(Photo: ACIDmit via Getty)
(Photo: ACIDmit via Getty)

BooksMay 7, 2021

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending May 7

(Photo: ACIDmit via Getty)
(Photo: ACIDmit via 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.

AUCKLAND

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

For last-minute Mothers Day shoppers, we have two pieces of advice: 

– Klara and the Sun would make a great gift

– But check the nightstand first, because she likely already has a copy.

2  The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage, $38)

“Why write this account now? I’ve thought about it, and my answer is that it must be more honourable to give my genuine opinion of the facts at a time when those who want to dispute it can do so.”

3  First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami (Penguin Random House, $45)

The Guardian says these short stories are “not very good”, the New York Times says “brilliant”. We say, nothing will stop a new Murakami from leaping off the shelves, so why not judge for yourself?  

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

Winner winner chicken dinner. 

To go totally off-topic, this poultry saying supposedly originated because at a Las Vegas casino, a chicken dinner was $2, the same as a standard winning bet – so if you won, you could buy a chicken dinner. 

5  Shuggie Bain by Stuart Douglas (Pan Macmillan, $38)

Feeling tough, emotionally stable, resilient? Alright, go ahead – pick up Shuggie Bain. 

A reviewer from the Mancunion says: “Shuggie Bain was a hard book to read. It was draining and exhausting and heartbreaking. I had to take breaks to stop myself feeling overwhelmed by its searing depictions of poverty, addiction and abuse.”

Consider yourself warned.

6  Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press, $25)

“The boy opens his mouth. He calls the names, one by one, of all the people who live here, in this house. His grandmother. The maid. His uncles. His aunt. The apprentice. His grandfather. The boy tries them all, one after another. For a moment, it crosses his mind to call his father’s name, to shout for him, but his father is miles and hours and days away, in London, where the boy has never been.”

FYI, “his father” is Shakespeare. 

7  Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe (Picador, $40)

From the publisher’s enticing blurb: “The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions – Harvard; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Oxford; the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations in the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis – an international epidemic of drug addiction which has killed nearly half a million people.” 

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

According to these sales (see also: #1 in Wellington), aroha is all around. 

9  Between Five Eyes: 50 Years of Intelligence Sharing by Anthony R. Wells (Big Sky Publishing, $35)

For those not thigh-deep in international politics, the Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance between the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and – oh look! – New Zealand. Wells’s new book traverses 50 years of their history and institutions, with insights from the author’s private collection of papers, notes and diaries. 

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

Imagining a world where Imagining Decolonisation isn’t a bestseller? Well, never fear – it will probably never happen. 

WELLINGTON

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

2  Sharing the Mic: Community Access Radio in Aotearoa New Zealand by Brian Pauling & Bronwyn Beatty (Freerange Press, $40)

“From Invercargill to Auckland, community access radio has been broadcasting by, for and about New Zealanders across four decades. Within a rapidly shifting mediascape, the 12 current stations came into existence through a combination of passion, hard work, community engagement and enabling legislation, allowing the diversity of local communities to speak to themselves through the borderless realm of radio” – from the publisher’s blurb.  

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

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

5  The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage, $38)

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

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

People on Google ask: Is The Midnight Library going to be a movie? What happens in The Midnight Library? How long does it take to read The Midnight Library?

Yes, spoilers, and (apparently) four hours and 34 minutes. 

8  Māori Philosophy: Indigenous Thinking From Aotearoa by Georgina Stewart (Bloomsbury, $39)

Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Professor of Maori and Indigenous Studies at Waikato University, calls Stewart’s book “significant, groundbreaking and fascinating”.

9  Navigating the Stars: Māori Creation Myths by Witi Ihimaera (Vintage, $45)

Māori myths retold by our very own literary legend, Witi Ihimaera. 

10  Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe (Picador, $40)

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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