BooksApril 23, 2021

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending April 23


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.


1  The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage, $38)

Linda Herrick over at Stuff has joined the titillating conversation about Grimshaw’s memoir, calling The Mirror Book “the most harrowing, profoundly moving work of her prolific career”.

If you want to get in on the action, the Auckland Writers Festival is hosting an event about family memoir with Charlotte Grimshaw, Lil O’Brien and Kyle Mewburn in mid-May.

2  Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber, $37)

From a review in The Emory Wheel: “Ishiguro’s protagonist Klara, an artificially intelligent robot, is obsessed with the sun. She loves watching the sun rise and set, and she is fascinated by the patterns of light on the floor. She believes that the sun has the power of a deity to heal the debilitating sickness of her human companion, Josie. More than that, she believes that to reach the sun and ask for its healing, she need only make the short journey to the barn on the horizon where the sun sets each night. Little does Klara know, the world is round — no matter how far she travels, the sun will always hover that much farther away, just out of her grasp.”

3  First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami (Penguin Random House, $45)

Eight twisty, mysterious short stories by the master himself. Told, unsurprisingly, in first person.

4  A Richer You: How to Make the Most of Your Money by Mary Holm (HarperCollins, $37)

New Zealand’s favourite financial adviser tells you what to do with your spondoolies to make them reproduce like bunnies.

5  Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press, $35)

It’s less than a month until the 2021 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction is awarded, but nothing on this year’s list is going to outshine Auē.

6  How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates (Allen Lane, $48)

“The cruel injustice is that even though the world’s poor are doing essentially nothing to cause climate change, they’re going to suffer the most from it. The climate is changing in ways that will be problematic for relatively well-off farmers in America and Europe, but potentially deadly for low-income ones in Africa and Asia.”

7  Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press, $25)

From the Guardian: “Although [O’Farrell] bristles at the term ‘domestic fiction’, Hamnet is an undeniably domesticated take on the Shakespeare story, with much of the action set not in the Globe or a London tavern, but in the kitchen, bedroom and garden of an Elizabethan Stratford cottage. Conceived as a novel about fathers and sons, as in Hamlet, it ended up a living portrait of a mother and her son.”

8  Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (Vintage, $30)

The follow-up to the huge bestseller, Sapiens. After telling us the history of humankind, Harari predicts our possible futures, and it is frightening.

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

For the two people who have not yet read this book, here’s an excerpt to entice you:

“This book is for alI New Zealanders exploring what decolonisation looks like; how we can all contribute to it, irrespective of whether we’re Māori or not; and why we might want to. It is not the definitive book on decolonisation — others have more expertise to write such a book than we do. We want here to speak simply about what we think it means for our society.”

10  Shuggie Bain by Stuart Douglas (Pan Macmillan, $38)

Shuggie Shuggie Shuggie. How we love you.


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

2  The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage, $38)

3  Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber, $37)

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

Wisdom, contentment, harmony – it’s all good stuff, and it’s still sticking to the bestsellers list like white on rice.

5  Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press, $35)

6  A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life) by George Saunders (Penguin Random House, $37)

Ultimate book-nerdy fun. Booker winner George Saunders analyses seven Russian short stories by Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gogol and Turgenev, investigating why stories work while keeping it funny and optimistic.

7  Cousins by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House, $26)

A classic New Zealand novel about the fate of three Māori cousins after World War II, recently turned into a fantastic film by Libby Hakaraia.

8  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate, $33)

An excited fan on Goodreads says: “No more words! This is one of the best sci-fi dances with fantasy which carries additional philosophic vibes novel of the year! I LOVED IT!” Another says: “This book will give you an existential crisis. I loved it.”

9  One: Pot, Pan, Planet: A Greener Way to Cook for You, Your Family and the Planet by Anna Jones (4th Estate, $55)

For food that will make you feel virtuous and glowy. Just reading her recipe descriptions makes us feel cosy on a cool autumn night: “The onions add a shock of acid and neon pink. I love red-skinned peanuts. They are a great source of protein and in the summer we soak them in cold water, which makes them more nutritious, keeping them in the fridge to eat with fruit for our breakfast.”

10  First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami (Penguin Random House, $45)

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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