What’s everyone reading – and buying – at Xmas? Fucking Apostrophes and other gift ideas, going by the latest Unity Books best-seller chart at their stores in Auckland and Wellington.
1 Fucking Apostrophes (Icon Books, $19) by Simon Griffin
Your cool Simon!
2 Wish Child (Victoria University Press, $30) by Catherine Chidgey
“This is a brilliant novel, with a cohesive and persuasive vision of human beings under stress, a subtle prose-style and a major grasp of things that really matter”: Nicholas Reid, Reid’s Reader.
3 Portholes to the Past (Steele Roberts, $25) by Lloyd Geering
Graeme Lay claimed in the Spinoff a few months ago that John Dunmore, at 92, was New Zealand’s oldest living practising writer. So not true! Professor Lloyd Geering has turned in his new memoir at the tender age of 98.
4 The Sympathizer (Piatkus, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Sure to feature in the Spinoff’s best novels of the year list next week.
5 Swing Time (Hamish Hamilton, $37) by Zadie Smith
Will this feature in the Spinoff’s best novels of the year list next week?
6 Wellington in Your Pocket (FitzBeck Creative, $25) by Nigel Beckford & Michael Fitzsimons
Appealing city guide by the team who are responsible for publishing five collections of verse by broadcaster Richard Langston.
7 The Sellout: A Novel (Oneworld, $28) by Paul Beatty
Runaway hit by the winner of the 2016 Man Booker prize.
8 Pigeon Tunnel: Stories From My Life (Viking, $38) by John Le Carre
One of the best memoirs of the year.
9 Red Notice: How I Became Putin’s No. 1 Enemy (Corgi, $26) by Bill Browder
“In 2008 a young Russian lawyer called Sergei Magnitsky uncovered a massive tax fraud. He found evidence that a group of well-connected Russian officials had stolen a whopping $230m. The same officials had Magnitsky arrested; he was tossed into a freezing cell and refused medical treatment….One day his condition grew critical. Guards put him in an isolation cell. There, they beat him to death. Magnitsky’s case was to become the most notorious example of human rights abuse in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. That this happened was down to one man: Bill Browder, a US-born financier…Red Notice is a dramatic, moving and thriller-like account of how Magnitsky’s death transformed Browder from hedge-fund manager to global human rights crusader”: The Guardian.
10 Havana Coffee Works (Phantom House, $50) by Geoff Marsland & Tom Scott
“We used Fidel Castro on our mood board when we designed a new range of moccacinos”, etc.
1 Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany (Allen Lane, $55) by Norman Ohler
Nazis on P.
2 The Sympathizer (Corsair, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen
3 Swing Time (Hamish Hamilton, $37) by Zadie Smith
4 Rather Be the Devil (Orion, $38) by Ian Rankin
Latest Rebus by the master.
5 The Great War for New Zealand (Bridget Williams Books, $80) by Vincent O’Malley
The NZ Herald’s pick as best book of the year.
6 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Vintage, $28) by Yuval Noah Harari
7 The Wish Child (Victoria University Press, $30) by Catherine Chidgey
8 Fuck It: Do What You Love (Hay House, $26) by John Parkin
A collection of meaningless slogans on the same theme, eg “Fuck it, I can’t waste any more of my life”, “Fuck it, I will find a way to make this work”, “Fuck it all to hell, you’re all cunts”, etc.
9 Hand-Coloured New Zealand (Potton & Burton, $80) by Peter Alsop
New Zealand’s first published collection of hand-coloured photography! Remarkable, beautiful, an excellent gift.
10 A Life in Parts (Orion, $40) by Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father cast him in a United Way commercial. The rest is Breaking Bad, and life inbetween.