Cannot stop thinking about how she gets out or breathes or turns a page without the book getting wet. (Photo: Enrique Diaz, Getty.)

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending October 16

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 (this week we totted up the data a day early, on Wednesday, to let our books ed. check out for a bit. Business as usual next week).


1  The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $55)

To NPR, on the death of George Washington: “And then in the end, they drained about 40% of his blood from him, and of course, this had exactly the opposite effect of making him better; it made him much worse. And he died … essentially, he was killed by his doctors.”

2  The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House, $35)

We (stupidly) asked on Twitter for a reviewer and we were beset. Swarmed. Overcome. Sorry to everyone we couldn’t say yes to. 

3  The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus, $48)

Winner, together with Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, of the 2019 Booker Prize. 

4  Cockroach by Ian McEwan (Vintage, $20)

PR: “Kafka meets The Thick Of It … “

5  Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair (HarperCollins, $35)


From RNZ:  

Although there’s no consensus from scientists on what a perfect diet looks like, Sinclair says that, after 20 years of study, [Sinclair has] concluded it’s not necessarily about what you eat, but when you eat.

“The worst thing I think you could do, based on the research, is always feel satisfied, be snacking throughout the day, and don’t stand up and don’t walk and don’t run – these are things you have to avoid if your body’s going to use the longevity genes to the maximum.”

6  The Anarchy: the relentless rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple (Bloomsbury, $33)

Excellent, even-handed writing on “a supreme act of corporate violence”. 

7  The Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Bloomsbury, $33)

From the epilogue: “This is what I know. My brother is dead. My mother is dead. My father is dead. My husband is dead. My cat is dead. And my dog who was dead in 1957 is still dead. Yet still I keep thinking that something wonderful is about to happen. Maybe tomorrow. A tomorrow following a whole succession of tomorrows.” 

8  Auckland Architecture: A Walking Guide by John Walsh & Patrick Reynolds (Massey University Press, $20)

Back for summer 2019!

9  Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, $65)

The sunniest springtime zing-zing cover you ever did see. 

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

“The woman’s body was wasted, but she was smooth-skinned and youthful. The branching blue veins in the hollows of her temples were clearly visible. Her bony arms were softly threaded blue. Her eyes were clear and her eyelashes were glossy and black. She looked like a very young person who has been deathly ill and is convalescing.”


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

Honestly this is spectacular. By rights it will become as ubiquitous as that big blue Union-Jacked Reed New Zealand Atlas was when we were kids. (A Spinoff review and extract are in the works.)

2  The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House, $35)

3  Rebuilding the Kāinga: Lessons from Te Ao Hurihuri, by Jade Kake (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

“I firmly believe that while our social aims should be radical, our tactics are necessarily pragmatic, because we need to be effective. We cannot afford to be otherwise.”

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

5  The Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Bloomsbury, $33)

6  The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $55)

7  The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus, $48)

8  No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin, $8)

A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.

9  The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury, $33)

“Danny was a very easy character for me to write because, oddly enough, I have known many men who are smart and charming and funny and interesting, who have no understanding of the fact that their whole life is built on the shoulders of the women who carry them around.” – the author, to Time

10 Big Ideas for Small Houses by Catherine Foster (Penguin, $50)

“The reclaimed Oregon pine lining looks and smells like raw timber. It even creaks like a tree …

Ellen and Pearse, however, love it. “It drips sap in summer, but the smell is definitely our favourite part of the house – it’s a wonderful thing to come home to.”

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