Image: Ian Amupong, iStock, via Getty
Image: Ian Amupong, iStock, via Getty

BooksJanuary 17, 2020

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending January 17

Image: Ian Amupong, iStock, via Getty
Image: Ian Amupong, iStock, via Getty

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.


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

WTAF Auckland

2  The Truants by Kate Weinberg (Bloomsbury, $33)

Agatha Christie + The Secret History 

3  Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador, $20)

“I want to cushion this … ” – Ralph McAllister, before absolutely savaging the book on RNZ.

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

Hypothesis: January 2020 has driven us all to comfort reading.

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

Sally Rooney Sally Rooney Sally Rooney

6  Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury, $33)

“Satirizes the white pursuit of wokeness” – The Atlantic.

 All Who Live On Islands by Rose Lu (Victoria University Press, $30)

“I accepted being Chinese only when I had learned enough about China to see that any blanket statement about a country of 1.4 billion people was meaningless.”

McCahon Country by Justin Paton (Penguin, $75)

“In Sydney, at the moment we’re under a blanket of smoke. My son said today when he woke up, “it doesn’t smell like smoke, it smells like fire”. And I look at McCahon’s environmentalist and apocalyptic works and think, yes. We could all go to a symposium and talk about whether Rothko influenced him directly or not. And I’m nerdily interested in that question! But at the same time how about the question of McCahon and his paintings’ relationship to this planet that is finite and threatened?” – the author, to The Spinoff’s Art section.

9  The Cockroach by Ian McEwan (Penguin, $20)

Waking up as a cockroach wouldn’t be all bad, I mean they are quite good at surviving apocalypses right?

10 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff (Profile Books, $28)

“Many years ago – in 1988, to be precise – as one of the first female professors at Harvard Business School to hold an endowed chair she published a landmark book, The Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, which changed the way we thought about the impact of computerisation on organisations and on work … And then Zuboff appeared to go quiet, though she was clearly incubating something bigger. The first hint of what was to come was a pair of startling essays – one in an academic journal in 2015, the other in a German newspaper in 2016. What these revealed was that she had come up with a new lens through which to view what Google, Facebook et al were doing – nothing less than spawning a new variant of capitalism.” – the Guardian.


1  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, $40)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

2  All Who Live On Islands by Rose Lu (Victoria University Press, $30)

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

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox (Victoria University Press, $35)

It has been a joy and a pleasure to have The Absolute Book bumping round my brain this last month or so.

5  We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall & Tim Denee (Massey University Press, $70)

Did you get it for Christmas? Were you stoked?

6  Ottolenghi: Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, $60)

Because right now our gardens runneth over with courgettes and mint.

7  Māori Made Easy: For Everyday Learners of the Māori Language by Scotty Morrison (Penguin, $38)

“By committing just 30 minutes a day for 30 weeks, learners will adopt the language easily and as best suits their busy lives.” – Penguin.

8  Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow (Fleet, $38)

“The behavior documented in “Catch and Kill” is obviously and profoundly distressing — not just the horrific abuse, but the various methods available to moneyed men who want to keep women silent, and the many ways they try to rationalize their behavior to others and themselves. But there are some hopeful threads, too.” – the New York Times.

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

10  The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charles Mackesy (Ebury Press, $40)

Winnie the Pooh made new – via Instagram, of course.

Keep going!