The week’s best-selling books at the Unity stores in Willis St, Wellington, and High St, Auckland.
1 The New Animals by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press, $30)
Winner of the Acorn Prize for best novel of the year at last week’s 2018 Ockham New Zealand national book awards. So how come The Spinoff Review of Books didn’t review it?
Well. We actually did commission a review. It duly arrived. But there was a bit of a fiasco and we never published it.
The reviewer hated it. Fine. However they wanted to state for the record that they were entirely the wrong person to review it, and so what would they know? We thought this was a ridiculous comment, that it robbed the review of any credibility, made it pointless, and wanted the line excised from the review, but they demanded it stay in, got all uppity, so we spiked the review and blew $90 from our precious budget on a kill-fee.
But wait, there’s less! The reviewer had done the honourable thing by trying to wriggle out of writing it – begged! – but we insisted because we’d already asked six reviewers and they all ran for the hills. Adam was too diificult, they said. They didn’t want to review The New Animals because they didn’t want to read The New Animals.
And now here it is, judged novel of the year, selling like hot-cakes at Unity. “Just had coffee with [mutual friend],” the reviewer emailed the other day. “Much discussion about the award to Pip Adam. I stand by every word I wrote in that unpublished review. I tried giving her an out by claiming I was the wrong person to review it – now I wished I hadn’t bothered…”
2 Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search For a Lost Father by Diana Wichtel (Awa Press, $45)
“A masterpiece”: Steve Braunias, The Spinoff Review of Books.
3 Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India by Shashi Tharoor (Scribe Publications, $30)
Britain’s subjugation of India was “a monstrous crime”, argues the author.
4 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson (MacMillan, $35)
That most elegant of essayists, Wairarapa writer John Summers, has agreed to address this wildly popular advice manual for The Spinoff Review of Books.
5 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson (Allen Lane, $40)
That most considered of essayists, Wellington writer Danyl Maclauchlan, addressed this advice manual for The Spinoff Review of Books, and declared the author “a crackpot”.
6 Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester (William Collins, $37)
7 The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Hutchinson, $38)
We look forward to the forthcoming review by Matt Vance.
8 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape, $35)
We probably should have got this reviewed – Ondaatje! The English Patient! His first novel in seven years! – but it sort of felt like the dutiful thing to do and as such we just couldn’t be fucked.
9 The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman (Canongate, $37)
Why do homo sapiens invent stuff?
10 Origin Story by David Christian (Allen & Unwin, $40)
What made the planet and that?
1 New Animals by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press, $30)
2 New Ships by Kate Duignan (Victoria University Press, $30)
What a stellar year for New Zealand fiction – Grimshaw, Jones, O’Sullivan, and Duignan, whose novel is set in Wellington after 9/11.
3 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape, $35)
4 Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat (Canongate, $55)
5 Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood (Penguin, $28)
Lockwood recently reviewed novelist Rachel Cusk in the London Review of Books, and began with the kind of arresting, precocious, blithe, funny line which is a hallmark of her own book, Priestdaddy: “The observation that some people do not like Rachel Cusk is so omnipresent in criticism of her work that it’s surprising no one’s ever led off a review with ‘I, too, dislike her.’”
6 Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search for a Lost Father by Diana Wichtel (Awa Press, $45)
7 Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester (HarperCollins, $37)
8 Idiot by Elif Batuman (Vintage, $26)
“A young woman discovers the difference between life and literature in a warm, funny portrayal of university life in the 1990s”: The Guardian
9 Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Hutchinson, $38)
“Life in an Idaho survivalist cult… Her refusal to become a hateful victim makes this a riveting read”: Kim Hill, The Spinoff Review of Books.
10 Finding by David Hill (Puffin, $20)
Return of the master YA storyteller with a family saga set in a quiet river valley. Everything this guy writes is class; recommended.
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The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.