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BooksAugust 19, 2016

The weekly Unity Books best-seller list – August 19

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1 Can You Tolerate This? (Victoria University Press, $30) by Ashleigh Young

Essays of genius and insight by the finest writer of prose in New Zealand. “She leads us…into the mystery that is our life,” wrote reviewer Tim Upperton at the Spinoff.

2 Selected Poems of Jenny Bornholdt (Victoria University Press, $40)

The Spinoff Review of Books is nothing but up with the play, constantly, and today’s Friday Poem just happens to be by Jenny Bornholdt.

3 Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press, $25)

The Wintec Press Club is nothing but up with the play, constantly, and the guest speaker at today’s invite-only free lunch extravaganza in Hamilton just happens to be Hera Lindsay Bird.

4 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II (Little Brown, $50) by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

Spinoff staffer Madeleine Chapman wrote a live blog on the day it was released, and turned SPOILER ALERTS into an art: “Whaaaat Harry just put his █████ on Hermione’s ████████ and then █████ her!”

5 Things That Matter: Stories of Life & Death from an Intensive Care Specialist (Allen & Unwin, $37) by Dr David Galler

The good doctor was profiled recently at Stuff, and said, “I commonly talk about health in terms of ‘health for what?’ What’s the purpose of having a health system? Yeah, we want people to be healthy, but why? To sleep in cars in south Auckland? To live in shit homes in Porirua and Waitangirua and Mangere? That’s crap, isn’t it.”

6 Interregnum (Bridget Williams Books, $15) edited by Morgan Godfrey

Bridget Williams Books blurbology: “Is New Zealand’s political settlement beginning to fray? And does this mean we’re entering the interregnum, that ambiguous moment between society-wide discontent and political change? Ten of New Zealand’s sharpest emerging thinkers gather to debate the…”, etc etc.

7 Silk Roads (Bloomsbury, $28) by Peter Frankopen

Homer Simpson voice: “BOR-ING!”

8 The Vegetarian (Portobello, $23) by Han Kang

Spinoff reviewer Wyoming Paul, summarising one of the year’s most popular literary novels: “After a violent and disturbing nightmare, an ordinary Korean woman decides to stop eating meat…Her behaviour becomes increasingly extreme and harmful to her own health, spiralling into mental illness as she detaches from her life and her previous self.”

9 The New Zealand Labour Party 1916-2016 (VUP, $50) by Peter Franks & Jim McAloon

Victoria University Press blurbology: “It shows how a party founded in a male-dominated trade union movement grew—sometimes with difficulty—to embrace and advocate for the aspirations of women, Māori, Pasifika peoples, and rainbow communities.”

10 The Notorious Captain Hayes: The Remarkable True Story of the Pirate of the Pacific (HarperCollins, $37) by Joan Druett

Ripping yarn.


1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II (Little Brown, $50) by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

2 Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press, $50)

3 Tide: The Science and Lore of the Greatest Force on Earth (Viking, $40) by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

“A scholarly survey of the history of tides…Enlightening”: The Guardian.

White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World (Text, $37) by Geoff Dyer

White schtick.

5 Things That Matter: Stories of Life & Death from an Intensive Care Specialist (Allen & Unwin, $37) by Dr David Galler

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

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

7 A Manual For Cleaning Women (Picador, $33) by Lucia Berlin

“The author’s eventful life provides the subject matter for stories pierced with loneliness and shame in a collection of great emotional range”: The Guardian.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta, $33) by Madeleine Thien

Longlisted for this year’s Man Booker.

9 Tuesday Nights in 1980 (Hamish Hamilton, $37) by Molly Prentiss

“At a New Year’s Eve party in Manhattan we meet James, a young art critic swept up by his recent professional success. Watching James is Raul, a troubled painter hungry for exposure. Their meeting sets off a tragic chain of events that reveals the ruthlessness of urban life”: Financial Times.

10 The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money (Oneworld, $28) by Frederik Obermaier & Bastian Obermayer

Follow the money! Such as the mysterious bank transfer for $500 million in gold, and other revelations by two investigative journalists.

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
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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