A panel from The Inkberg Enigma, entering the charts at number one in Wellington, by Jonathan King (Image: Jonathan King)

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending August 7

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 Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump (Simon & Schuster, $38)

“Donald loved comeback stories, and he understood that the deeper the hole you crawled out of, the better billing your triumphant comeback would get.”

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

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, with Margaret Atwood for The Testaments.

3  Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman (Bloomsbury, $34)

“Humankind is a polemic in the high Gladwellian style and so aims to be a simple lesson overturning our allegedly preconceived ideas, with the help of carefully selected study citations and pseudo-novelistic scenes from the blitz and other teachable stories.” – the Guardian

4  Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell (Hodder & Stoughton, $38)

“As an old rocker, I have to say I fucking loved David Mitchell’s new novel, UTOPIA AVENUE, about the flowering of British rock and roll in the mid- to late-60s. It’s a hit on my Billboard list.” – Stephen King, on Twitter

5  How Do We Know We’re Doing it Right? Essays on Modern Life by Pandora Sykes (Penguin Random House, $40)

Essays. “Sykes has a large Instagram following — over 300,000 — and in The Authentic Lie she wrestles with the blurring of our public and private selves online, examining the trend for “sad fishing” — when people use personal problems or natural disasters to “hook in the likes” — and how the new rush for authenticity has had odd side effects, like the fashion brand Missguided being accused of photoshopping stretch marks onto models.” – Evening Standard

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

Really, Auckland? I thought we were past this.

7  Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (Vintage, $30)

“As far as we can tell from a purely scientific viewpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning. Humans are the outcome of blind evolutionary processes that operate without goal or purpose. Our actions are not part of some divine cosmic plan, and if planet earth were to blow up tomorrow morning, the universe would probably keep going about its business as usual.”

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

A novel about sweet kids and curdled adults. Winner of this country’s biggest prize for fiction.

9  The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Hachette Aus, $25)

A novel about two boys and a real Florida borstal; won Whitehead his second Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

10 How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (Bodley Head, UK, $40)

“Kendi’s argument is brilliantly simple. An idea, action or policy is either racist – that is, contributing to a history that regards and treats different races as inherently unequal – or it is antiracist, because it is trying to dismantle that history. There is nothing in between. There is no pure state of racism or anti-racism: people of all races and backgrounds can fall into either category depending on their ideas, actions or the policies they support.” – the Guardian


1  The Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King (Gecko Press, $30)

A terrific new graphic novel featuring loads of books, a massive something from the bottom of the sea, and a boy detective. Review incoming. (One panel is pictured above.)

2  Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump (Simon & Schuster, $38)

3  Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell (Hodder & Stoughton, $38)

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

Fifteen bucks. That’s like three coffees or 40 minutes’ parking in town.

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

6  Sprigs by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson, $35)

“A major work from one of the nation’s leading writers who is, as he says in the acknowledgements, “a survivor / victim of sexual violence … mining my own trauma”.” – Uther Dean, reviewing for us.

7  Walking Home by Michele Amas (Victoria University Press, $25)

“I just want you to read this book. This multi-toned glorious book with every note pitch perfect, with roving subject matter and delving points of view. I have thunder and storm outside as I read, and a threatened national border, toxic political point scoring, and I am reading poems that fill me with joy and melancholy, and then more joy. Mostly joy. Transcendental. Transporting.” – Paula Green, in a review over at Poetry Shelf that you must read immediately.

8  The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Black Swan, $26)

“Every day, it has been estimated, between one and five of your cells turn cancerous, and your immune system captures and kills them.”

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

10 The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle (Allen & Unwin, $33)

Fast, clever, sexy, and an ending that’ll leap out of still water and snatch the breath from you.

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