(Photo: Chaloner Woods/Getty Images)
(Photo: Chaloner Woods/Getty Images)

BooksOctober 16, 2020

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending October 16

(Photo: Chaloner Woods/Getty Images)
(Photo: Chaloner Woods/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  Take Your Space: Successful Women Share Their Secrets by Rachel Petero and Jo Cribb (OneTree House, $34)

Painting, law, finance, photography, business, sport, activism of all stripes: 14 women are featured here and their successes are many and varied.

2  Paul Dibble X: A Decade of Sculpture 2010–2020 by Paul and Fran Dibble (Bateman, $100 hardback, $69.99 paperback)

Via the publisher: ” … human figures and native New Zealand flora and fauna have been among Dibble’s oft-revisited subjects, his work refining these figures to their simplest forms. Yet, while the forms may be simplified, the implied sense of movement, the anticipation of action and captured emotion are paramount.

Dibble is one of a select number of sculptors who cast their own bronze work, often in larger-then-life scale, creating a powerful effect.”

3  The Overstory by Richard Powers (Vintage Australia, $26)

Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. One of the most affecting books we’ve read; this review by Susan Wardell comes close to conveying its bigness, but also, please read the book. It’s about trees.

4  Ottolenghi: Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage (Ebury, $60)

Grilled figs with shaoxing dressing. Rainbow chard with tomatoes and green olives. Berry platter with sheep’s labneh and orange oil.

5  All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins, $35)

From the author of 2018 hit Boy Swallows Universe.

“Dalton’s insights are best when he writes about class and the damage done by toxic masculinity … With surprising nuance, Dalton explores the reasons that men inherit patterns of abuse at the same time as he punishes abusers and rewards his male characters who disrupt these behaviours” – the Guardian

6  Vesper Flights by Helen MacDonald (Jonathan Cape, $38)

Essays, by the author of H Is for Hawk.

From the Guardian again: “Meditations about ‘death and sex and mushrooms’ sit alongside memories of buck hares fighting in the spring; encounters with wild boar muscle up against the extraordinary aerial spectacle of millions of migratory birds witnessed above the Empire State Building, or the strange tale of Britain’s spy chief who tried to tame a cuckoo, or the eccentricities of ornithologists when they flock together.”

7  Aroha: Māori Wisdom for a Contended Life Lived in Harmony with our Planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin, $30)

“He aha te kai a te rangatira? He kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero.

What is the food of leaders? It is communication.”

8  The Survivors by Jane Harper (MacMillan, $35)

Aussie thriller from a beloved author. Here’s a Booktopia review: “Evelyn Bay is as alive to me as the drought-stricken town of Kiewarra from The Dry, the menacing wilderness of The Giralang Ranges in Force of Nature and the vast sun-baked sands of outback Queensland in The Lost Man. And now we have Evelyn Bay … a place that is dominated by seas and storms. The inexorable rise and fall of the tides, the destructive fury of the ocean, the dark allure of the fathomless caves and the ominous cawing of birds all combine to create a very distinct mood.”

9  Just Like You by Nick Hornby (Viking, $37)

” … a 42-year-old white English teacher falls in love with a 22-year-old Black man in the months before the EU referendum. It’s a perky, north London-set romcom that poses the question – against the polarising glare of Brexit – of what ties two people together” – Stuff

10 Life On Our Planet: My Witness Statement and Vision for the Planet by David Attenborough (Ebury Press, $45)

Checking the letterbox every two seconds for our review copy.


1  The Death of Music Journalism by Simon Sweetman (Cuba Press, $25)

A collection of poems.

Cuba Press says: “He writes about late-night encounters on the phone with rock stars, hanging out as a student in Wellington flats, the simplicity of time spent with family and the unpredictable life of a freelance music reviewer, and what happens when these things occasionally intersect.”

2  All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins, $35)

3  Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press, $35)

“Chidgey’s novel suggests that sympathy is never out of date, not ever out of fashion, and our ability to care for people unlike ourselves is something to cherish and nourish, lest division forces us apart” – Josie Shapiro, at Read Close

4  More Than A Woman by Caitlin Moran (Ebury Press, $35)

In this interview with Kim Hill, Moran said a woman in middle age is “the fifth emergency service for those around you”.

Also: “Without exception the women that I know who are doing well in their jobs and are flourishing and happy, married men who do at least 50% of the housework and child care. And without exception the ones who are struggling and unhappy married men who don’t.”

5  A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin (Orion, $38)

“The ‘dark times’ are not the virus … In September 2019 when I started writing this book I thought, well we’re going through a fairly dark period in world history. How little did I know?” – Rankin, via YouTube

6  Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

An absolute stalwart of these lists, approaching Sally Rooney-level.

7  Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given (Cassell, $38)

Via the publishers, except they had it in bold:

“WOMEN DON’T OWE YOU PRETTY will tell you to …
love sex, hate sexism,
protect your goddamn energy,
life is short, dump them,
And that you owe men nothing, least of all pretty.”

8  The Survivors by Jane Harper (Macmillan, $35)

9  Jack by Marilynne Robinson (Little, Brown, $38)

“In the previous books, Robinson offered Jack to readers through the eyes of others. A strange and destructive child, he didn’t just vanish at inconvenient moments; he blew up mailboxes, stole things for the sake of stealing them, drank, skipped church, and was generally unbiddable. ‘There was an aloofness about him,’ Glory recalls. ‘More thoroughgoing than modesty or reticence. It was feral, and fragile.’ He is also, as a child and then as a man, intensely thoughtful, a voracious reader, gentle in his manner, oddly bewitching. He has been plagued from a very young age by a deep feeling of estrangement. For some reason no one can quite understand or articulate – himself least of all – he is set apart, unlike his family or neighbors” – The Atlantic

10 Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso (Godwit, $65)

Here’s a photo essay about Fiso and her restaurant. It’s by Amber-Jayne Bain, who contributed much of the photography in this gorgeous, landmark book.

Keep going!