Image: Getty

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending December 20

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

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. 

2  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, $40)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

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

Would like to see a Venn diagram of 1) people who live in Kingsland, Auckland or Ngāio, Wellington and b) people getting We Are Here for Christmas.

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

“Food is passed along by a process of contraction known as peristalsis – a kind of Mexican wave for the gut. It advances at the rate of about one inch per minute. A natural question is why don’t all our ferocious digestive juices eat through our own gut lining? The answer is that the alimentary canal is lined with a single layer of protective cells called the epithelium. These vigilant cells, and the gooey mucus they produce, are all that stand between you and digesting your own flesh … So battered is this front line of cells that each is replaced after only three or four days, just about the highest turnover rate for the whole body.”

5  Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner (Hachette, $35)

“Luckily, we always travel with a bottle of vodka, which often turns out to be completely necessary. [Princess] Margaret tracked down the taxi driver to get a mixer and returned with a huge mug of fresh cherry juice, which was the most delicious thing we’d ever tasted. We put a chair under the door handle so no men would stumble into our room and drank ourselves into a lovely stupor as the bells rang and the doors banged around us.”

6  Teach Your Dog Māori by Anne Cakebread (Y Lolfa, $18)

By the Welsh author of Teach Your Dog Gaelic and Teach Your Dog Japanese: Rugby World Cup 2019 Travel Edition.  

7  The Meaning of Trees by Robert Vennell (HarperCollins, $55)

Extract here; a very good option for any gardeners or tramping types or history-of-us types.

8  Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout (Penguin Random House, $35) 

“You don’t have to have read Olive Kitteridge to appreciate Olive, Again, but you’ll probably want to. Like a base coat of paint, it adds depth and helps the finish colors pop.” – NPR

9  Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré (Viking, $38)

“… a word about le Carré’s prose: Not only does it hold the coiled energy of a much younger writer, it fits the bitter, angry narrator’s voice exceptionally well.” – NPR

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

“On 24 September 1599, while William Shakespeare was pondering a draft of Hamlet in his house downriver from the Globe in Southwark, a mile to the north, barely twenty minutes’ walk across the Thames, a motley group of Londoners was gathering in a rambling, half-timbered building lit by many-mullioned Tudor windows … ”

WELLINGTON

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

2  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, $40)

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

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

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

5  How to Walk a Dog by Mike White (Allen & Unwin, $35)

“Whatever people thought of Bill’s life, there was little doubt all of his dogs had good and loved existences, and that counts for so much more than what we often consider praiseworthy in a person’s life.”

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

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

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

An unimpeachable pressie for your mother-in-law. Not, mind, for your stepmother.

9  Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury, $35)

Extremely envious of everyone who gets to launch into Three Women on Boxing Day. (Here’s our review).

10 Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner (Hachette, $35)


The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.


The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.