Xmas is around the corner! By all means choose something from the latest Unity Books best-seller chart at their stores in Auckland and Wellington.
1 Swing Time (Hamish Hamilton, $37) by Zadie Smith
“A keen, controlled novel about dance and blackness steps onto a stage of cultural land mines…Moving, funny, and grave, this novel parses race and global politics with Fred Astaire’s or Michael Jackson’s grace”: somewhat over the top praise from Kirkus.
2 My Father’s Island: A Memoir (Victoria University Press, $35) by Adam Dudding
“Much of the book is an inquiry into folly and failure. But the last thing anyone would say about My Father’s Island is that it’s a dark book. It’s possibly even a feel-good book. To be precise it’s an intimate and affectionate portrait of family life, sometimes moving, and very funny”: the revolutionary live email interview with the author, at the Spinoff.
3 The Wish Child (Victoria University Press, $30) by Catherine Chidgey
The former queen of NZ Lit returns with a possibly profound novel set in Germany during the war. “The narrator sees into the hearts and minds of characters, and regularly speaks over their shoulders to us in mysterious and poetic terms….No one laughs”: Jane Westaway, at the Spinoff.
Funny which Man Booker-shortlisted novels remain on the Unity sales chart; His Bloody Project came and went real quick; Levy’s novel (a mother and daughter arrive in a small Spanish fishing village) has stayed the distance, so it must be pretty good.
5 Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany (Allen Lane, $55) by Norman Ohler
Charlotte Grimshaw has been assigned this most interesting title for review, and we look forward to her assessment.
6 The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 (Bridget Williams Books) by Vincent O’Malley
Named this week as one of the best books of 2017 at the Spinoff.
7 Dark Flood Rises (Text, $37) by Margaret Drabble
“With their echoes of Simone de Beauvoir and Samuel Beckett, this quiet meditation on old age seethes with apocalyptic intent”: The Guardian.
8 Commonwealth (Bloomsbury, $33) by Ann Patchett
“The children of two families are united by divorce in a compelling tale”: Financial Times.
9 The Sellout (Oneworld, $28) by Paul Beatty
“Very bloody funny”: Spinoff reviewer Charlotte Graham on the winner of the 2016 Man Booker prize.
Memoir by the star of Breaking Bad.
1 The Sellout (Oneworld, $28) by Paul Beatty
2 Wish Child (Victoria University Press, $30) by Catherine Chidgey
3 Havana Coffee Works (Phantom House, $50) by Geoff Marsland & Tom Scott
“Would you like a biscotti with that espresso?”, etc.
4 Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press, $25) by Hera Lindsay Bird
Winner of the best new author award announced at the 2016 Spinoff Review of Books literary awards ceremony this week.
6 NZ’s Rivers: An Environmental History (Canterbury University Press, $50) by Catherine Knight
An environmental history of NZ’s rivers.
7 Portholes to the Past (Steele Roberts, $25) by Lloyd Geering
The dude is 98! And he still has all his marbles; he’s a national treasure, one of the greatest living New Zealand thinkers, a holy unbeliever. “It may not be too much to hope,” he writes in his new memoir, “that from the fragments of dismantled Christendom we may rediscover and reinvigorate the moral values of justice, truth and environmental guardianship.” Right on, brother!
8 Constitution for Aotearoa NZ (Victoria University Press, $25) by Geoffrey Palmer & Andrew Butler
A perfect Xmas present.
9 Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta, $33) by Madeleine Thien
“History is deftly woven into a moving story of the musicians who suffered during and after the Cultural Revolution in China”: The Guardian.
10 Fight Like a Girl (Allen & Unwin, $33) by Clementine Ford
Publisher’s blurbology: “Fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration…Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be….It’s a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.”
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.