The week’s best-selling books at the Unity stores in Willis St, Wellington and High St, Auckland.
1 Less by Andrew Sean Greer (LittleBrown, $25)
This gay US comedy has really taken off in New Zealand; it’s scarcely been out of the Unity top 10 for the last two, three months, and word of mouth has led to it claiming the number one spot.
2 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape, $35)
Ondaatje’s masterpiece The English Patient was recently named the best Booker-winning novel of the past 50 years. Fair call.
3 The Mapmakers’ Race by Eirlys Hunter (Gecko Press, $25)
Four children lose their parents just as they’re about to begin the race that offers their last chance of escaping poverty. Kate de Goldi: “One of the most poised, stylish children’s books I’ve read in a long time…An utter delight.” The leading source of information and comment on children’s literature in New Zealand, The Sapling, have an excerpt.
4 Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury, $22)
Novel about a Muslim family in London where a young man leaves to join Islamic State.
5 Calypso by David Sedaris (LittleBrown, $35)
The humourist, interviewed in the Guardian: “I’ve been thinking for a while that if you have your tonsils removed, a cat would like to eat them.”
6 Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (Penguin, $28)
7 Crudo by Olivia Laing (Picador, $35)
Publisher’s blurbology: “Olivia Laing radically rewires the novel in a brilliant, funny and emphatically raw account of love in the apocalypse.”
8 Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press, $20)
“I used to think lipgloss was more of a summer thing, but I have come to the realisation recently that glossy lips for winter is a look…A cute look I recommend is a lil blush on the nose, highlighter on the cheekbones and a gloss on the lips to tie it all together”: from an interview in The Spinoff Review of Books with the author of the year’s best book of verse.
9 This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (Vintage, $38)
We look forward to the forthcoming review by Tina Shaw.
10 The New Animals by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press, $30)
“It’s a deadpan satire and love letter to hairdressing. It’s a novel that sets a major plot point around the nape of a model’s neck, FFS. Big brutal dogs. Drugs and T-shirts. It employs the term ‘fuckstruck’ several times. It finely delineates faultlines in long-term friendships. It finely delineates faultlines generally. A New Zealand pitilessly and unsentimentally represented, seething with frustrated sex and unfairness and betrayal and silence, like all the best soaps. It’s about fashion but it’s completely unfashionable. Its final coda features a character whose damage is so inscrutable no one is aware of it. People sleep with her and talk with her and like her and recommend her for work while unaware she’s beginning to think she’s a mermaid. And she is the PRIME MINISTER’S DAUGHTER. We need to talk about this”: Carl Shuker, The Spinoff Review of Books.
1 Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday (Granta, $33)
We look forward to the forthcoming review by Stephanie Johnson.
2 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson (MacMillan, $35)
“The book is a best-seller at Unity Books in Auckland. Why so popular in New Zealand? We’re not immune to trends, or the idea that we can try for better. That said, the question can be narrowed: why Auckland? Subtle Art hardly flickers on the Unity bestseller list for Wellington. Then again, smug old Wellington has always known best – no need for outside help. The rest of the country is too busy getting on with things. Auckland though is our most commercially minded of cities, our most striving; like the US, it’s told it’s the greatest and yet never able to reach its potential. In urgent need, perhaps, of learning how to give less of a fuck?”: John Summers, The Spinoff Review of Books.
3 Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Little, Brown and Company, $35)
4 Pisces by Melissa Browder (Bloomsbury Circus, $33)
We look forward to the review of this novel about a mermaid and a merman by mermaid and merman expert, and winner of the 2018 Surrey Hotel writers residency award, Megan Dunn.
5 This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (Vintage, $38)
6 The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Hutchinson, $38)
“In June 2009, Edwin Rist, a 20-year-old American flautist studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London, broke into the Natural History Museum and pulled off one of the most ill-conceived yet successful robberies of recent history. He absconded with 299 bird skins to satisfy an obsession – not of birds, but of their feathers and their use in the arcane Victorian art of fly-tying. The Feather Thief is Kirk Wallace Johnson’s account of this odd crime and the unsettling aftermath”: Matt Vance, The Spinoff Review of Books.
7 Happiness by Aminatta Forna (Bloomsbury, $27)
“Nature meets London in all its multilayered glory in Forna’s vivid novel about marginalised people”: Guardian.
8 Men Without Woman by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $26)
9 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape, $35)
10 South Sea Vagabonds by JW Wray (HarperCollins, $28)
“South Sea Vagabonds is an account by Johnny Wray of the building of his boat, Ngataki, during the early 1930s. The 21-year-old Wray loses his job at the height of the Depression and decides to drop out of the struggle for employment. He constructs an ocean-going yacht of his own design — made from kauri driftwood that he collects on beaches in the Hauraki Gulf…I know half a dozen people who have built boats and sailed the Pacific under the influence of Wray. I know of others who have found Wray’s freedom through different paths: a house-trucker in Southland, a canal boater in Yorkshire, an American who dropped out to live Thoreau-like in the Northland bush after falling under Wray’s literary spell. When overseas visitors ask for something quintessentially New Zealand, I give them South Sea Vagabonds. Wray’s story contains all the essential ingredients that we perceive as comprising our national character: ingenuity, self-reliance, kindness, humour, fairness, a desire to be outward looking and explore the world, but also to appreciate New Zealand as home. Johnny Wray explains us”: David Haywood, the Listener.
The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.