Only 39 shopping days till Xmas! Get in early and peruse the week’s bestselling books at the Unity stores in Willis St, Wellington, and High St, Auckland.
1 Tart & Bitter: Four Decades of Dining Nightmares by David Burton (Potton & Burton, $30)
2 The Friday Poem: 100 New Zealand poems edited by Steve Braunias (Luncheon Sausage Books, $25)
One hundred poems from 61 authors: this is the anthology of New Zealand poetry to gift this Christmas, with a mix of established names (Bill Manhire, Fleur Adcock, Kevin Ireland, poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh), new stars (Tayi Tibble, Claudia Jardine, Joy Holley, Hera Lindsay Bird), complete nobodies and Colin Craig, all taken from The Friday Poem series these past crazy four years at the Spinoff. Includes epic 5000-word Introduction. Wow!
3 Theo Schoon: A biography by Damian Skinner (Massey University Press, $60)
Wonderfully illustrated portrait of an eminent artist. PR blurbology: “Theo Schoon was fascinating, unorthodox, controversial, pioneering and at times reckless…The art he pioneered and promoted – Māori rock drawings, the drawings of a psychiatric patient, Māori moko and kōwhaiwhai, the abstract patterns of geothermal activity in Rotorua – were decisive for many other New Zealand artists…This superb, highly illustrated biography by one of New Zealand’s best art writers examines Schoon’s claims on the development of art and culture in Aotearoa in the twentieth century.”
4 Māori Made Easy: For everyday learners of the Māori language by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Books, $38)
Required reading for generations of New Zealanders.
5 Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)
The novel that many thought ought to have won the 2018 Man Booker award.
6 Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber, $33)
The novel that won the 2018 Man Booker award.
7 Past Tense by Lee Child (Bantam, $38)
8 Karori Confidential by Leah McFall (Luncheon Sausage Books, $25)
Luncheon Sausage Books is on a roll: the boutique publisher has two books in the top 10 this week – poetry at number two, and witty, luminous columns at number eight, the latter by Sunday magazine’s Leah McFall, who has written one of the best New Zealand books of the year.
9 Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking (John Murray, $35)
“Certain of Hawking’s assertions may be considered questionable and at times myopic. As an ardent advocate of space travel, he believes, ‘Not to leave planet Earth would be like castaways on a desert island not trying to escape.’ Indeed, he goes much further and claims that space colonization is the only hope for the survival of the human race after the ‘almost inevitable’ destruction of Earth, which he predicts will happen within the next 1000 years”: Science magazine.
10 Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, $60)
We look forward to the forthcoming review by Linda Burgess.
1 The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson (MacMillian, $35)
Manson’s next book, due for release in April-May 2019, has the working title Everything is Fucked: A book about hope.
2 Flame by Leonard Cohen (Canongate, $45)
You told me again you preferred handsome men
But for me you would make an exception
3 Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber & Faber, $33)
4 Ice Monster by David Walliams & Tony Ross (Harper Collins, $25)
Walliams! Ugh. Illustrated story of an orphan and a woolly mammoth for ages 7-12, from the awesome children’s bookstore Little Unity at 31 Vulcan Lane right next to big Unity.
5 Written in History: Letters that changed the world by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Widenfeld & Nicholson, $40)
6 Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $23)
“A menage a quatre in post-crash Dublin tests the bonds between close friends….Rooney writes so well of the condition of being a young, gifted but self-destructive woman, both the mentality and physicality of it”: Guardian.
7 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Collectors Library, $15)
A new edition of the 1943 classic, from the awesome children’s bookstore Little Unity at 31 Vulcan Lane right next to big Unity.
8 Past Tense by Lee Child (Bantam, $38)
9 Animalphabet by Julia Donaldson & Sharon King-Chai (Two Hoots, $28)
Fold-out elephants and such for pre-schoolers, from the awesome children’s bookstore Little Unity at 31 Vulcan Lane right next to big Unity.
10 Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (Picador, $38)
A YA novel – narrated by Death! – from the awesome children’s bookstore Little Unity at 31 Vulcan Lane right next to big Unity.
The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.