Tayi Tibble (second from right) and friends after her book launch at Unity Wellington last week (Photo: Supplied)
Tayi Tibble (second from right) and friends after her book launch at Unity Wellington last week (Photo: Supplied)

BooksJune 11, 2021

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending June 11

Tayi Tibble (second from right) and friends after her book launch at Unity Wellington last week (Photo: Supplied)
Tayi Tibble (second from right) and friends after her book launch at Unity Wellington last week (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.

AUCKLAND

1  Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz (Allen & Unwin, $33)

The debut (crime, romance, feminist, political) novel by New Plymouth’s own Jacqueline Bublitz is taking the world by storm. Rose Carlyle says “Beautiful, brilliant and strangely joyous.” Marian Keyes says, “Unusual, beautiful, feminist, gripping, deserves to win prizes.” Count us in.

2  Real Estate by Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton, $26)

The final instalment of Deborah Levy’s memoirs, following The Cost of Living. 

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

“I’d stepped back from the window, but not before noticing that outside the wind was as powerful as ever, and that not only were the trees still waving, there were many tiny funnels and pyramids – each looking as though drawn in sharp pencil lines – blowing swiftly across the sky. But the Sun had broken through the dark clouds, and all at once – as if each of us in the room had received a secret message – we turned to look at Josie.”

4  Bug Week & Other Stories by Airini Beautrais (Victoria University Press, $30)

Tommy Orange, the international guest judge who co-selected Airini as the winner of the Ockham Fiction Prize, said of Bug Week: “I was consistently surprised by sentences, the beauty and singular language. If the book were a bug, it would be a big one, with teeth and venom, with wings and a surprising heart, possibly several, beating on every page with life.”

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

The other week, Aroha was given the Oprah’s Book Club seal of approval, likely rocketing this local star to international fame. Wisdom world-wide!

6  How Do You Live? by Yoshino Genzaburo (Rider, $37)

A classic 1937 Japanese novel about the human experience, newly translated into English. 

7  Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony & Cass R. Sunstein (HarperCollins, $40) 

What is “noise”? It’s bias’s more random cousin – the variability in decision making caused by someone being a bit tired, or cranky, or hungry, or having a Leo energy. The authors tell us how noise horribly distorts medical and legal decisions, and what we can do about it. 

8  Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Noah Yuval Harari (Vintage, $30)

Weird that Sapiens is still on the list – we thought everyone in Auckland already owned a copy.

9  The Forager’s Treasury: The Essential Guide to Finding and Using Wild Plants in Aotearoa by Johanna Knox (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Do you keep seeing people studying weeds in the berm? Taking a little nibble? More likely than not, they have a copy of The Forager’s Treasury in hand. 

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

Still our pick for book of the year.

WELLINGTON

1  Rangikura by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press, $25)

The fabulous Tayi has released her second book of poetry! Wellington, of course, has pounced. 

They saw things in me I wanted to see in myself

that’s why I let them see me that’s why I let them see me

on certain nights in certain lights when the planets

lined up like a string of pearls in the sky and the moon

was the correct hue.

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

It’s still the belle of the ball. 

3  Helen Kelly: Her Life by Rebecca Macfie (Awa Press, $50)

Over at Stuff, Macfie says that Helen Kelly and the radical societal change that occurred during her lifetime are inseparable. “I think the power of her story is in the political context and her expression of her fight to correct the gross imbalance that had occurred.

“You had to know employment law had been gutted purposefully, and that the labour movement had torn itself to shreds – you had to know that to care about Helen Kelly.”

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

5  Bug Week & Other Stories by Airini Beautrais (Victoria University Press, $30)

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

7  Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony & Cass R. Sunstein (HarperCollins, $40) 

8  From the Centre: A Writer’s Life by Patricia Grace (Penguin, $40)

Emma Espiner in the Sunday Star Times said: “From the Centre relays a lifetime of doing things [Grace’s] own way… For me, it was a history lesson dressed in memory. There is so much about our recent history which has been obscured and the testimony of someone who was there strips the forgetting away.”

9  Māori Made Easy: For Everyday Learners of the Māori Language by Scotty Morrison (Penguin, $38)

North & South said, “This is not just a useful book, it’s an essential one.”

We think the fact that this book has marched solidly out of bookshop doors since 2015 proves their point. 

10  Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Victoria University Press, $35)

“Greta & Valdin is an amusing and vivacious romantic drama led by two hilarious and engaging queer main characters, and I don’t think you could ask for much more from a novel in 2021” – Read Close

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
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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