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BooksDecember 8, 2017

Unity Books best-seller chart: week ending December 8

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The best-selling books at the two best bookstores between the devil and the deep blue sea.


1 La Belle Sauvage: Book of Dust Trilogy by Philip Pullman (David Fickling Books, $35)

Next week the Spinoff Review of Books presents its list of the best books of 2017 and you can bet your ass Pullman’s new masterpiece is gonna be on it.

2 Drawn Out: A Seriously Funny Memoir by Tom Scott (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Ian Cross was the Listener editor who appointed Tom Scott as political diarist in 1973; in his book The Unlikely Bureaucrat, Cross writes, “My infatuation with Tom Scott – that was how an aggrieved sub-editor described it – was based on a realisation that he was just what the Listener needed to help dispel the predictable and pedestrian attitudes of mind that shadowed its page.” Scott takes up the story in his popular memoir.

3 Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury, $33)

Saunders wrote about the Trump campaign for the New Yorker last year. He concluded,I’ve never before imagined America as fragile, as an experiment that could, within my very lifetime, fail.”

4 Nikau Café Cookbook by Kelda Hains & Paul Schrader (Nikau Café, $60)


5 Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard (Profile Books, $23)

“In tracing the roots of misogyny to Athens and Rome, Mary Beard has produced a modern feminist classic”: The Guardian.

6 River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks (Picador, $38)

“Sacks’s posthumous essays make for a marvellous series of meditations on his scientific heroes, from Freud to Darwin”: The Guardian.

7 The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young (Faber, $23)

The secret life of cows.

8 Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Little Brown, $38)

We have received a most interesting review by Guy Somerset, and look forward to publishing it. Spoiler alert: he hated it.

9 Fucking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin (Icon Books, $19)

Fucken A.

10 Days Without End by Sebastian Barry ((Faber, $25)

Historical fiction. “A violent, superbly lyrical western offering a sweeping vision of America in the making [and] the most fascinating line-by-line first person narration I’ve come across in years”: Kazuo Ishiguro.



1 Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry (Michael Joseph, $37)


2 Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Canongate, $23)

This is that book written in a single motherfucking sentence – sort of. “It’s not that the novel is formally a single sentence,” writes Adam Mars-Jones in the latest London Review of Books, “but that there is never a point of rest in its lucid unfolding.”

3 Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Little Brown, $38)

4 Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury, $33)

5 Tinkering: The Complete Book of John Clarke by John Clarke (Text, $40)

Genius, bound.

6 Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, $60)


7 Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Words by Anne Salmond (Auckland University Press, $65)

“It turns our tipuna into cardboard caricatures”: Buddy Mikaere, Spinoff Review of Books. Anne Salmond’s response: “It’s puzzling that such a claim can be made.”

8 Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop (Penguin, $40)

Charmingly told and illustrated children’s book; you can’t go wrong with this as a Xmas present.

9 La Belle Sauvage: Book of Dust by Philip Pullman (David Fickling Books, $35)

10 The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992 by Tina Brown (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $38)

Diary entry, March 1, 1988: “Vanity Fair’s fifth anniversary party! Maybe the best party in Manhattan since Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball.”

The Spinoff Review of Books is brought to you by Unity Books.

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