BooksDecember 1, 2017

Unity Books best-seller chart: week ending December 1


The best-selling books at the two best bookstores in the North Island.


1 Strangers Arrive: Emigres and the Arts in New Zealand by Leonard Bell (Auckland University Press, $75)

Once were intellectuals. Publisher’s blurbology: “From the 1930s through the 1950s, a substantial number of forced migrants arrived in New Zealand from Europe. Among them were an extraordinary group of artists and writers, photographers and architects whose European modernism radically reshaped the arts in this country. In words and pictures, Strangers Arrive tells their story….Leonard Bell takes us inside New Zealand’s bookstores and coffeehouses, studios and galleries to introduce us to a compelling body of artistic work.”

Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry  (Michael Joseph Books, $37)

Book for big children.

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, $60)

Book for big children.

Mauri Ora: Wisdom from the Māori World by Peter Alsop & Te Raumawhitu Kupenga (Potton & Burton, $40)

Popular book of proverbs.

5 Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop (Penguin, $40)

Book for small children.

Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search for a Lost Father by Diana Wichtel (Awa Press, $45)

Longlisted on Tuesday this week for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand national book awards.

Drawn Out: A Seriously Funny Memoir by Tom Scott (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Longlisted on Tuesday this week for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand national book awards.

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Canongate, $23)

This is that novel written in a single motherfucking sentence.

La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman (David Fickling Books, $35)

We have received a most interesting review from Scarlett Cayford, and look forward to publishing it.

10  Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Faber, $25)

“Barry deftly explores notions of national identity and self-renewal as two young soldiers find intimacy amid the horrors of war”: The Guardian.


1 Drawn Out: A Seriously Funny Memoir by Tom Scott (Allen & Unwin, $45)

2 Colonial Naturalist: Henry Suter’s Life of Discovery & Hardship in NZ by Pamela Hyde (Sphenodon, $35)

Suter (1841-1918), a Swiss naturalist, wrote the book on New Zealand snails. From the Te Ara national encyclopedia: “Suter’s 1,120-page  Manual of the New Zealand Mollusca (published 1913) described 1,079 species. It is the single most important publication on New Zealand molluscs and a lasting monument to Suter’s knowledge, patience and perseverance. It not only projected the study of molluscs in New Zealand to the highest international level but also had an enormous influence on Australasian molluscan taxonomy for at least 40 years.” Hyde’s charming appreciation includes more than 90 images of beautifully detailed mollusca.

3 La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman (David Fickling Books, $35)

4 Nikau Café Cookbook by Kelda Hains & Paul Schrader (Nikau Café, $60)


5 Floating Islanders: Pasifika Theatre in Aotearoa by Lisa Warrington & David O’Donnell (Otago University Press, $40)

History of modern Pasifika theatre.

6 Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry (Michael Joseph, $37)

7 Journal of Urgent Writing Volume 2 edited by Simon Wilson (Massey University Press, $40)

A collection of essays commissioned and put together by The Spinoff’s Auckland section editor. Includes the Kawerau epic by Morgan Godfrey and Wilson’s own call for a new kind of politics.

8 Oathbringer: Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson (Gollancz, $38)

Epic fantasy novel, the third in a trilogy.

9 Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Little Brown, $38)

We commissioned a review from Guy Somerset, but when we ran into him at LitCrawl, and inquired as to how that review was progressing, he said he hated the book, and changed the subject.

10 Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury, $33)

Last week, Amazon Prime premiered the TV adaptation of Saunders’s story, Sea Oakhere’s the trailer.

The Spinoff Review of Books is brought to you by Unity Books.

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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