January 1, 1980, reading (Photo: Mirrorpix via Getty)
January 1, 1980, reading (Photo: Mirrorpix via Getty)

BooksOctober 9, 2020

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending October 9

January 1, 1980, reading (Photo: Mirrorpix via Getty)
January 1, 1980, reading (Photo: Mirrorpix 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.


1  Short Poems of New Zealand by Jenny Bornholdt (Victoria University Press, $35)

“Initially, she thought of six lines and under as small. This seemed too restrictive and she went to 10. But, as there are many 10-line poems, she decided that was too long, and settled on nine instead.” – Jenny Clay, in a review for the New Zealand Poetry Society

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

“Dip into the book. Choose a whakataukī for your week. Whether you are on the train, cuddled up in bed or waiting to pick up the kids from school. Take a moment each day to think about what this whakataukī could mean for you, in your current situation, with regard to the questions you have about yourself and your life.

Take a breath. Take in the aroha.”

3  Ottolenghi: Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage (Ebury, $60)

Swede gnocchi with miso butter. Giant couscous and pumpkin with tomato and star anise sauce. Cucumber, za’atar and chopped lemon salad.

4  Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber and Faber, $23)

Sally Rooney Sally Rooney

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

“American media coverage is happening, and it’s every bit as exciting as I hoped!” – Carlyle, tweeting October 8

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

Joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

7 The Survivors by Jane Harper (MacMillan, $35)

Seaside small-town crime fiction by the celebrated author of The Dry.

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

Counterpoint: the New Zealand Initiative.

9  Think Like A Monk: Train Your Mind For Peace and Purpose Every Day by Jay Shetty (HarperCollins, $37)

“Jay Shetty is an Award-Winning Storyteller, Podcaster, and former monk who is making wisdom go viral.” – jayshetty.me

10 Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth (Penguin, $28)

There’s surely a good joke to be made here about holes and fiscal policies.


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

2  Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given (Cassell, $30)

“Considering I was reading A Room of One’s Own by Virgina Woolf concurrently, this book had an uphill battle to impress me as a feminist text.” – Lia on Goodreads

3  Stuff That’s Loud: A Teen’s Guide to Unspiralling When OCD Gets Noisy by Ben Sedley & Lisa Coyne (Little, Brown, $30)

“The book does not proclaim to be a cure for OCD or even that any easy, external fix exists. That clarity in itself offers relief as it preempts the pressure readers may feel if they don’t feel fully transformed after using the book. The book, which the authors encourage readers to use along with therapy, puts faith and the power to change in the hands of teens.” – Kirkus Reviews

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

“The new stories never found an easy place in this land. Rather, they sat uneasily upon it like the new place names and fences that were being strung across the new private properties. They were intruder stories on a land that needed no such embellishment.” – Jackson

5  Bill & Shirley: A Memoir by Keith Ovenden (Massey University Press, $35)

“People’s ability to write well about their experiences is frequently poor, so that even if someone is seeking to explain an event, the actual description may be woefully inadequate, if not misleading. Shirley’s correspondence is an awful warning in this regard. She wrote thousands of letters, many of which have survived, but what they represent now is not so much the ground plan of her life, as evidence of the existence of things in her life which she found hard to confront and from which, psychologically, she was eager to escape. This was displacement activity; she seemed to write the most letters when she was hardest pressed.”

6  Māori Philosophy: Indigenous Thinking from Aotearoa by Georgina Stewart (Bloomsbury, $39)

“A much-needed introduction to Māori thought, Stewart invites the reader to be more than a spectator but a participant in that fascinating journey.” –  Garrick Cooper, Senior Lecturer, Aotahi School of Māori and Indigenous Studies, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

7  Supergood by Chelsea Winter (Penguin, $50)

Creamy dahl & crunchy roast potatoes. Crispy sweet & sour cauliflower. Jellytip cheesecake. All plant-based, which appeals. As does this line, after 10 years of enduring a husband who loathes mushrooms: “If your family doesn’t like mushrooms, chop them very small so they aren’t noticed (you could pulse them to small pieces in a food processor).”

8  Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso (Godwit, $65)

We’re trying to work out how to get a review copy to our man in Australia without paying $70 shipping. Jeepers!

9  Ottolenghi: Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage (Ebury, $60)

10 The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions, $37)

“As slinky and scowling as a Neapolitan cat.”– NPR

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
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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