Children reading Dr Seuss’ The Grinch at Christmas

BooksNovember 23, 2018

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending November 23

Children reading Dr Seuss’ The Grinch at Christmas

Only 32 shopping days till Xmas! Get in early and peruse the week’s bestselling books at the Unity stores in High St, Auckland, and Willis St, Wellington.


1 Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, $65)

The cookbook of 2018.

2 Past Tense by Lee Child (Bantam, $38)


3 Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber & Faber, $33)

Winner of the 2018 Man Booker award, narrated by an 18-year-old girl living in 1970s Northern Ireland who is coerced into a relationship with a mysterious older married man with ties to a paramilitary group.

4 Winged Helmut White Horse by Karyn Hay (Esom House Press, $35)

Hay’s third novel looks at a male poet in a mid-life crisis trying to kick the booze and regain some control in his life; a darkly comic psychological drama.

5 Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House, $26)

Very popular novel about an aristocrat under house arrest who witnesses the rise of the Soviet empire.

6 The Ice Shelf by Anne Kennedy (Victoria University Press, $30)

“This hilarious romp through New Zealand literary life is painfully close to the bone. It will be enjoyed by all readers of local fiction, especially those with a taste for the absurd”: Kennedy’s publisher, Fergus Barrowman.

7 Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House, $55)

As for her useless husband

8 Flame by Leonard Cohen (Canongate UK, $45)

I will not be held like a drunkard

Under the cold tap of facts

9 The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump by Rob Sears (Canongate, $28)

I’m very proud of my new crystal collection

I have a Gucci store that’s worth more than Romney

I order thousands of televisions a year

Six people do nothing but sort my mail

Sorry haters and losers!

He who has the gold makes the rules

10 Pop Up Things That Go! by Ingela Arrhenius (Walker Books, $17)

Kids book from the awesome Little Unity store next door to big Unity.


1 Whatever It Takes: Pacific Films and John O’Shea by John Reid (Victoria University Press, $60)

From Te Ara: “Pacific Films was founded in 1948 by Alun Falconer and Roger Mirams, but John O’Shea, who joined in 1950, became the long-term inspirational leader of the firm. Pacific Films was the only significant independent film company in New Zealand until the 1970s. It made the only three feature films in New Zealand from the Second World War until 1970, and also important documentaries such as the Tangata Whenua series.”

2 Passage of Yellow Red Birds by Robin Peace (Makaro Press, $25)

The world through the eye of a swallow and from the window of a plane sweeping over the earth.

3 Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking (John Murray, $35)

“One remarkable human being sharing his thoughts, hopes and fears with another”: New Statesman.

4 Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber, $33)

5 Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz, $35)

A young policeman meets a ghost, and is recruited into an elite squad dealing with the supernatural.

6 Shit Towns of New Zealand by Anonymous (Allen & Unwin, $25)


Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)

Everybody’s favourite literary romance novel of 2018.

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Viking, $55)

9 Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, $60)

10 The Friday Poem edited by Steve Braunias (Luncheon Sausage Press, $25)

One hundred poems from 61 authors: this is the anthology of New Zealand poetry to gift this Christmas, with a mix of established names (Bill Manhire, Fleur Adcock, Kevin Ireland, poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh), new stars (Tayi Tibble, Claudia Jardine, Joy Holley, Hera Lindsay Bird), complete nobodies and Colin Craig, all taken from The Friday Poem series these past crazy four years at the Spinoff. Includes epic 5000-word Introduction. Wow!

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

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. 

Image: Tina Tiller

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The Sport OGs, photographed in 1988. Clockwise from left: Nigel Cox, Fergus Barrowman, Damien Wilkins, Elizabeth Knox. (Photo: Supplied)

Long live Sport, 1988-2021

One of our great literary magazines is no more. Its publisher looks back on what it achieved, and muses on the long-gone golden age of New Zealand publishing.