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The new historical novel by Lauren Keenan. Image design by Tina Tiller.
The new historical novel by Lauren Keenan. Image design by Tina Tiller.

BooksMarch 15, 2024

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending March 15

The new historical novel by Lauren Keenan. Image design by Tina Tiller.
The new historical novel by Lauren Keenan. Image design by 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.


1 Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (Faber & Faber, $25)

May the reign of Claire Keegan’s beautifully packaged short stories continue. Keegan is beaming into Wānaka’s Aspiring Conversations next month, alongside writer Audrey McGee, to speak with The Spinoff’s books editor Claire Mabey about telling Ireland’s stories.

2 Poor Things by Alasdair Gray (Bloomsbury UK, $33)

The book is much better than the film.

3 Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan (Faber & Faber, $25)

First published in 2007, this collection is riding the wave of Keegan’s unstoppable reputation as the writer of some of the best short stories in contemporary literature. Anne Enright herself is a fan: “What makes this collection a particular joy is the run and pleasure of the language. When a couple gets up to dance, he leads her across the floorboards “same as a cat’s tongue moves along a saucer of cream”. This is how she works the reader, with playfulness, skill and flow, though after the dance comes the chill: “The experience was like almost everything; it wasn’t a patch on what it could have been.” You might say the same of books; but not of this one, not this time.”

4 Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson (Vermillion, $30)

Relate? Here’s the publisher’s blurb: “Erikson will help you understand yourself better, hone communication and social skills, handle conflict with confidence, improve dynamics with your boss and team, and get the best out of the people you deal with and manage. He also shares simple tricks on body language, improving written communication and advice on when to back away or when to push on, and when to speak up or indeed shut up. Packed with ‘aha!’ and ‘oh no!’ moments, Surrounded by Idiots will help you understand and influence those around you, even people you currently think are beyond all comprehension.”

5 Trust by Diaz Hernan (Picador, $28)

Money, money, money, moneeeey. This is a novel about power and greed and human foible and guile. Need more? Here’s a very astute review on the NY Times. 

6 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Vintage, $26)

And today, again.

7 The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue (Little Brown, $38)

On Good Reads, O’Donoghue has self-reviewed with this pithy line: “I wrote this book, and it’s a banger.” Other good readers appear to agree with a multitude of three-star plus reviews praising the book’s wit, morally dubious characters, and liking the story to Rooney’s Conversations with Friends.

8 Burma Sahib by Paul Theroux (Hamish Hamilton, $37)

A fictionalised account of Orwell’s Burma years.

9 The Financial Colonisation of Aotearoa by Catherine Comyn (Self Published, $30)

Longlisted for this year’s Ockhams, this book is the result of ground-breaking PhD research. Read an interview about the book on The Spinoff, here

10 The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel (MacMillan, $35)

More about money and how people are crazy on it.


1 The Space Between by Lauren Keenan (Penguin, $37)

Congratulations to Lauren Keenan, who just launched this stunning historical novel. Carol Brungar on Kete Books said, “Wow, I finished Lauren Keenan’s debut novel, The Space Between, in record time, and it’s as though I have taken part in a gripping New Zealand history lesson. I feel as though I stepped through a portal to glimpse the poverty and hardship experienced in an 1860s Taranaki settlement on the brink of the New Zealand Wars.”

Look out for an article by Keenan on The Spinoff this weekend, about the objects that inspired The Space Between.

2 Bird Child & Other Stories by Patricia Grace (Penguin, $37)

The brilliant Patricia Grace’s latest book is a collection of short stories in three parts. Rangimarie Sophie Jolley wrote a luminous review of the book – and interviewed Grace about it – right here on The Spinoff.

3 Strong Female Character by Fern Brady (Brazen, $28)

A memoir by brave and brilliant Scottish comedian. See her at the Comedy Festival in May!

4 Prophet Song by Paul Lynch (Oneworld, $37)

The booker prize winner is coming to Auckland Writers Festival and we can’t wait!

5 Kitten by Olive Nuttall (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $30)

The horny and delightful and moving and  immersive debut novel by historical fencing enthusiast Olive Nuttall, who spoke with fellow writer Sylvan Spring in a wildly vivid, funny and beautiful conversation that you can read on The Spinoff, here.

6 BBQ Economics: How Money Works & Why It Matters by Liam Dann (Penguin, $40)

Actually really interesting and easy to read walk through different perspectives on economics!

7 One Day by David Nicholls (Hodder, $28)

The 2009 book that inspired the so-so 2011 movie with Anne Hathaway, and the much better 2024 Netflix adaptation. 

8 The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin (Canongate, $55)

We’re used to this book being up in the Auckland list. Welligntonian’s have caught the creative bug, so it seems.

9 The Financial Colonisation of Aotearoa by Catherine Comyn (Economic & Social Research Aotearoa, $30)

10 The Bee Sting by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton, $37)

The almost Booker-Prize winner and the fifth Irish book to appear on this chart, today. You can find out more about why Irish literature is having such a great time at this session at Auckland Writers Festival.

Keep going!