A wonderful bubble. Indoors, happy and healthy. Photo: Istock.
A wonderful bubble. Indoors, happy and healthy. Photo: Istock.

BooksJune 17, 2016

The weekly Unity Books best-seller list – June 17

A wonderful bubble. Indoors, happy and healthy. Photo: Istock.
A wonderful bubble. Indoors, happy and healthy. Photo: Istock.

A weekly feature at the Spinoff Review of Books: The best-selling books at the Wellington and Auckland stores of Unity Books.



1. In Love with These Times: The Flying Nun Story (HarperCollins, $37) by Roger Shepherd

You’ve bought the book (or should), now read the brilliant essay about it.

2. Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley (Victoria University Press, $30) by Danyl Mclauchlan

A mystery novel set in Wellington’s cold, dark abyss. Featuring no less than three toilets; and here are five things the author was thinking about while writing it.

3. The Sympathizer (Little Brown, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer award for fiction so it must be good.

4. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Profile Books, $28) by Mary Beard

Wellingtonian history buffs still can’t get enough of Ponsonby Road’s B-list celebrity stamping ground.

5. The Vegetarian: A Novel (Portobello Books, $23) by Han Kang

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker prize for international fiction so it must be good – in fact, writes Wyoming Paul in her Spinoff review, it’s awesome.

6. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus (Penguin, $40) by Douglas Rushkoff

The downfalls of digital technology. Uber is bad, Airbnb is bad, everything is bad, etc.

7. The Improbability of Love (Bloomsbury, $21) by Hannah Rothschild

“Annie McDee, alone after the disintegration of her long-term relationship and trapped in a dead-end job, is searching for a present for her unsuitable lover in a neglected second-hand shop…”. Debut novel by UK writer.

8. When Breath Becomes Air (Random House, $37) by Paul Kalanithi

A neurosurgeon who makes a living saving the dying ends up with cancer himself. What is the meaning of life, and so on.

9. In the Supplementary Garden (Cold Hub Press, $40) by Diana Bridge

New Zealand poetry in the best-seller chart!!!

10. In Gratitude (Bloomsbury, $30) by Jenny Diski

Marion McLeod reviews not just “another fucking cancer diary“.



1. In Love with These Times: The Flying Nun Story (HarperCollins, $37) by Roger Shepherd

2. A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld, $25) by Marlon James

A surprise reappearance on the chart by the winner of the 2015 Man Booker prize.

3. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone(Canongate, $40) by Olivia Laing

A sort-of memoir about loneliness in which a lonely woman becomes more lonely by immersing herself in artists whose work seems “troubled by loneliness”.

4. The Sympathizer(Corsair, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen

5. East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $40) by Philippe Sands

Memoir by a human rights lawyer, with the “density of a first-rate thriller.”

6. The Unraveling (Atlantic, $25) by Emma Sky

An insider’s account of how and why the Iraq adventure failed. #fail

7. Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $28) by Henry Marsh

A man who operates on brains provides terrifying insights into brain operations.

8. How Did We Get into This Mess? (Verso, $39) by George Monbiot

Everything is bad.

9. High Rise (Fourth Estate, $23) by JG Ballard

Ballard’s 1975 novel has been re-released as a movie tie-in.

10. All four of the Elena Ferrante ‘Neapolitan Novels’

My Brilliant Friend (Text, $30) by Elena Ferrante

The Story of a New Name (Text, $30) by Elena Ferrante

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (Text, $30) by Elena Ferrante

The Story of the Lost Child (Text, $37) by Elena Ferrante

Yes, Ferrante, she’s amazing, but – Aucklanders! You’re so fickle! How come you’ve all of a sudden stopped buying Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life? It was number one for weeks, months actually – and now it’s nowhere! What’s with that?

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
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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