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BooksMay 12, 2017

Unity Books best-seller chart for the week ending May 12


The best-selling books at the two best book stores in Christendom.


1 Along for the Ride by Tony Simpson (Blythswood Press, $48)

Political memoir by one of the most fascinating back-room figures in New Zealand politics; highly recommended.

2 The New Zealand Project by Max Harris (Bridget Williams Books, $40)

In some respects it’s a companion piece to Tony Simpson’s book. Tony looks back on politics; Max looks forward to a new politics yet to exist.

3 Wish Child by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press $30)

Will it win the Ockham New Zealand book award for fiction on Tuesday night? The Spinoff Review of Books will be there, incognito.

4 Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo (Particular Books, $40)

The book every mum is buying for their daughter.

5 Earthly Remains #26 Brunetti by Donna Leon (Random, $37)

Crime fiction.

6 How Did We Get into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature by George Monbiot (Verso, $22)

Naval gazing for left-wing beardies.

7 Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young (Victoria University Press, $30)

Will it win the Ockham New Zealand book award for non-fiction on Tuesday night? The Spinoff Review of Books will be there, heavily disguised.

8 Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $35)

What – anything?

9 Truth About Language: What It Is & Where It Came From by Michael Corballis (Auckland University Press, $40)

Superior blurbology from the publisher:While birds can chirp and monkeys can chatter, only humans possess the extraordinary power to tell stories and offer explanations, to explain and persuade, to baffle and bullshit that we call language. How come? Where did language come from? Corballis takes on what has been called the hardest problem in science.”

10 Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, $38)

“The acclaimed neurosurgeon exudes humility in this fine second memoir:” The Guardian.



Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Stroutt (Viking, $35)

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Chatto & Windus, $37)

We continue to await the forthcoming review by Kim Hill.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Windmill Books, $26)

“It tells the story of an apparently successful marriage from two different perspectives, the husband’s and then the wife’s, and it explores the fierce asymmetry of the two tellings…Lotto (short for Lancelot) and Mathilde meet at a party, near the end of their time as Vassar undergraduates. The attraction is intense, and they get quickly married, just before graduation. The relationship is puzzling to Lotto’s friends: he is a college god, blessed with charm, intelligence, and riches, strapping and handsome (six feet six), a rising young actor. Mathilde is mysterious. She seems to have no legible past, no obvious context. She had no friends at college, and is thought of as an “ice queen” or worse”: the great literary critic James Woods, in the New Yorker. Basically he thought it started off really good but later on it sucked.

Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole (Faber, $33)

He’s coming to the AWF.

5 Torpor by Chris Kraus (Tuskar, $23)

So’s she.

6 Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist by Kate Raworth (Random House Business, $40)

A much more thoughtful and worthwhile book about food is The Man Who Ate Lincoln Road.

Art Sex Music by Cosi Fanni Tutti (Faber Social, $40)

Rock bio, sort of – she was in Throbbing Gristle, and also worked as a stripper and a pornographic model.

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, $25)

Literary fiction. Four stars on Good Reads, as opposed to five stars for The Man Who Ate Lincoln Road.

The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between by Hisham Matar (Penguin, $28)

“Jaballa Matar was a leading Libyan dissident who was kidnapped in 1990 by agents working for Muammar el-Qaddafi, and sent to the notorious Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. Friends and political supporters risked their lives to smuggle out the occasional letter from him, but after a couple of years, those letters stopped. His son did not know whether his father died in a 1996 prison massacre that took the lives of some 1,200 people; whether he was tortured or beaten to death in some grim interrogation room; or whether, miraculously, he had managed to escape or survive. After Qaddafi was toppled in 2011, the son traveled back to his family’s homeland to try to find out what happened. This is his story”: the great literary critic Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times. Basically she loved it.

10 Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young (Victoria University Press, $30)

Keep going!