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BooksFebruary 8, 2019

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending February 8


The only published and available best-selling book chart in New Zealand is the top 10 best-seller list recorded every week at at Unity Books’ stores in High St, Auckland, and Willis St, Wellington.


1 Samoan Queer Lives by Dan Tualapapa McMullin and Yuki Kihara (Little Island Press, $35)

Edited and written by fa`afafine, who share their stories in their own words.

2 Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $33)

“There hasn’t been a literary novel that has had such an impact on conversation beyond the usual huddles of luvvies since perhaps Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, or, before that, Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, or even before that, Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. So why has it become the novel of the moment – and, arguably, the decade? Normal People is a quiet, literary novel – but it is a zeitgeist novel too (despite being set five years ago). It’s hard not to emerge from Rooney’s book about two young people navigating adulthood in post-crash Ireland and sense that, somehow, the author has spotted something intangible about our time and exposed it. Like other zeitgeist novels, from Gone With the Wind, when mass-fiction began booming in the 1930s, to Franzen’s post 9/11 tome Freedom, Normal People has trapped a moment – in this case, our new sense of collective precariousness – whether individual, economic or political. It is the first novel I have read that has convincingly captured what it is to be young today: often overeducated, neurotic, slightly too self-aware”: Sian Cain, Guardian.

3 The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson (Macmillan, $35)

Too few people have made reference to Manson’s mention of the great, greatly loathed US writer Charles Bukowski. Manson writes, “The real story of Bukowski’s success was his comfort with himself as a failure. Bukowski didn’t give a fuck about success.” Zen and the art of not giving a fuck via an instructive homily about the dirty old man of American letters! We should talk about this.

4 Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $23)

The book she wrote before Normal People.

5 Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House, $55)

“It doesn’t matter what circumstances you were born into or how much money you had or what colour your skin is. If you are committed to doing what it takes, anything is possible”, and other homilies.

6 Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, $65)


7 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape, $35)

Literary fiction.

8 Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Little, Brown, $35)

Popular novel.

9 The Lost Man by Jane Harper (MacMillan, $38)

Crime fiction.

10 A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Windmill Books, $26)

Popular novel.



1 Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)

2 Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber, $23)

3 Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, $60)

4 The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion (Text, $37)

The final instalment of the internationally bestselling series that began with The Rosie Project.

5 Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber, $33)

Winner of the 2018 Man Booker prize for fiction.

6 The Wall by John Lanchester (Faber, $33)

“The scene is Britain, the time the not-too-distant future. The air hangs heavy with metaphor. Ever since a climatic event known as the Change, life has, well, changed. Movement between countries is outlawed. There isn’t a single beach left anywhere in the world. Britain’s coastline has been obliterated by a National Coastal Defence Structure, known to everyone who serves on it as the Wall…This is the dystopia that Lanchester has created in his fifth novel, an environmental fable that manages to be both disquieting and quite good fun at the same time. It’s a calculated extrapolation of our present anxieties about rising sea levels and anti-refugee populism…Lanchester reveals with slow, steady control the cruelties of his strange new world and then socks you with their philosophical implications”:  Guardian.

7 Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (Vintage, $30)

Harari, thinking.

8 Becoming by Michelle Obama (Viking, $55)

9 Book of Knowing: Know How You Think, Change How You Feel by Gwendoline Smith (Allen & Unwin, $25)

Says the good doctor, “Having problems with your teenagers, or even managing your own emotions? My latest book offers solutions, strategies and techniques for managing your emotional world. Taken from the school of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, this little handbook provides you with almost everything you need.”

10 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (Jonathan Cape, $38)

Harari, still thinking.

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