Three new Aotearoa books make the charts.
Three new Aotearoa books make the charts.

BooksJuly 5, 2024

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending July 5

Three new Aotearoa books make the charts.
Three new Aotearoa books make the charts.

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.

First, a quick PSA: Unity Books has a flash new website that lets you search and purchase from both Unity Books Auckland and Wellington – and the search function is impeccable!


1 Don’t Worry About the Robots by David Glover and Jo Cribb (One Tree, $50)

Unsettled by those Meta AI thingies that are now popping up in all your apps? This book is designed to help sooth the anxieties by offering practical advice on adapting to the brave new world. Here’s the blurb:

“Learn how to disrupt yourself in a positive way, using key principles that will give you the best chance to survive and, even better, to thrive in the new world of work.

In this timely book, former CEOs Dr Jo Cribb and David Glover share their insights and the diverse experiences of successful business leaders who are all actively thinking about the future of work.

Written for anyone whose job leaves them unchallenged and unfulfilled and thinking about career changes, or those of us worried about job security and our future employment prospects, as well as those starting work for the first time, this book provides inspiration, support and practical tools to change your working life.”

2 The Heart in Winter by Kevin Barry (Canongate, $37)

One of the great writers of our time has a new novel out and it is stunning. Here’s a segment from a fizzing review on The Guardian: “Barry has written us a love story that never seems false or cheap, and an adventure where the violence is never gloating or desensitised. It’s a wedding of Cormac McCarthy with Flann O’Brien; a western but also the most Irish of novels; a tragedy written as farce. You might object that the plot isn’t perfect: Barry has one too many villains driven by odd sexual kinks, and the climax rushes by too precipitously. Still, I doubt these flaws will matter much to any reader’s admiration of this book. It’s made to attract superlatives, while inspiring joy with every incident, every concept, every sentence.”

3 Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors (Fourth Estate, $25)

Highly quaffable fiction from the BookTok sensation.

4 Blue Sisters by Coco Mellors (Fourth Estate, $38)

More of the above.

5 Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck (Granta, $28)

There’s a very useful reading guide to this International Booker Prize winning novel on the Booker website.

6 Table for Two by Amor Towles (Random House, $38)

“A sneakily entertaining assortment of tales.” Read more at Kirkus Reviews.

7 Butter by Asako Yuzuki (Fourth Estate, $35)

An intrigue grounded in the social and political complexities of food, bodies, appetite and eating. Here’s a snippet of the Guardian review: “The relationship that ensues is as intimate as it is unconventional, with Rika finding herself increasingly fascinated by Kajii’s gourmet tastes. “There are two things that I simply cannot tolerate,” Kajii tells Rika during their first encounter, “feminists and margarine.” The mixture of insolence and indulgence underlying this worldview triggers something in Rika, prompting her to reflect on the contradictions of the female grind: “Japanese women are required to be self-denying, hard-working and ascetic, and in the same breath to be feminine, soft and caring towards men.”

8 Parade by Rachel Cusk (Faber & Faber, $37)

Cuskies had high expectations of this one. And for many fans it delivers: “Cusk’s prose is diamond-sharp, as are her insights. Short and intense, crammed with desperately human characters and much food for thought.” Read more on Kirkus Reviews

9 The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai (Mantle, $25)

For fans of Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

10 The Gentleman from Peru by Andre Aciman (Faber & Faber, $30)

Gorgeous new novel from the author of Call Me By Your Name.


1 The Raven’s Eye Runaways by Claire Mabey (Allen & Unwin, $25)

The Spinoff’s books editor has written a book! And The Spinoff’s Hera Lindsay Bird has this to say about it: “Raven’s Eye Runaways is a spellbinding debut that will enchant readers of all ages. Her characters feel as authentic and lived in as sturdy walking boots, and the relationships between them wisely observed. She has a magpie’s eye for detail, and emotional nuance, rendered in spare, jewel like prose. A beautiful, warm and assured debut about the magic of friendship, and the power of a good book. Perfect for fans of Kate DiCamillo and Anna James.” You can read a backstory to the book over at the Sunday Essay section on The Spinoff. 

2 All Fours by Miranda July (Canongate, $37)

A right ride through middle age by a polymath of our age.

3 The Fight for Freshwater: A Memoir by Mike Joy (Bridget Williams Books, $40)

The indefatigable Mike Joy’s story of fighting the good fight is incredibly timely. Here’s the blurb:

“In this memoir, [Joy] offers  a rare first-hand look at the life of a scientist whose research led him to activism. Vividly describing the environmental damage he has witnessed in New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and streams, he writes also about the political challenges he has met along the way.

At a perilous time for our universities, his story is an inspirational account of staying true to academia’s function as ‘critic and conscience’ of society. This is also the story of personal discovery, determination and resilience. Mike was by turns a truck driver, mechanic, milkman, agent with the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, and farm hand – in the industry he would later critique in his academic activism. The Fight for Freshwater is an engaging account of a remarkable life – and vital reading for all concerned for the future of our environment.”

Anyone who’s ever had to write on a whiteboard knows that those things are designed to destroy handwriting. But Eden from Unity Books Wellington has the Skillz.

4 Long Island by Colm Tóibín (Picador, $38)

The spare, haunting prose of this sequel to Brooklyn is polarising readers but we recommend deciding for yourself.

5 Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley (Sceptre, $38)

Good Readers are sold on this genre-mash up: “‘I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was utterly unique mixing a wide range of genres. Normally I don’t enjoy books where the author can’t make up their mind what category their book falls into but Kaliane Bradley makes it work. The way she mixed time travel, romance and a spy story was so intelligent and extraordinary that I just got lost in the words and the world-building. I also enjoyed how she researched and mixed a real-life character with fictional ones.”

6 You Are Here by David Nicholls (Sceptre, $38)

Fresh romance from a king of the genre. See also: One Day.

7 Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck (Granta, $32)

8 Lioness by Emily Perkins (Bloomsbury, $25)

One of the great Aotearoa novels of the year and winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the Ockhams. Little known author Marian “huge fan” Keyes can’t stop recommending it so what are you waiting for really.

9 Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $28)

The rip-roaring, murdery tale of a billionaire versus a gardening collective/the environment we all love to love but some people like to sell off for parts: welcome back to the bestsellers! Read Claire Mabey’s review on The Spinoff, here

10 Blue Sisters by Coco Mellors (4th Estate, $38)

Keep going!