BooksOctober 25, 2019

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending October 24


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  Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador, $20)

“With a sense of perverse futility, Kawaguchi’s characters move through time knowing they can’t make a difference. It’s a common theme in Japanese literature — resigning oneself to the impossibility of change — that helps avoid the “grandfather paradox,” wherein changing the past during time travel causes inconsistencies later on.” – the Japan Times

2  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, $40)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

3  The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus, $48)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. 

4  Agent Running in the Field by John Le Carré (Viking, $38)

“Publishing such a thriller at the age of 88, a feat of imaginative stamina that surpasses the tenacity of his idol Graham Greene, le Carré confirms his place at the head of his profession … This may not be the finest novel he has ever written – Tinker, Tailor and the other great novels of the 1970s remain in a league of their own – but it’s still touched with his magic. His readers will know from his first line that they are in the presence of a great enchanter.” – the Guardian

5  The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House, $35)

The Secret Commonwealth left me in a liminal place; I must know more. I have questions I want answered. If La Belle Sauvage was secret agents and mayhem and a mythic Flood, The Secret Commonwealth is the edge of a precipice …” – NPR

6  The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $55)

“One of the things that surprised me a lot, and it became almost an embarrassment in a way, was the number of times I had to write, ‘Science doesn’t know the answer to this’.” – the author, in the Listener

7  The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Identity, Morality by Douglas Murray (Bloomsbury, $35)

Oh no: “As he puts it, a little facetiously: “Your desire to dress in lady’s knickers is no reason to force everyone to use entirely new pronouns. Or to alter every public bathroom.” Which brings him onto the question of race, including trans-racialism.” – the Evening Standard.

8  Colin McCahon: There is Only One Direction (Volume 1 1919-1959) by Peter Simpson (Auckland University Press, $75)

“Simpson reveals just how rudimentary our knowledge of the man and his works has previously been.” – David Herkt, in the Herald.

9  The Truants by Kate Weinberg (Bloomsbury, $33)

The author tells Unity Books about the real-life academic who inspired her character Lorna Clay: “That sense of holding a room, of being in the presence of someone extraordinary. Lorna Sage was the cleverest person I ever met. But it was an intelligence that was far from dry – it had filtered through into her wit and spirit and sense of mischief. Rare qualities I think in a brilliant academic.” 

10  The Anarchy: the Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple (Bloomsbury, $33)

“… the greatest virtue of this disturbingly enjoyable book is perhaps less the questions it answers than the new ones it provokes about where corporations fit into the world, both then and now.” – the New York Times.


1  The Burning River by Lawrence Patchett (Victoria University Press, $30)

We’re halfway through it and in raptures. The kind of book to put the rest of life on pause for.

2  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, $40)

3  The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $55)

4  Agent Running in the Field by John Le Carre (Viking, $38)

5  The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus, $48)

6  Females in the Frame: Women, Art and Crime by Penelope Jackson (Palgrave, $46)

“Art crimes are headline-grabbing news but how often do you hear about the exploits of women art thieves, vandals or forgers? Is the reason for the answer “never” or “hardly ever” because they’re just so good they get away with their crimes? That dismissive suggestion by a male art writer so incensed Penelope Jackson that she went in search of women art criminals.” – RNZ

7  Social Media by Mary Macpherson (The Cuba Press, $25)

“We often think of ourselves as formed from our core values or our DNA, but in Social Media, Mary Macpherson explores identity as a creation of the interactions we have with others: friends, family and the wider world, and the evolving role technology now plays in this.” – Unity Books

8  The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House, $35)

9  No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin, $8)

A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.

10 How to Walk a Dog by Mike White (Allen & Unwin, $35)

Forensically-minded magazine journalist pivots from Scott Watson and Mark Lundy to his local dog park and his SPCA-rescue, Cooper. e

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. 

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