Photo by Jorge Fern·ndez/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Jorge Fern·ndez/LightRocket via Getty Images

BooksAugust 16, 2019

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending August 16

Photo by Jorge Fern·ndez/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Jorge Fern·ndez/LightRocket via Getty Images

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 Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $23)

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2  An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Vintage, $37)

Winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

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

Toby rulz! 

4  The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson (MacMillan, $35)

Why do we suddenly give a f*ck about this guy, again? 

5  Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Sandstone, $27)

Winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize; stand by for a review.

6  Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $23)

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7 Little by Edward Carey (Gallic Books, $32)

“The greatest waxwork in Madame Tussauds is of Tussaud herself. A very small old woman, with a large nose and chin, dressed in suitably chilling Victorian bombazine, stands guard over the rest of the wax populace. There’s something mythical about her, as if she were a character from folklore or fairytale. There’s something a little cockroachy about her, too. She feels made up, she seems like a story. But she was a real person” – the author, writing about his book, in the Guardian.

8  Ordinary People by Diana Evans (Random House, $26)

“The four thirtysomethings have reached an aporia: ‘Adult life has fully revealed itself, wearing a limp, grey dressing gown’” – the New Yorker 

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

“I had no idea how to write a story or a narrative when I started. And I was pretty bad at it. I have a writing group in London, and they were brutal. They would say to me, ‘This is really shitty. It’s really bad.’” – the author, interviewed by Vanity Fair

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

“Plenty of people had stories about sex they didn’t mind sharing. But I was looking for this underlying, more terrifying thing…” – the author, interviewed by Time



1  AUP New Poets 5: Carolyn DeCarlo, Sophie van Waardenberg & Rebecca Hawkes edited by Anna Jackson (Auckland University Press, $30)

“The cat bodies are pink and black/ as pigs below the fur,” DeCarlo, ‘Tetrachromacy’

2  How to Live by Helen Rickerby (Auckland University Press, $25)

“If Helen Rickerby is New Zealand’s most intellectually exciting writer (and I think she is), it is not although but because she writes always as a poet, with a poet’s interest always in form… And she’s funny” – Anna Jackson, in her launch speech

3  The Boyfriend by Laura Southgate (Victoria University Press, $30)

Donny, said boyfriend, is viciously awful: pathetic and bombastic and violent and gaslighty; Southgate deserves a prize just for sticking with him long enough to write the darned thing. Here’s an extract

4  Brain Connections: How To Sleep Better, Worry Less & Feel Happier by Giresh Kanji (Pain Publications, $36)

Spoiler: I did a minimal amount of research and the answer is exercise. 

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

Ends: “Further north, in the South Auckland region, young people are prominent in efforts to protect the historic Ōtuataua Stonefields from a proposed housing development. The stonefields lie in an area where local Māori were forcibly evicted in 1863, before having their lands confiscated.”

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

7  Big Sky by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday, $38)

A sixth Jackson Brodie novel is underway, Atkinson says, this time an homage to Agatha Christie. “They’re stranded in a snow storm in a country house hotel during a murder mystery weekend. What more could you want?”

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

9  Out of Our Minds: A History of What We Think and How We Think It by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (Oneworld, $35)

“He’s unimpressed by the results of the eight or nine millennia after the evolution of agriculture; he observes disapprovingly, ‘the turnover seems relatively torpid and timid’” – the Evening Standard

10  Nailing Down the Saint by Craig Cliff (Penguin Random House, $38)

Near the start there’s an excellent scene where the guy’s watching porn in the loo and it streams to the TV in the lounge – where his son and in-laws are watching Aladdin

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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