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Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

BooksApril 7, 2023

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending April 7

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

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 Did I Ever Tell You This? by Sam Neill (Text Publishing, $55)

This extract from The Guardian offers a glowing response to vintner, everyman and actor Sam Neill’s memoir:

“In Did I Ever Tell You This? Neill shares quite a bit more of himself. Indeed he has laid himself quite bare and, like most actors awaiting the reviews, he wants to know how he did. As memoirs go, it is very funny and extremely entertaining, but with a judicious touch of poignancy. No self-pity here. He is an enormously good raconteur and also deliciously indiscreet in some of his tale-telling (co-stars behaving badly, take note). But still, he is careful with his private life. Details of past relationships are either omitted, as in the case of his most recent relationship with the Canberra press gallery journalist Laura Tingle, or referred to fleetingly as with his marriages to actor Lisa Harrow and to film makeup artist Noriko Watanabe. His four children and eight grandchildren appear as careful references to his life’s joy and great love.”

2 Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Victoria University Press, $38)

The dystopian eco-thriller from one of our most celebrated writers hasn’t strayed from the bestseller charts yet. Read books editor Claire Mabey’s fulsome review of the page-turner right here.

3 Small Things Like These by Clare Keegan (Faber & Faber, $25)

The small and perfectly formed Christmas story to break and remake your heart may just be the ideal Easter read.

4 Shards by Bret Easton Ellis (Allen & Unwin, $37)

“Bret is a 17-year-old, semi-closeted bisexual LA kid bonded to his friend group at the prestigious Buckley school. There is beautiful, numb, effortless A-student Susan and her popular jock boyfriend Thom; Matt and Ryan, both of whom Bret has had sexual relationships with; and Bret’s girlfriend Debbie. An attractive and mysterious new boy, Robert Mallory, arrives at the school just as a serial killer nicknamed the Trawler is committing satanically gruesome murders citywide. Prone to an overactive writerly imagination – he has begun writing his 1985 debut, Less Than Zero – and often high on Valium, quaaludes, weed or cocaine, Bret begins to wonder if Robert is as innocent as he seems.” Read more in this review on The Guardian.

5 The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka (Sort of Books, $37)

This year’s Booker Prize winner will be appearing in a couple of Auckland Writers Festival this year. Got your tickets yet? Here’s a handy link.

6 Atomic Habits by James Clear (Random House, $40)

A guide to doing small things to change big, bad old habits.

7 Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Transworld, $26)

This review on NZ Booklovers should sell it to you: “The dialogue crackles; the wit is whip-smart and plentiful throughout. Lessons in Chemistry is the kind of book you want to press into people’s hands and urge them to drop everything to read. I hoovered it up. Take a bow, Bonnie Garmus. This is a heck of a debut novel, as powerful and life-affirming as its main character; so vivid in my mind she feels real.”

8 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Chatto & Windus, $37)

The gift that keeps on giving. Zevin will also be at Auckland Writers Festival.

9 Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber, $37)

A giant of literature appears to have done it again with glowing reviews worldwide. Here’s a snippet from the New York Times: “Barry writes about this with compassion and quiet rage. He has a high style, though one tethered to the demotic and homely (as befits a protagonist called Kettle). There are lovely sentences (“He slept in a peopled menagerie of many things”), and the novel, for all its grimness, can be very funny.”

10 Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K. Reilly (Te Herenga Waka, $35)

Everyone’s fave Auckland siblings have set up camp right here in this very list and we’re applauding their long stay.

WELLINGTON

1 Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Te Herenga Waka University Press, hardback $50, paperback $38)

2 Did I Ever Tell You This? by Sam Neill (Text, $55)

3 The Earth Transformed: An Untold History by Peter Frankopan (Bloomsbury, $45)

The history of human relationships with natural disasters, including how we create them. Timely.

4 Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry (Faber, $37)

5 Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Transworld, $26)

6 The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka (Sort of Books, $37)

7 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Chatto & Windus, $37)

8  The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin (Canongate, $60)

Rather enjoy this snippet from this review: “To a cynical reader, The Creative Act might feel like a series of self-actualising niceties. Until, that is, these are just the prompts you need to hear, when you need to hear them. I’ve underlined rather a lot.”

9 Sweet Enough: A Baking Book by Alison Roman (Hardie Grant, $65)

Perfect timing for a holiday weekend ideally full of sweet things.

10 The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens our Businesses, Infantilizes our Governments and Warps our Economies by Mariana Mazzucato & Rosie Collington (Allen Lane, $40)

Mariana Mazzucato and Rosie Collington are rockstar economists and this book is sure to ruffle some feathers. This from the publisher’s blurb: “In The Big Con, Mazzucato and Collington throw back the curtain on the consulting industry. They dive deep into important case studies of consultants taking the reins with disastrous results, such as the debacle of the roll out of HealthCare.gov and the tragic failures of governments to respond adequately to the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is an important and exhilarating intellectual journey into the modern economy’s beating heart. With peerless scholarship, and a wealth of original research, Mazzucato and Collington argue brilliantly for building a new system in which public and private sectors work innovatively for the common good.”

Keep going!