Want to feel old? Somehow it’s 20 years since the first LOTR movie (Image: Supplied)
Want to feel old? Somehow it’s 20 years since the first LOTR movie (Image: Supplied)

BooksNovember 19, 2021

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending November 19

Want to feel old? Somehow it’s 20 years since the first LOTR movie (Image: Supplied)
Want to feel old? Somehow it’s 20 years since the first LOTR movie (Image: Supplied)

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.

AUCKLAND

1  Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)

One new Rooney to rule them all. 

2  Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster, $35)

Battling it out for number one with the New Rooney is the New Doerr! The bestselling author of All the Light We Cannot See has a new novel about the power of stories, which spans millennia. We vouch for its amazingness and superiority. 

3  The Promise by Damon Galgut (Chatto & Windus, $37)

This 2021 Booker Winning novel already has its own Wikipedia page, the ultimate badge of worldly success. Harper’s Magazine writes that, “Like other remarkable novels, it is uniquely itself, and greater than the sum of its parts. The Promise evokes when you reach the final page, a profound interior shift that is all but physical. This, as an experience of art, happens only rarely, and is to be prized.” And yes, we sourced that quote from The Promise’s Wikipedia page.

4  EM-PA-THY: The Human Side of Leadership by Harold Hillman (Bateman, $30)

Have a boss? Prefer empathy to being raked over the coals? This book could be your Secret Santa gift of choice this year.

5  Shifting Grounds: Deep Histories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland by Lucy Mackintosh (Bridget Williams Books, $60)

The histories of three iconic areas of Tāmaki Makaurau are explored in depth – Pukekawa/Auckland Domain, Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill and the Ōtuataua Stonefields at Ihumātao. 

Anne Salmond says Shifting Grounds is a “marvellous book that illuminates the stories of these much loved landscapes in new and striking ways. After reading Shifting Grounds you see these places differently, and treasure them all the more.”

6  Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen (4th Estate, $35)

The first of a new trilogy, where Franzen returns to his most fertile creative ground: the dysfunctional Midwestern family. You might ask, “But if I’ve read The Corrections or Freedom, haven’t I read it all?” According to The Spectator, things in the Franzen universe have changed, and for the better – “Now less inclined to show off, Franzen is more assiduous in his excavation of character. We get less dazzle and a deeper dive.” Jump on in!

7  Too Much Money: How Wealth Disparities Are Unbalancing Aotearoa New Zealand by Max Rashbrooke (Bridget Williams Books, $40)

Wealth inequality has blossomed like mould in Aotearoa, and this new Rashbrooke delves into the spores, rhizoids, and sporangium (that is, the detail) like never before. How does wealth affect opportunities and outcomes? What are the social implications, and how do they touch each of our lives? Open the book to see, and stand by for a review.

8  Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad (Ebury Press, $55)

We shouldn’t play cookbook favourites, so you can read between the lines of this coded message: If you’re only going to buy one cookbook this year, O________ T___ K_____en would be a fantastic choice. 

9  Aroha: Māori Wisdom for a Contented Life Lived in Harmony with our Planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

Gift idea! Combine Aroha with EM-PA-THY and you’ve got yourself … a pretty clear message that you think the recipient is a dick.

10  Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ Writers From Aotearoa edited by Chris Tse and Emma Barnes (Auckland University Press, $50)

Our reviewer Jean Sergent said:

“There is something delightfully intimate in the alphabetical ordering of the contributors – by first name, rather than last. Running your eyes down the writer list feels like looking at the names of friends. Last names have always felt so patriarchal to me anyway. It’s so much more inherently queer to see first names and think ahh, this is my family.”

WELLINGTON

1  Politics in a Pandemic: Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand’s 2020 Election edited by Stephen Levine (Victoria University Press, $50)

An exploration of last year’s “Pandemic Election”, with contributions from 35 different voices, including Jacinda herself and a raft of other pollies, plus journalists, pollsters and academics. Many of these essays were published over the last week or so on The Spinoff – check out the contributions from Jacinda, Judith Collins, David Seymour, and many others.

2  Starfish the Star by Elaine Bickell and Daron Parton (Scholastic, $20)

A rarity! Children’s picture book Starfish the Star has broken through the ranks of the hardened, tough-as-guts grown-up books to score a top spot in the bestsellers this week, after a smash success launch event. So what’s it about? The publisher’s blurb says: “Starfish thinks he’s the one and only STAR in the aquarium. He wants fame, adoration … and every photo opportunity! But when disaster strikes, will Starfish stand behind Seahorse, Jellyfish, Clownfish and Ray to help save the day?” 

3  Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster, $35)

4  Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

The bread and butter of the Wellington literary diet. 

5  Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)

6  She’s a Killer by Kirsten McDougall (Victoria University Press, $30)

A fantastic new local novel, from the author of Tess and The Invisible Rider. In this all-too-touchable near future, climate change has wreaked havoc on the world, and New Zealand has become a refuge for wealthy immigrants. If you know what’s good for you, read this excerpt about supermarket shopping in (even stranger) strange times. 

7  Aroha: Māori Wisdom for a Contented Life Lived in Harmony with our Planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

8  Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $35)

The third Lucy Barton novel has arrived! In this instalment, Lucy is 64 and a recent widow, rekindling a friendship with her first husband, Jeffrey. We kid! His name is obviously William.

9  Things I Learned at Art School by Megan Dunn (Penguin, $35)

A fabulous, funny, sad, addictive memoir, told through essays. An excerpt of the essay “Other Video Artworks I Have Made with Daryl Hannah” is available here.

10  Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ Writers From Aotearoa edited by Chris Tse and Emma Barnes (Auckland University Press, $50)

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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