A weekly feature at the Spinoff Review of Books: The best-selling books at the Wellington and Auckland stores of Unity Books.
THE BEST–SELLER CHART FOR THE WEEK JUST ENDED: AUGUST 12
1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II (Little Brown, $50) by J K Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
“I can’t help but wish Harry would stop taking his weird kid to graveyards and find a good therapist,” wrote Charlotte Graham, in her celebrated essay for the Spinoff.
2. Futuna: Life of a Building (Victoria University Press, $50) by Gregory O’Brien and Nick Bevin
Everything that Greg O’Brien does is class; his latest book, with architect Nick Bevin, is a beautiful meditation on the famous chapel in Wellington.
3 Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press, $25) by Hera Lindsay Bird
Ah, the cult of Bird! Her debut poem at the Spinoff, “Hate”, is included in the collection that people are talking about from Johnsonville to Geraldine.
4 Spilt Milk Yoga (Familias/HarperCollins, $25) by Cathryn Monro
The sub-title provides a useful guide to the contents: “A Guided Self-Inquiry to Finding Your Own Wisdom, Joy & Purpose Through Motherhood.”
5 Things That Matter: Stories of Life & Death from an Intensive Care Specialist (Allen & Unwin, $37) by David Galler
Memoir of a quack, which has attracted a lot of interest since Kim Hill conducted a typically fascinating interview with him on her Saturday morning show.
6 Silk Roads: A New History of the World (Bloomsbury, $28) by Peter Frankopan
The two most unlikely best-sellers of 2016 are this dry tome, and Mary Beard’s study of Ponsonby restaurant SPQR.
7 Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953 (Auckland University Press, $70) by Peter Simpson
The best-looking book of 2016, no question, lavishly illustrated with paintings from one of New Zealand’s most exciting periods of art practise. Philip Matthews wrote a fascinating story at the Press this week which concerned the strange case of the misspelling of the grave of one of the book’s characters, Ursula Bethell.
8 All the Light We Cannot See (HarperCollins, $25) by Anthony Doerr
“Rough around the edges, too long, a metaphor unnecessarily explained at length, it is nonetheless an incredible achievement”: Francis Cook at Scoop, reviewing this novel about two children reaching adolescence during World War II.
9 Vegetarian: A Novel (Portobello, $23) by Han Kang
“This not a book about the rejection of meat – this is a book about the rejection of life, of society, of the self,” wrote Wyoming Paul at the Spinoff, of quite possibly the most affecting novel of 2016.
10 Maori Meeting House: Introducing the Whare (Te Papa Press, $50) by Damien Skinner
Erudite, beautifully designed, culturally significant: a reminder of the highest standards of publishing that used to be associated with Te Papa Press.
1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Little Brown, $50) by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
2 Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953 (Auckland Univesity Press, $70) by Peter Simpson
3 White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World (Text, $37) by Geoff Dyer
More of the usual semi-comic, semi-real traveloguery from the tittering PJ O’Rourke of his generation.
4 Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays in Place from Aotearoa New Zealand (Victoria University Press, $40) ed Ingrid Horrocks & Cherie Lacey
Presented with the nation’s navel, some of New Zealand’s leading bores duly gaze at it.
5 The Girls (Chatto & Windus, $37) by Emma Cline
“A fine book, a spell, a dreamy conjuring of that summer of ’69,” wrote Sarah Laing in her review at the Spinoff.
6 A Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (Canongate, $40) by Olivia Laing
Ashleigh Young is about to take up her Surrey Hotel Steve Braunias Memorial Writers Residency in Association with The Spinoff Award, and will no doubt use the time to work on her long-awaited review.
7 And the Weak Must Suffer What They Must?: Europe, Austerity and the Threat to Global Stability (Bodley Head, $40) by Yanis Varoufakis
“Varoufakis glosses over why national governments repeatedly declined to restructure debt before it was refinanced by the rescue funds. Above all he does not mention why he, as finance minister, did not restructure Greece’s banks early in his tenure, so as to undo their dependence on the European Central Bank, which last summer forced Athens to accept a third bailout”: Financial Times.
8 Global Investing: A Guide for New Zealanders (Batemen, $40) by John Ryder
Includes a helpful analysis of the practices of some of the world’s most successful traders, investors and entrepreneurs, and how they made their loot.
9 The Sympathizer (Corsair, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen
10 A Little Life (Picador, $25) by Hanya Yanagihara
Very interesting novel.
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The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.