A man wearing shorts, T shirt and hat reads a book in a deckchair placed in the tide.
(Photo: Johner Images via Getty)

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending December 13

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   Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, $40)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

2  The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $55)

Terrible Christmas gift TBH unless it says “go large on the pav”.

3  We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall & Tim Denee (Massey University Press, $70)

It’s approx 270 x 240 x 37, for those of you measuring gifts under the tree.

4  Fucking Good Manners by Simon Griffin (Icon Books, $23)

Yes dear, we see what you did there.

5  Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador, $20)

“This is probably the worst book I’ve read all year … I kept thinking ‘Oh gosh, can I have a coffee to keep awake?'” – Ralph McAllister on Nine to Noon.

6  Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner (Hachette, $35)

“Nothing goes down better with a section of the British public than a posh old lady who isn’t afraid to talk dirty. It’s the contrast between the drawling vowels, blossomy complexion, sculpted cheekbones and sexual frankness that turns us into what Nanny would probably call “giggling ninnies”.”– the Guardian.

7  All Who Live On Islands by Rose Lu (Victoria University Press, $30)

“I tried to imagine what it would have been like for me if this book had existed when I took my very first undergrad creative writing workshop when I was 19. There had been Asian-NZ writers published long before, but I didn’t know yet how to find them.

I would have been less afraid to write about my Asianness. I would have allowed myself to exist in that workshop space unapologetically as the only Asian in the room.” – Nina Mingya Powles, in her launch speech.

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

“A group of friends at a British college, all connected to the same charismatic scholar of Agatha Christie’s work, are torn apart by secrets and deceptions … propulsive, pitch-perfect.” – Kirkus Reviews

9  Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Windmill Books, $28)

“Education was, quite literally, an escape from her isolationist Mormon family. Rather than playing at recess or doing homework after school, Westover spent her childhood preparing for the end of the world … ” – The Oprah Magazine

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

Winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize. 



1  We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall & Tim Denee (Massey University Press, $70)

2  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, $40)

3  The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $55)

4  Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner (Hachette, $35)

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

6  Acid for the Children by Flea (Headline Books, $38)

“How did Flea become Flea? Through a stringent and exquisitely calibrated program of parental neglect, street drugs, jazz, karate, Kurt Vonnegut, J. R. R. Tolkien, L.A. punk rock, Fagin-like would-be exploiters, and narrow escapes.” – The Atlantic

7  No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin Books, $8)

A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.

8  How to Walk a Dog by Mike White (Allen & Unwin, $35)

“The worst incident was the time I returned home to find several books lying dismembered across the floor of my office – all torn pages, shredded covers and reconfigured photos … The books’ covers were either gone or riddled with tooth marks, like a rural road sign some drunk bogan has peppered with a shotgun. The jacket of Michael King’s The Penguin History of New Zealand, which had been plucked off the bookshelf when Cooper got bored with rugby, had simply been flensed, with no consideration for the book’s near-biblical status in New Zealand’s cultural canon.”

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

“Taryn had told the doctors that, for the last week or so, she would wake up to a trilling, like the last cicada of summer. It was her refrigerator. She’d go to shut its door and would find bloody crumbs of steak mince scattered on the fridge shelf next to an empty polystyrene meat tray. It was only when Taryn saw the empty tray that she’d feel the cold fat coating the roof of her mouth.”

10 The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (Black Inc, $37)

“In the next 10 years, Wohlleben hopes concern for animal rights will lead to similar rights for trees, and forestry practices will become more sustainable. As he says, ‘Trees are often seen as oxygen producers or raw material for the timber industries. Maybe one day people will also enjoy watching trees as much as elephants.'” – the New Scientist. 

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