Two older people, a man and a woman, hugging in a bookstore
Moana Jackson at Unity Wellington's celebration for the book Imagining Decolonisation (Photo: Unity Wellington via Facebook)

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending 6 August

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.

AUCKLAND

1  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate, $33)

The bestselling novel about a library where each book is an alternative version of your life.

2  Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, $23)

Tarantino has novelised his own movie in his fiction debut. Variety had this to say: “In the golden age of 60s and 70s movie novelisations, film fans flocked to these cheap paperbacks, usually written by B-grade writers who’d been granted access to a screenplay draft but not the finished film, in the hope that they’d contain some interesting deleted scenes … If there’s an overriding gag here, it’s that ‘Once Upon a Time’ is a book of mostly deleted scenes.”

3  Aroha: Māori Wisdom for a Contented Life Lived in Harmony with our Planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

Love is all around, and it’s not going away anytime soon – partly thanks to Oprah.  

4  How Do You Live? by Yoshino Genzaburo (Rider, $37)

A Japanese children’s novel from 1937, and a guide to living a fulfilling life. Once banned in Japan for its humanism and anti-authoritarian ideas, it’s now available in English. 

Plus! It’s next in line for film greatness with Studio Ghibli. 

5  He Kupu Taurangi: Treaty Settlements and the Future of Aotearoa New Zealand by Christopher Finlayson and James Christmas (Huia, $60)

“Treaty settlements are no panacea. They can address but not cure the past and there is a wide range of views among Māori about their adequacy. Yet no other country has attempted a national reconciliation project quite like New Zealand’s.” 

Review forthcoming.

6  Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber, $37)

Another impressive novel by the impressive Ishiguro, this time about an impressive robot.  

7  At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop (Pushkin Press, $23)

Winner of this year’s International Booker prize, and recipient of these words of praise from the New York Times: “a spare yet extraordinary novel about this bloody stain [World War One] on human history.” 

8  The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin, $24)  

A crime novel that Marian Keyes calls “VERY funny” and Ian Rankin calls “deplorably good.” 

9  Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

We aren’t fortune tellers, but we’re confident in one thing: Imagining Decolonisation won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

10  Letters to Camondo by Edmund de Waal (Chatto & Windus, $37)

Like de Waal’s bestselling family memoir The Hare with the Amber Eyes, Letters to Camondo tells the story of a Jewish family, using objects and in this case fictionalised letters. There are two whole Guardian reviews of de Waal’s new book, both with their thumbs up: “a wonderful tribute to a family and to an idea” says one, and “an exquisite and profound coda to The Hare With Amber Eyes”, the other. 

WELLINGTON

1  Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

2  Aroha: Māori Wisdom for a Contented Life Lived in Harmony with our Planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

3  The Practice of Not Thinking: A Guide to Mindful Living by Ryunosuke Koike (Penguin, $26)

Zen priest Ryunosuke Koike’s guide to mindfulness and connection. From the publisher’s blurb: “Koike’s theory tells us that our energy is predominantly being used to think negative and unnecessary thoughts, causing us to lose our ability to make decisions and our five senses to lose their strength. Ranging from complacency in your relationship, over-commitment at work to searching for approval from others, The Practice of Not Thinking will teach you how to re-train your brain and eliminate these challenging habits, leading to a quieter and more peaceful life.”

4  Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber, $37)

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

These three women (and their sexual lives) have made a comeback since Lisa Taddeo’s debut novel, Animal, was released a few weeks ago.

6  The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue Books, $25)

People ask Google, “What is The Vanishing Half summary?”

Google replies, “The Vanishing Half follows the lives of two twin girls, both light-skinned Black girls, who run away from home at the age of 16. Desiree marries a dark-skinned Black man and has a child, while Stella lives her life passing as white.”

Neat and to the point. Missing: everyone seems to love it. 

7  Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins, $35)

Being compared to Fleabag is the new gold star, and Spinoff favourite Sorrow and Bliss has been rewarded with a whole queue of Fleabag-esque praise:

Bookseller + Publisher says “as devastating and sharply witty as Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag.”

Author Clare Chambers says “Patrick Melrose meets Fleabag.”

The Saturday Paper says “Martha has a Fleabag-ian wit and obsessive self-reflection, the humour sitting alongside the despair.”

8  He Kupu Taurangi: Treaty Settlements and the Future of Aotearoa New Zealand by Christopher Finlayson and James Christmas (Huia, $60)

9  Uprising: Walking the Southern Alps in New Zealand by Nic Low (Text Publishing, $40)

From RNZ: “Armed with Ngāi Tahu’s traditional oral maps and digital atlas, Nic made 15 journeys into the Southern Alps – on foot, ski and by waka – to unlock the stories and histories of his ancestors in the high country and mountains.”

The author is wildly busy right now pulling together Christchurch’s WORD festival – he’s programme co-director (with Rachael King) and counting down to opening day on 25 August.

10  The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (Little, Brown, $25)

This year’s Pulitzer Winner! Set in an impoverished reservation in North Dakota, the story follows a night watchman (obvs), a young boxer, and a woman struggling to support her family, at a time of Native dispossession. 




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