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Everybody’s readin’ Rubin (Image: Archi Banal)
Everybody’s readin’ Rubin (Image: Archi Banal)

BooksApril 12, 2024

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending April 12

Everybody’s readin’ Rubin (Image: Archi Banal)
Everybody’s readin’ Rubin (Image: Archi Banal)

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 Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin (Canongate, $55)


2 Butter by Asako Yuzuki (Fourth Estate, $35) 

From a pithy and insightful Kirkus Review: “Eating gets sexy in this offbeat confidence tale.”

3 Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (Faber & Faber, $25)

Nobody writes quite like Claire Keegan who is one of the most precise and talented short story artists working today.

4 Unsettled: Small Stories of Colonisation by Richard Shaw (Massey University, $40)

A generous and helpful exploration of settler colonial mythology. Read an excerpt on The Spinoff, here.

5 Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Vintage, $26)

One of the most successful novels of the decade.

6 The Bee Sting by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton, $37)

Another unstoppable novel: here’s a snippet from an in-depth Guardian review: “Like Skippy Dies [another of Murray’s novels], The Bee Sting draws on Irish folklore about a traveller taken in by fairy folk to their great hall of riches under the hill, only to wake many years later in a cold, unfamiliar world where everything they knew and loved has passed away. He uses it as a figure for the unsustainable mania of the Celtic tiger, for the piercing nostalgia surrounding lost youth, for the vanishing of illusions and shared fairytales that allowed this particular family to function. Toward the book’s end, Imelda thinks back to the horrors of her chaotic childhood, the past she can never escape, all that has brought her, second by irrevocable second, to this present moment. “You would give anything to go back to it anything.” You won’t read a sadder, truer, funnier novel this year.”

7 What You Are Looking for is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama (Doubleday, $37)

Extremely wholesome story of a librarian who has the cure for precisely what ails you.

8 Amma by Saraid De Silva (Moa Press, $38)

The magnificent debut novel from actor, podcaster and script writer Saraid De Silva has gone off with a bang. Read Brannavan Gnanalingam’s review on The Spinoff, here.

9 The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (Head of Zeus, $25)

The first novel in a trilogy (published in 2016) that sparked the Netflix show produced by the Game of Thrones people.

10 Bird Child and Other Stories by Patricia Grace (Penguin, $37)

The beautiful new collection of stories from the one and only Patricia Grace, reviewed with stunning attention by Rangimarie Sophie Jolley, right here.


(Note that this week’s chart is from the dates 4 – 8 April only due to business as usual being disrupted by new carpets and a pop-up – see photo below)

1 Amma by Saraid De Silva (Moa Press, $38)

2 Unsettled: Small Stories of Colonisation by Richard Shaw (Massey University, $40)

3 When i open the shop by romesh dissanayake (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

Another stunning debut novel from Aotearoa. Here’s the publisher’s blurb: “In his small noodle shop in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, a young chef obsessively juliennes carrots. Nothing is going according to plan: the bills are piling up, his mother is dead, and there are strangers in his kitchen. The ancestors are watching closely.

Told through a series of brilliant interludes and jump cuts, When I open the shop is sometimes blackly funny, sometimes angry and sometimes lyrical, and sometimes – as a car soars off the road on a horror road trip to the Wairarapa – it takes flight into surrealism. A glimpse into immigrant life in Aotearoa, this is a highly entertaining, surprising and poignant debut novel about grief, struggle and community.”

4 Easy Wins by Anna Jones (4th Estate, $60)

It’s been quite the long while since we’ve seen a cook book on this hallowed list. The principle of this one is to take 12 ingredients guaranteed to make your meals yum, and teach you how to use them over 125 recipes. Easy wins indeed!

5 Butter by Asako Yuzuki (Fourth Estate, $35) 

The Unity Books Wellington pop-up at 69 Willis Street (running for not too much longer now).

6 Unruly: A History of England’s Kings & Queens by David Mitchell (Michael Joseph, $42)

“Unruly is part Horrible Histories, part jolly romp guided by Alan Bennett’s view that history has no sense but is “just one fucking thing after another”. But it is mostly – this being a history of England – swearing.” (from The Guardian)

7 Prophet Song by Paul Lynch (Oneworld, $37)

The Booker Prize winner who is coming to Auckland Writers Festival to talk about this book and also why Irish writing is having such a moment.

8 Strong Female Character by Fern Brady (Brazen, $28)

A moving memoir by acclaimed Scottish comedian.

9 The Financial Colonisation of Aotearoa by Catherine Comyn (Economic & Social Research Aotearoa, $30)

“Comyn makes the argument that far from the mere technical management of money, finance and financial institutions were a key, if not dominant, player in the colonisation of this country – an argument that complicates prevalent narratives of colonisation that revolve around the British Crown and adventurous individual explorers.” Read more about the project of this incredible book right here on The Spinoff.

10 The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin (Canongate, $55)

Keep going!