Kim Tairi leads a university library. Currently, she is the only Indigenous university librarian in Aotearoa. She has been working in this field for more than 25 years (Photo: Qiane Matata-Sipu, from her new book NUKU)
Kim Tairi leads a university library. Currently, she is the only Indigenous university librarian in Aotearoa. She has been working in this field for more than 25 years (Photo: Qiane Matata-Sipu, from her new book NUKU)

BooksJanuary 21, 2022

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending January 21

Kim Tairi leads a university library. Currently, she is the only Indigenous university librarian in Aotearoa. She has been working in this field for more than 25 years (Photo: Qiane Matata-Sipu, from her new book NUKU)
Kim Tairi leads a university library. Currently, she is the only Indigenous university librarian in Aotearoa. She has been working in this field for more than 25 years (Photo: Qiane Matata-Sipu, from her new book NUKU)

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  Dune by Frank Herbert (Hodder, $28)

Timothée Chalamet’s smoulder has brought this 1965 sci-fi classic back into style. Did someone say colossal sandworms? 

2  Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear (Random House Business, $40)

In a drunken haze on New Year’s Eve you may have said words such as: “2022’s the year I’m going to run a marathon/learn to play the trombone/quit smoking/read 50 books from the Unity Bestsellers list.”

Atomic Habits is the book to stop you eating your words. The blurb says, “No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving – every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.”

3  Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, $35)

The newest novel by the two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

4  The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury, $25)

Another week, another Madeline Miller. 

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

“We were married for almost 20 years before I left him and we have two daughters, and we have been friendly for a long time now – how, I am not sure exactly. There are many terrible stories of divorce, but except for the separation itself ours is not one of them. Sometimes I thought I would die from the pain of our separating, and the pain it caused my girls, but I did not die, and I am here, and so is William.”

6  Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury, $22)

Correction! Another week, another two Madeline Millers. 

7  Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin, $24)

A cosy mystery novel featuring a group of friends living in a retirement community; this is the UK’s bestselling title of 2021. 

8  Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia (Hutchinson, $30)

Ikigai is Japanese for “a reason to live”. The blurb lauds Ikigai as the natural successor to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Hygge. While another self-help book about the secret to happiness might make some eyes roll, it’s easy to understand the allure of quotes like Neil Pasricha’s: “Ikigai gently unlocks simple secrets we can all use to live long, meaningful, happy lives.”

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

A novel about young people, love, and modern life. To some, it’s the book for all millennials. For others … not so much. We’d probably whisper something like “skip to number 10 instead.”

10  Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

“This is a generous book. Generous in the humour it delivers; generous in its story about love lost, family, and our fragility and hurt; generous in its embrace of contemporary New Zealand. I read it during lockdown and – without sounding too cliché or using adjectives from an undergraduate essay – it reminded me that it is OK to find humour in difficult times, and to find joy and acceptance amongst a whole lot of mess.” From Anna Rawhiti-Connell’s sparkling Spinoff review.

WELLINGTON

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

Wellington royalty, reclaiming number one with ease and grace.

2  Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin, $24)

3  NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women by Qiane Matata-Sipu (NUKU, $65)

In the far-distant past that was November 2020 Leonie Hayden spoke with Qiane Matata-Sipu for The Spinoff: “she’s a visionary who believes in the power of wāhine. It’s this last role that has given Matata-Sipu perhaps the hardest, but most rewarding, challenge yet – profiling 100 Indigenous women through a podcast and bespoke photoshoot, released on her own digital platforms, before eventually culminating in a coffee table photography book.”

This is that coffee table photography book! It’s out, it’s here, it’s absolutely gorgeous (see photo above) and it’s a hit at number three. 

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

A book to break the illusion that Aotearoa is a classless, fair, and equal society. 

5  Mahi Pēkena Māreikura: Baking by the Good Bitches of Aotearoa by Good Bitches Baking (Good Bitches Trust, $62)

The second local baking book by the Good Bitches of Aotearoa, a group who want to show kindness to their community via cake and cookies.

6  These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury, $33)

A gorgeous personal essay collection by the author of Bel Canto. 

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

Called “astonishing” by Colm Tóibín and “the most important book of the last 10 years” by Edmund White. Oh – and it also won the most recent Booker.

8  Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins, $35)

Ann Patchett (number six!) said, “Sorrow and Bliss is a brilliantly faceted and extremely funny book about depression that engulfed me in the way I’m always hoping to be to be engulfed by novels. While I was reading it, I was making a list of all the people I wanted to send it to, until I realized that I wanted to send it to everyone I know.”

We don’t actually think it’s about depression (it’s about another mental illness, we reckon, but naming it would spoil things) – but that aside we couldn’t agree more.

9  To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador, $38)

Incredible news! There’s a new novel by the author of A Little Life, and we are hyped to cancel all weekend plans in order to read it. To Paradise has received stunning reviews, like …

“There’s something miraculous about reading To Paradise while the coronavirus crisis is still playing out around us, the dizzying sense that you’re immersed in a novel that will come to represent the age, its obsessions and anxieties. It’s rare that you get the opportunity to review a masterpiece, but To Paradise, definitively, is one” – The Observer

“To Paradise is a transcendent, visionary novel of stunning scope and depth. A novel so layered, so rich, so relevant, so full of the joys and terrors – the pure mystery – of human life, is not only rare, it’s revolutionary” – Michael Cunningham

“To Paradise is a world of its own, a major work, and one of the rare books equipped to tell us what it means to be an American” – Louise Erdrich

Dig in. 

10  Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear (Random House Business, $40)

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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