The weekly best-seller chart at Unity stores in Auckland and Wellington, for the week just ended: November 18
1 The Shops (Luncheon Sausage Books, $40) by Steve Braunias and Peter Black
It’s not really about shops at all, it’s actually an evocation of the profound melancholy and unexpected beauty of ordinary New Zealand life, but certainly there are stories and images of shops in the introductory memoir by author Steve Braunias and the 44 photographs by Peter Black, who is one of the great colourists of the age; in any case, it’s an awesome book.
2 The Sellout (Oneworld Publications, $28) by Paul Beatty
Winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize but not as popular as The Shops.
3 My Father’s Island: A Memoir (Victoria University press, $35) by Adam Dudding
Outstanding memoir by the winner of the 2016 Wintec Press Club Best Writer in New Zealand Journalism Award, presented last week; his book, centred on his unusual, depressive, brilliant literary father, is bound to feature in next week’s longlist for the Ockham national book awards.
4 Grant and I: Inside and Outside the Go-Betweens (Hamish Hamilton, $40) by Robert Forster
“Robert Forster writes a moving, definitive portrait the Go-Betweens deserve…The heart of Forster’s memoir is his friendship with Grant McLennan, but it skirts the topic of heroin that hangs over it like a shadow”: The Guardian, in a four-star review.
5 Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton, $37) by Deborah Levy
“A difficult, ambivalent, precious mother-daughter relationship forms the core of this beautiful, clever novel”: The Independent.
6 Islands: A New Zealand Journey (Godwit, $80) by Bruce Ansley
Not as popular as The Shops but quality illustrated non-fiction nonetheless, with photos by the legendary Jane Ussher.
7 Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920 (Bridget Williams Books, $60) by Ben Schrader
New Zealand cities, 1840-1920.
8 The Great War for New Zealand 1800-2000 (Bridget Williams Books, $80) by Vincent O’Malley
“I believe O’Malley’s book is the most significant history title to be published in New Zealand in a generation. There is no other book that shows such depth of scholarship, fine judgment, and skill in narrating such significant events but also connecting them to the present. It should be owned by every New Zealander who wants to understand their country”: Aaron Smale, Mana magazine.
9 A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Story in Our Genes (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $40) by Adam Rutherford
4.22 rating on Good Reads.
10 Annual (Gecko Press, $40) Edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris
Xmas bumper annual for kids FT stories, puzzles, drawings and something by the ever-popular Steve Braunias.
1 Sellout: A Novel (Oneworld, $28) by Paul Beatty
2 The Shops (Luncheon Sausage Books, $40) by Steve Braunias and Peter Black
3 Swing Time (Hamish Hamilton, $37) by Zadie Smith
We have received Elizabeth Heritage’s review of Smith’s latest novel and we will post it anon. Spoiler alert: she kind of thought it sucked.
4 The Sympathizer (Piatkus, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen
“My book has something to offend everyone,” bragged the author, but actually it’s been a very well-received, not especially controversial novel which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
5 Marlborough Man (HarperCollins, $55) by Allan Scott
Memoir by one of the pioneers of the Marlborough wine industry.
6 Hanging Tree #6 Rivers of London (Gollancz, $35) by Ben Aaronovitch
Publisher’s blurbology: “The Hanging Tree was the Tyburn gallows which stood where Marble Arch stands today. Oxford Street was the last trip of the condemned. Somethings don’t change. The place has a bloody and haunted legacy and now blood has returned to the empty Mayfair mansions of the world’s super-rich. And blood mixed with magic is a job for Peter Grant.”
7 My Father’s Island (Victoria University Press, $35) by Adam Dudding
8 Rather be the Devil (Orion, $38) by Ian Rankin
“Sparks fly as Rankin’s much-loved detective tackles an unsolved murder from the 1970s”: The Guardian.
9 Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved & Died in the 1940s (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, $40) by Anne Sebba
We have received Linda Burgess’s review of this extremely popular history and we will post it anon. Spoiler alert: she loved it.
10 Murdoch: The Political Cartoons of Sharon Murdoch (Potton & Burton, $40) by Sharon Murdoch
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.