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BooksFebruary 15, 2019

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending February 15


The only published and available best-selling book chart in New Zealand is the top 10 best-seller list recorded every week at Unity Books’ stores in High St, Auckland, and Willis St, Wellington – which today was confirmed as one of three bookshops in the world shortlisted for the prestigious The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards 2019. Yowsa!!!!


1 Hello Darkness by Peter Wells (Mighty Ajax Press, $40)

“A strange, wise, aching, tender, sad, frank, really interesting and deeply beautiful document. ‘Sickness,’ he writes in Hello Darkness, ‘became my occupation.’ This is his memoir of that intense career…Peter Wells has always been an exceptional author. His perceptiveness, his rich, lyrical sentences, and his shamelessness are just some of the virtues throughout his writing life and they all make their way towards the exit that is Hello Darkness“: Steve Braunias, at the launch held on Monday at Unity Books in Auckland.

2 Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $33)

Frampton Comes Alive, Michael King’s Penguin History of New Zealand, Friends, Jacindamania, Jordan Peterson, slime – every so often the culture thrills to something vibrant, something attractive, something that connects.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson (Macmillan, $35)

As per the above, apparently.

4 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (Vintage, $30)

Deepish thoughts.

5 Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Little, Brown, $35)

Popular novel.

6 Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James (Penguin Random House, $38)

The eagerly anticipated follow-up to James’s 2015 Man Booker prize-winning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings; he’s referred to it as “an African Game of Thrones“.

7 The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (Hamish Hamilton, $37)

Popular novel.

8 The Wall by John Lanchester (Faber & Faber, $33)

“Dystopian fiction continues to throng the bookshelves, for all the world as though we weren’t living in a dystopia already, and the latest entrant to the glum-futures category is John Lanchester’s The Wall, about which much can be divined from a glossary of the capitalised nouns that throng it from the title onwards. The Wall encircles the perimeter of a fortified Britain. The Change has caused the sea level to rise, transforming the world forever. The Defenders, a national service now demanded of all young people, protect the Wall. The Guards patrol the coastal waters in boats, the Flight in planes. The Others want to get over the wall from outside, by violence or stealth. The Breeders make babies, which most people won’t do any more. The Help are disenfranchised immigrants, enslaved to the country’s citizens. And there, pretty much, you have the Story”: The Spectator.

9 Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House, $55)

“On the night Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Michelle excused herself from the room where she and Barack and some friends were watching the returns…She is unsparing in her criticism of her husband’s successor, and she takes aim at Trump’s racist rhetoric and his years of falsely insisting that Barack was not born in the United States”: Washington Post.

10 Auckland Architecture: A Walking Guide by John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds (Massey University Press, $20)

Auckland architecture.


1 Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)

2 Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber, $23)


3 Collected Poems of Fleur Adcock by Fleur Adcock (Victoria University Press, $50)

The waffle on the flyleaf of her first collection of poems, The Eye of the Hurricane (1964), is good for all seasons: “Her treatment of the man/woman relationship gives to New Zealand literature a new and important area of adult expression…There is scrupulous honesty of observation, a beauty of phrasing, and a psychological intensity about these poems that sets one fairly shivering with admiration.”

Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, $60)


5 Becoming by Michelle Obama (Viking, $55)

6 Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion (Text, $37)


7 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins, $25)

Popular novel.

8 Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber, $33)

Winner of the 2018 Man Booker prize for fiction.

9 The Wall by John Lanchester (Faber, $33)

10 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (Jonathan Cape, $38)

Deepish thoughts.

Keep going!