a row; it was intelligently appraised at the Spinoff by Gary Steel.
2 The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (Canongate, $40) by Olivia Laing
Hell has frozen over and we still haven’t received the essay on this crucial book as promised us by Ashleigh Young.
3 The Vegetarian (Portobello Books, $23) by Han Kang
One of the two most interesting novels of the year, recently acclaimed by Wyoming Paul.
4 The Romanovs: 1613 – 1918 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $50) by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Review in the Guardian: “Peter the Great was transfixed by decapitation as biological experiment. And he wasn’t the worst of them. It was remarked that Muscovites were addicted to sodomy not only with boys but with horses…Simon Sebag Montefiore’s journey through 300 years of the Romanov dynasty is a study of brutality, sex and power.”
5 Barkskins (Fourth Estate, $37) by Annie Proulx
Charlotte Grimshaw said in the Listener that it deserved an award from God; writing in the Spinoff, Elspeth Sandys said that “everyone who is serious about the state of the planet should read this novel”.
6 The Sympathizer (Corsair, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The other most interesting novel of the year.
7 The Silk Roads: A New History of the World (Bloomsbury, $33) by Peter Frankopan
It’s not that new.
8 East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $40) by Philippe Sands
Part memoir, part analysis of Nuremberg.
9 In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom (Penguin, $28) by Yeonmi Park
Review in the New York Times: “Twenty-two-year-old Park — who has been nicknamed ‘the Paris Hilton of North Korea’ — describes how her early life of privilege vanished when her father was jailed for smuggling. After fleeing to China, she watches her mother being raped and sold. At 13, she becomes the mistress of a violent Chinese human trafficker…”
10 High Rise (Fourth Estate, $23) by JG Ballard
The 1975 novel of the 2016 movie.
UNITY BOOKS WELLINGTON
1 Chasing a Dream (Upstart Press, $40) by John Dunmore
The latest book by the great expert on French exploration of the Pacific; the author was ably profiled this week by Graeme Lay.
2 In Love with These Times: The Flying Nun Story (HarperCollins, $37) by Roger Shepherd
3 The Vegetarian: A Novel (Portobello Books, $23) by Han Kang
4 Love From Boy: Roald Dahl’s Letters to his Mother (Hodder & Stoughton, $40) by Roald Dahl, compiled by Donald Sturrock
Sample letter: “This evening I had a bath and a shave and drove out to have dinner with Ginger Rogers.”
Above: Emma Cline
5 Girls: A Novel (Chatto & Windus, $37) by Emma Cline
Emma Cline is the next big thing in American fiction – 27 years old, with a $2m, three-book advance, and a stunning prose style. The Girls might turn out to be the best novel of the year. Set in 1969, Cline’s debut novel fictionalises the murderous nut-bar chicks of the Manson Family. The notices have been excellent; we await the Spinoff review by Saran Laing. In the meantime, here’s her brilliant, chilly, poised memoir from the Paris Review.
6 Global Investing: A Guide for New Zealanders (Bateman, $40) by John Ryder
23 top investment strategies by the former head of Ryland Healthcare.
7 Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley (Victoria University Press, $30) by Danyl Mclauchlan
Mysteries and comedies by the esteemed Wellington writer, who contributed an alarmingly good essay about his book for the Spinoff in June.
8 Vinegar Girl (Hogarth Press, $34) by Anne Tyler
A reworking of The Taming of the Shrew. Pointless, really.
9 Silencing Science (Bridget Williams Books, $15) by Shaun Hendy
New Zealanders, argues the author, have few scientific institutions that feel secure enough to criticise the government.
10 The Sympathizer (Little Brown, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The Spinoff Review of Books is brought to you by Unity Books.