Seven people photographed together in a bookstore, happy
(Photo: Supplied)

BooksApril 9, 2021

The Unity Books bestseller list for the week ending April 9

Seven people photographed together in a bookstore, happy
(Photo: Supplied)

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

Excerpt from Emma Espiner’s fantastic Spinoff review of this fantastic new memoir:

The line “telling your story is existentially important” rings like a bell. Her father [CK Stead] has no qualms about writing his version of her life into his memoirs, and as a reader you’re with her as she struggles with the idea that his interpretation might be the one that endures. This is not without consequences. As she “fell out of step, and started recording messy details”, she realises that her family “would see my description (my telling the true story) as evidence of a defect in me. For them it was simple: I’d gone mad.”

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

Matt Haig showing some serious sticking power.

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

Is the all-consuming Ishiguro love a sign that he must be overrated?

To answer your question (to the tune of “no, he’s wonderful”), here’s an excerpt from a Daily Star review written by an Ishiguro sceptic:

Ishiguro has said in the past how in his writing he seeks to make a universal statement, and Klara and the Sun, his first novel in six years, is just that. There is nothing grandiose about it. He doesn’t approach it with kid-gloves, nor does he yank our shoulders blaring his message. There is a gentleness to his writing, an assured sense of direction, that makes me regret, above all, my neglecting of his work.

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

Shuggie Bain’s success is like a Hollywood movie: written over 10 years, rejected by more than 40 publishers, only to win the Booker, be translated into 40-plus languages, get sold for a TV adaptation, and – most impressive of all – become a fixture on the Unity bestsellers list.

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

Just $30 for over 200 pages of wisdom? Yes please.

6  The Panic Years by Nell Frizzell (Penguin Random House, $35)

From the publisher’s blurb: “The panic years can hit at any time but they are most commonly triggered somewhere between the ages of 25 and 40. During this time, every decision a woman makes – from postcode to partner, friends to family, work to weekends – will be impacted by the urgency of the one decision with a deadline, the one decision that is impossible to take back: whether or not to have a baby.”


7  Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given (Octopus Publishing, $30)

According to the hypey statements that make up the blurb of this book, Florence Given has produced:

  • The “ultimate” book for challenging “the out-dated narratives supplied to us by the patriarchy”.
  • A vessel that will teach to you “protect your energy” and “discover that you are the love of your own life”.
  • A book filled with explicit content and “a load of uncomfortable truths”.

Whether the one-liners appeal or trigger your gag reflex, we can certainly say to the book title Women Don’t Owe You Pretty: indeed.

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

A novel about the death of Shakespeare’s young son, Hamnet. Accolades include winning the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Book Critics Fiction Prize.

9  One: Pot, Pan, Planet: A Greener Way to Cook for You, Your Family and the Planet by Anna Jones (4th Estate, $55)

In a perfect world, Anna Jones is our best friend and her meals are on the table every night. Here’s a recipe taster from her new cookbook, like trying a couple of ice cream flavours before you commit to a cone: arepas with black beans and salsa verde and a corn and tomato curry.

10  How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates (Allen Lane, $48)

You can get a sense of Gates’ views from the Fair Observer: “Innovation, for Gates, does not stop with technology. It is of little help if a revolutionary technological solution is developed, but there is no way or incentive for an individual person, company or city to use it. Innovation, to use Gates’ words, ‘is also coming up with new approaches to business models, supply chains, markets, and policies that will help new innovations come to life and reach a global scale.’”


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

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

Last night Unity Wellington hosted an event to celebrate Imagining Decolonisation’s amazing year-long run on their top 10 list. The place was packed, heaving – not only was it standing room only, some people couldn’t even squeeze into the store. “Jammed to the rafters,” tweeted one attendee. “I feel like I’m at a rock concert,” tweeted another.

For those who couldn’t hear, or indeed get inside, BWB promise they have recorded proceedings and will be releasing that shortly.

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

We heard that every nine minutes in New Zealand a baby is born, and every four minutes someone buys a copy of Auē.

4  Missing Persons by Steve Braunias (HarperCollins, $35)

The true crime master explores 12 instances of disappearance in New Zealand.

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

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

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

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

9  One: Pot, Pan, Planet: A Greener Way to Cook for You, Your Family and the Planet by Anna Jones (4th Estate, $55)

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

A concise introduction that covers a range of core philosophical issues, including Māori notions of self, the world, and epistemology.

Keep going!