Piles of French Novels, by Vincent van Gogh
Piles of French Novels, by Vincent van Gogh

BooksSeptember 13, 2019

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending September 13

Piles of French Novels, by Vincent van Gogh
Piles of French Novels, by Vincent van Gogh

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  Native Son: The Writer’s Memoir by Witi Ihimaera (Penguin Random House, $40)

Stand by for a review from Essa Ranapiri!

2  The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox (Victoria University Press, $35)

“No-one behaves as you’d expect. Everyone wants something, everything changes. Knox’s heavenly underworld is hellish, the beautiful are cruel, the cruel are sad, the demons are capable of good, those lost find themselves” – our review by Maria McMillan. 

3  The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus, $48)

Stand by for a review from Pip Adam!

4  Life on Volcanoes: Contemporary Essays by Tze Ming Mok et. al  (Beatnik Publishing, $25)

Featuring this “beautiful, bitter” letter by Tze Ming Mok, and this extraordinary essay on poverty by Tulia Thompson. 

5  Quichotte by Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape, $37)

“Unlike most of the rest of the world, Rushdie was not surprised and disappointed by the ending to Game of Thrones, as he thought it was wildly overrated. He tells me he went on a writers’ retreat in Idaho with the Game of Thrones guys but slipped away to see the house where Hemingway shot himself” – the Irish Times

6  The Truants by Kate Weinberg (Bloomsbury, $33)

“Alec is a South African journalist who drives a hearse and head-fucks his way through confident, overachieving women. Georgie is his girlfriend, a feral aristocrat who rides horses and is addicted to pharmaceuticals…” – another teaser from our upcoming review by Chloe Blades.

7  The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton, $37)

The Times Literary Supplement: “What author or book do you think is most overrated? And why?”

Levy: “My lips are sealed; my fury is immense.”

8  Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury, $35)

“There are people who will say that this is not rape, that even if the oral sex and digital penetration occurred, this girl wanted it, too. That it was not against her will. That she was seventeen. In another few months it wouldn’t even be statutory rape.”

9  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Windmill Books, $26)

Here is Towles’ recipe for the Latvian stew, “the onions thoroughly caramelized, the pork slowly braised, and the apricots briefly stewed”, which features at the end of Book One. 

10 Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Headline Publishing, $35)

The great New York Times Magazine profile writer pivots to fiction.



1  The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus, $48)

2  The Little Ghost Who Lost Her Boo! by Elaine Bickell (Scholastic, $19)

Picture book with a simple, sweet nocturnal story; highly recommended if you have a kid who’s scared of the dark. 

3  Promises, Promises: 80 Years of Wooing NZ Voters by Claire Robinson (Massey University Press, $60)

“Many times while writing this book I felt a sense of desperation at the growing gap between what our major parties have promised and what they have delivered. I had to regularly remind myself that books like this help draw attention to the gap so we can start to talk about the purpose of politics and power in this country.”

4  How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munro (John Murray, $35)

“It teaches you how to cross a river by boiling it, outlines some of the many uses for lava around the home, and walks you through how to use experimental military research to ensure that your friends will never again ask you to help them move” – the author.

5  Te Tiriti o Waitangi: The Treaty of Waitangi by Toby Morris with Ross Calman, Mark Derby, and Piripi Walker (Lift Education, $20)

Toby rulz!

6  Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury, $35)

7  The Second Sleep by Robert Harris (Hutchinson, $38)

“The title of the book refers to the once common practice of having a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night, before returning to bed. It’s a powerful image that posits the current climate, in which much of the country enjoys relative health, wealth and freedom from outdated superstitions, as a brief, lucid window between two long stretches of darkness” – The Guardian.

8   The New Zealand Wars: Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa by Vincent O’Malley (Bridget Williams Books, $40)

Origin stories.

9  Māori at Work by Scotty Morrison (Raupo Publishing, $35)

Companion reading for the passive-aggressive workplace here. 

10  Quichotte by Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape, $37)

Keep going!