The week’s best-selling books at the Unity Books stores in High St, Auckland, and Willis St, Wellington.
1 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson (MacMillan, $35)
“Manson doesn’t go in for the positive thinking school of self-help. He makes a good case for struggle….He writes about the need to hone our values as a means of making sure that the problems we do encounter are the right ones, that they lead somewhere meaningful, and are not simply hurdles we’ve created through a misplaced lust for wealth or pleasure. This is where the ‘subtle art’ of the title comes into it. It’s essentially about deciding what’s truly important to you, what’s worth the inevitable stress and worry and what’s not”: from a brilliant review and essay by John Summers, The Spinoff Review of Books.
2 Flights by Olga Tokarczuk (Fitzcarraldo Editions, $32)
You can’t judge a book by an extract which is just as well because this Polish novel, first published in 2007, sounds like the biggest load of pretentious shit in creation.
3 Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday (Granta, $33)
“Asymmetry is two seemingly unrelated novels in one. The first section tells the story of Alice’s relationship with Ezra, as it plays out in New York in the years after 9/11. Then, in its second section,it becomes a monologue by Amar Jaafari, an Iraqi-American who is being detained by immigration officers at Heathrow Airport. The challenge to the reader—helped along by a subtle, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it clue in the novel’s brief coda—is to figure out how, and still more why, these two tales belong together”: The Atlantic.
4 Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Little, Brown and Company, $35)
One of the year’s most popular novels, a fun gay romp, written with zip and warmth. Plus the author looks like a good guy.
5 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape, $35)
“When Michael Ondaatje sold his notebooks to the Harry Ransom Center in Texas last year, he explained that each of his novels started off as a scrapbook of ideas. Then he would write about four drafts by hand, before copying the latest version on a typewriter or computer, and ‘reworking it, printing it out, rewriting it’. The same impulse to revisit and revise ripples through every page of Warlight, Ondaatje’s first novel for seven years”: The Times.
Levy, shortlisted for the Booker Prize last year with her novel Hot Milk, has written a powerful feminist memoir; it includes this story: “One January night I was eating coconut rice and fish in a bar on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. A tanned, tattooed American man sat at the table next to me. He was in his late 40s, big muscled arms, his silver hair pinned into a bun. He was talking to a young English woman, perhaps 19 years old, who had been sitting on her own reading a book, but after some ambivalence had taken up his invitation to join him.
“At first he did all the talking. After a while she interrupted him. Her conversation was interesting, intense and strange. She was telling him about scuba diving in Mexico, how she had been underwater for 20 minutes and then surfaced to find there was a storm. The sea had become a whirlpool and she had been anxious about making it back to the boat.
“Although her story was about surfacing from a dive to discover the weather had changed, it was also about some sort of undisclosed hurt. She gave him a few clues about that (there was someone on the boat who she thought should have come to save her) and then she glanced at him to check if he knew that she was talking about the storm in a disguised way.
“He said, ‘You talk a lot don’t you?'”
Charlotte Graham-McLay’s review will appear in our Book of the Week slot next Thursday.
7 Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester (William Collins, $37)
Father’s Day kind of book.
8 Sevens Heaven by Ben Ryan (Orion Books, $38)
Ben Ryan came from England to the Pacific in 2013, to coach Fiji’s rugby sevens team; this is his story.
9 Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search For a Lost Father by Diana Wichtel (Awa Press, $45)
Winner of the prize for best book of non-fiction at the 2018 Ockham New Zealand national book awards.
10 The Power by Naomi Alderman (Penguin Random House, $26)
Massively popular feminist sci-fi.
1 Are Friends Electric? by Helen Heath (Victoria University Press, $25)
Superb new collection of poems by the Wellington writer.
2 Scoundrels & Eccentrics of the Pacific by John Dunmore (Upstart Press, $40)
The author is 94-years-old.
3 Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester (HarperCollins, $37)
4 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape, $35)
5 Less by Andrew Sean Greer (LittleBrown, $25)
6 Calypso by David Sedaris (LittleBrown, $35)
7 The New Animals by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press, $30)
8 Pruning Fruit Trees: A Beginners Guide by Kath Irvine (Kath Irvine, $27)
Chapter 1: Pruning Goals and a Few Important Tips
Chapter 2: When To Prune and Train
Chapter 3: Making a Good Cut
Chapter 4: Tree Trickery: How To Train Trees
Chapter 5: Choosing a Shape for Your Tree
Chapter 6: Training Young Trees from Years 1-4
Chapter 7: Pruning from Year 5
Chapter 8: The Art of Espalier
Chapter 9: A Word on Biennial Bearing
Chapter 10: How To Thin Fruit
Chapter 11: Evergreens, Figs and Berries
9 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins, $25)
10 Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury, $22)
“A politically and psychologically acute story of two British Muslim sisters and their jihadist brother”: The New Statesman, naming it as one of the best books of 2017.
The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.
Subscribe to The Bulletin to get all the day’s key news stories in five minutes – delivered every weekday at 7.30am.