(Photo: Tomazl/Getty)
(Photo: Tomazl/Getty)

BooksJune 5, 2020

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending 5 June

(Photo: Tomazl/Getty)
(Photo: Tomazl/Getty)

The only published and available best-selling indie book chart in New Zealand is the top 10 sales list recorded every week at Unity Books’ stores in High St, Auckland, and Willis St, Wellington.


1  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Penguin Classics, $24)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. The other day, Evaristo tweeted: “while we’re pointing the finger at American racism, I urge everyone to read FORCED OUT by @kevin_maxwell (May 2020). He’s black, gay, and a former police detective who gives us the lowdown on discrimination, persecution and dishonesty in our own cuddly British police force.”

2  Auē by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press, $35)

Winner of the 2019 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction.

3  Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (Harper Collins, $25)

“I had all this stuff I jammed down in the bottom of my stomach for, I swear, about 20 years. And then I thought nah, I’ve gotta get rid of it. And I just put it all in that book.” – the author, to RNZ.

4  Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador, $20)

Please read this review by Sam Brooks.

5  Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive by Phillipe Sands (Hachette, $38)

A book that pieces together the life of Otto von Wächter, with the help of his youngest son, Horst.

Kim Hill on RNZ: “Did you ever shake Horst’s conviction of his father’s innocence, do you think?”

Phillipe Sands: “He accepts that his father was involved in some of the most terrible acts of killing. What he does not accept is that his father was a criminal. He’s somehow created this space for himself which is largely premised on the fact that his dad was never caught, never tried, never convicted, and he will look me in the eye and say, “It follows, on the logic of you, the common lawyer, that he is an innocent man.” And of course in a formal sense he’s correct, but he was a Nazi at the top table, and I have got no doubt that if he had been caught he would have been tried, he would have been convicted, and he would have been sentenced to death. And I think deep down … Horst knows it also.”

6  The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate, $50)

“For the final four years of his life he is haunted by the ghosts of those he’s murdered: the men he framed in the Boleyn plot jostle him on the street; Sir Thomas More lurks in the shadows of his home. When he closes his eyes he sees the deadly little queen striding towards him down a hallway of glass splinters.” – Danyl Mclauchlan in his review.

7  Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press, UK, $60)

The Guardian has a selection of recipes from the book that we want to cook immediately: hummus with kofta and with aubergine, red or green shatta (pickled chillies) and a dish of baby gem lettuce with burnt aubergine yoghurt, smacked (!) cucumber and shatta.

8  Going Dark by Julia Ebner (Bloomsbury, $33)

Subtitle: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists. At the tippy-top of our to-read pile.

9  Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $23)

Sally Rooney Sally Rooney Sally Rooney.

10 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate, $25)

It’s reassuring to know that the entire world has not already read this. (We, erm, still haven’t.)


1  Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press, $35)

2  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Penguin, $24)

3  Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury, $25)

How good is this week’s top three, Wellington?!

4  The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate, $50)

5  Jacinda Ardern: A New Kind of Leader by Madeleine Chapman (Black Inc, $40)

Would you like to know whether our prime minister was cool in high school? Do we have the extract for you.

6  Not in Narrow Seas: The Economic History of Aotearoa New Zealand by Brian Easton (Victoria University Press, $60)

“Economists are renowned – sometimes fairly, sometimes not – for acting as if they believe that economics is some sort of universal discipline without which almost everything and everyone is poorer.  But one rarely sees it quite so breathtakingly expressed as on page 75 of the book, discussing 19th century New Zealand, when Easton observes ‘Perhaps most of the settlers did not have well-formed opinions –  economics was then a new discipline, even among the well-educated.'” – a review by Michael Reddell, which he says is not a “full” review but more a collection of scattered points. A review, then.

7  The Dickens Boy by Thomas Keneally (Vintage, $37)

A novel about Charles Dickens’ youngest son who was called, unforgivably, “Plorn” due to the nickname bestowed upon him by his father. Plornishmaroontigoonter. The nickname was Plornishmaroontigoonter.

8  Recollections of My Non-Existence: A Memoir by Rebecca Solnit (Granta, $40)

“It was her 2008 piece Men Explain Things to Me that catapulted her into the mainstream, gave rise to the term ‘mansplaining’ (which entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014, though the neologism was not hers), made her an idol to a generation of young women and turned her into one of the US’s leading cultural and political commentators.” – the Guardian

9  The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox (Victoria University Press, $35)

“Previously she spent her writing hours surrounded by her three cats, who lived to the incredible age of 19, but they had since died, and her plan to adopt a “lockdown kitten” was thwarted by a lack of kittens to adopt.” – Stuff, in a story about Knox’s new Queen’s Birthday Honours: she’s now a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Please would someone find her a kitten.

10 Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (Fourth Estate, $25)

Keep going!