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Monique Fiso and others shovelling dirt onto a hangi pit
Monique Fiso (left), author of bestselling new cookbook Hiakai, laying down a hangi (Photo: Supplied)

BooksSeptember 11, 2020

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending September 11

Monique Fiso and others shovelling dirt onto a hangi pit
Monique Fiso (left), author of bestselling new cookbook Hiakai, laying down a hangi (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  Ottolenghi: Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage (Ebury, $60)

“Every time we publish a book, it feels like the Ottolenghi pantry needs a new shelf. A place to house our latest discoveries and obsessions. For Ottolenghi: Flavour, this new shelf would be full of chillies. Fresh chillies, dried chillies, chilli flakes, chilli pastes, chilli oils, chilli butters, chilli spice mixes, pickled chillies … ”

2  Hiakai: New Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso (Godwit, $65)

“It’s my hope that this book will help you look at Māori cuisine in a new way, to understand and respect the rich history, culture and knowledge that it contains.

I’ve spent a long time learning about traditional Māori hunting, cultivation and cooking – and discovering how to weave all this information into practical ways of gathering and eating. It hasn’t been easy – until now, there hasn’t been one singular book that you could read to find out how to do all these things.”

For more on Fiso and her food see this excellent review of Hiakai by Simon Day.

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

“My sister, Madeleine, and I were both trying to write novels and both considering trashing them and starting fresh with new ideas. One day at lunch, Maddie mentioned she would like to write a twin story. I felt as though I knew what she was going to say before she said it, because I wanted to write a twin story too. When we put our ideas together, the magic happened. We had the key plot points planned within an hour.

So it was as if the story was floating around in the sky, and half of it fell into my lap and half into Maddie’s. We had to put the halves together to make the story complete. Fortunately, Maddie wanted me to write the story, but she has put an enormous amount of energy into it, too. She’s like a pre-editor, helping me shape the story before, during and after the writing process.” – the author, to Read Close.

4  Searching for Charlie: In Pursuit of the Real Charles Upham VC & Bar by Tom Scott (Upstart Press, $50)

“After the war there is evidence Upham suffered a form of PTSD, Scott says.

He went to stay with Upham’s daughter Caroline in Gisborne while researching the book and noticed there were no locks on any bathroom doors and rubber stoppers to stop doors slamming.

She explained Upham couldn’t bear to be locked in a room and loud noises upset him.” – RNZ

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

If you are massively into Ferrante and you’d like to write about it, please pitch with examples of previous work:

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

Counterpoint: comments sections.

7  Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador, UK, $20)

Unfathomably, there’s a sequel incoming.

8  Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith (Penguin General UK, $16)

“She sees no difference between writing and making banana bread.” – from a completely wonderful review over at Vulture.

9  Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor (Penguin Life, $38)

Oh no. From Schrodinger’s Books: “Non-fiction at its breath-taking best.”

10 Antkind by Charlie Kaufman (HarperCollins, $35)

“Funny, exhausting and very, very long. Reading it is like watching (or being) someone trying to sprint to the top of an Escher staircase.” – lol, from the Guardian


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

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

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

4  Searching for Charlie: In Search of the Real Charles Upham by Tom Scott VC & Bar (Upstart Press, $50)

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

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

Righteous winner of the 2019 Acorn Prize for Fiction.

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

See also: Decolonizing Methodologies, by Linda Tuhiwai Smith.

8  Summer by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, $34)

The fourth of Smith’s four seasons; buying the set for someone (or yourself!) would be a lovely summing-up of a weird old year, we reckon.

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

Winner, with Margaret Atwood, of the 2019 Booker Prize.

10 Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman (Bloomsbury, $35)

Keep going!