Whiti Hereaka with her Acorn and the award’s rarely-sighted sponsor, Jann Medlicott (Photo: Marcel Trompe; Design: Tina Tiller)
Whiti Hereaka with her Acorn and the award’s rarely-sighted sponsor, Jann Medlicott (Photo: Marcel Trompe; Design: Tina Tiller)

BooksMay 13, 2022

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending May 13

Whiti Hereaka with her Acorn and the award’s rarely-sighted sponsor, Jann Medlicott (Photo: Marcel Trompe; Design: Tina Tiller)
Whiti Hereaka with her Acorn and the award’s rarely-sighted sponsor, Jann Medlicott (Photo: Marcel Trompe; Design: Tina Tiller)

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  How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin, $28)

We have a feature piece on this autobiographical novel underway, in the meantime this section of the acknowledgements speaks volumes:

“Thank you to the chaotic city of Tāmaki Makaurau from which I’ve burned, bloomed and rebirthed myself several times and on which I have vaguely based this book. Ngā mihi nui ki ngā iwi Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāi Tai, Te Wai-o-Hua, Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei, Ngāti Te Ata me Te Kawerau ā Maki. Thank you to all the communities here who, despite the eternal tussle with gentrification, colonisation, housing and death-rattle-stage capitalism, physically endure and stay creating culture.”

2  Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)

Real-life political intrigue, murder, plotting, corruption, financial scandal, and arch enemies. Bill Browder’s new non-fiction follows on from his bestselling book Red Notice, detailing nearly two decades of being targeted by Putin.

3  Grand: Becoming My Mother’s Daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, $35)

A new, local memoir that books editor Catherine Woulfe recently raved about – here’s an excerpt from said rave: “[McCarthy’s] anecdotes are gothic, peculiar; they sound like bad dreams. There’s the time her mother brings home a huge mangy rabbit from the pub and it gets loose in the garden and slams itself into a hole in the wall, screaming. The time her mother takes Noelle, aged about six, to buy pretty white shoes for communion, then to a pub where she reveals the secret history of their family, her two eldest, secret children. Jonathan “the product of rape, Mammy says” died 11 hours after he was born. Tara was adopted out. On her worst nights Mammy screams for her lost children.” Shivers.

4  The Candy House by Jennifer Egan (Simon and Schuster, $38)

The newest novel by Jennifer Egan, and a continuation of her Pulitzer-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad. 

5  The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor, the Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown (Century, $40)

Twenty years of Royal Family dirt. If you’re rolling your eyes, here are some pluses to consider: Helen Mirren likes it. Also, the Times calls it “exhaustively researched” but also “disgustingly entertaining” and an “unashamed romp”. It feels like years since we had a romp!

6  Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear (Random House Business, $40)

Hats off to those indefatigable souls still trying to better themselves.

7  Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in New York City by Andrea Elliott (Hutchinson, $40)

For five days in December 2013, Andrea Elliott’s reporting about Dasani, a child living in a Brooklyn homeless shelter, appeared on the front page of The New York Times. Invisible Child covers eight years of Dasani and her family’s lives. From the New York Times: “The reporting has an intimate, almost limitless feel to it, the firsthand observations backed up by some 14,000 pages of official documents, from report cards to drug tests to city records secured through Freedom of Information Law requests. The result of this unflinching, tenacious reporting is a rare and powerful work whose stories will live inside you long after you’ve read them.”

8  Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

The novel which on Wednesday evening won the Crystal Arts Trust Best First Book Award.

Greta & Valdin was also shortlisted for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, which was won by Whiti Hereaka’s brilliant Kurangaituku (which is somehow not on the lists this week, but has been for ages and no doubt will return triumphant next week). 

9  Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Picador, $38)

Her boy was stooped slightly, the rucksack a little hump on his back. Unsure of what he should take, he had packed it with half-hearted nonsense: an oversized Fair Isle jumper, teabags, his dog-eared sketchbook, a game of Ludo, and some half-used tubes of medicated ointment. Yet he wavered on the corner as though the bag might tip him backwards into the gutter. Mo-Maw knew the bag was not heavy. She knew it was the bones of him that had become a dead weight.

10  The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $37)

Manapouri bookseller, environmentalist, sailor, four-time wife, navy deserter, Kings Cross dweller Ruth Shaw has written a memoir, and it’s packed to the gills and brimming over with a life lived to the fullest.

WELLINGTON

1  We’re All Made of Lightning by Khadro Mohamed (We Are Babies, $25)

The debut poetry collection from Wellington-based writer Khadro Mohamed, about the experience of being a Muslim woman in New Zealand. Unity Wellington hosted the book launch on Tuesday, and it was a smash hit. 

2  How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin, $28)

3  Wellington Architecture: A Walking Guide by John Walsh & Patrick Reynolds (Massey University Press, $25)

A book that teaches Wellingtonians to do what they do best, but even better: walk around and love on their city.

4  Slow Down, You’re Here by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson, $25)

We’ve a full-length review in the works but let it be known this slim new novel is possibly maybe even better than Sprigs, which was shortlisted for last year’s big fiction prize and which we fricking adored. It’s a horror about two little kids locked in a grotty flat with no adults.

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

The star child, now joined by sort-of-sibling Fragments at number six. We hope Imagining Decolonisation is enjoying the company.

6  Fragments from a Contested Past: Remembrance, Denial and New Zealand History by Joanna Kidman, Vincent O’Malley, Liana MacDonald, Tom Roa and Keziah Wallis (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

This compact BWB text explores how the New Zealand Wars have been remembered through different narratives over the past 150 years. Don Rowe wrote an article about Fragments recently, in light on the new Aotearoa history curriculum. 

7  Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

8  Down From Upland by Murdoch Stephens (Lawrence & Gibson, $30)

“Down from Upland is a kitchen sink, domestic novel that opens at the precise moment the first Millennials find themselves raising a teenager.

“While flirting with an open marriage, Jacqui and Scott nudge their son on a more moderate course as he begins at a new high school and makes new friends.

“Skewering the best and worst of Wellington’s leafy middle class, the novel features public servants with varying degrees of integrity, precocious Wellington High students and a foreign lover at the end of a working holiday visa.”

Thanks, publisher’s blurb!

9  Grand: Becoming My Mother’s Daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, $35)

10  Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)

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
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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