The launch of Golriz Ghahraman's memoir last week at Auckland's Eighthirty Coffee. (Photo: Beka Hope)

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending June 26

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  Know Your Place by Golriz Ghahraman (HarperCollins, $40)

A memoir. Ghahraman wrote an essay for us when it released last week and handed over an epic photo of herself in double denim.

2  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Penguin Classics, $24)

Joint winner – how dare they? – of the 2019 Booker Prize.

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

Winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction. We remain rabid fans.

4  Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman (Bloomsbury, $34)

Counterpoint: the climate crisis, capitalism, David Clark.

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

Here’s some of Moana Jackson’s essay:

“The writers are aware that change will require long-term social and economic as well as political and attitudinal transformation, but they also have confidence that such change is both necessary and possible.

Martin Luther King Jr often said, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice’. It may take a while, but with stories anything is possible. They can even shift time – it simply takes belief. As the Cherokee writer Thomas King has said: ‘The truth about stories is that that’s all we are.'”

6  Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Corsair, $25)


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

Not recommended.

8  Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley (Random, $60)

Tamimi and Wigley are “leading lights of the Ottolenghi empire”, per the Guardian. In September Penguin will release a new cookbook by the man himself: Flavour, the third in his ‘Plenty’ series.

9  You Have a Lot to Lose: A Memoir, 1956-1986 by CK Stead (Auckland University Press, $50)

The second volume; a third is in the works.

10 The Chiffon Trenches by André Leon Talley (Ballentine, $60)

Hadley Freeman has written a really excellent review/interview for the Guardian, including this exchange:

“One of my editors said to me, ‘Do you think Anna Wintour will talk to you after this comes out?’ I said, ‘Yes, of course! Why not?’”

There is the briefest of pauses. “Well, there’s always hope!” he says.


1  Jerningham by Christina Sanders (Cuba Press, $37)

A story of colonial Wellington and one Edward Jerningham Wakefield, described in Te Ara as “adventurer, writer, politician”:

“Edward Jerningham Wakefield, known as Jerningham, the only son of Edward Gibbon Wakefield and Eliza Anne Frances Pattle, was born in London, England, probably on 25 June 1820 … He was marked throughout his life, and beyond it, by a damning reputation for flawed and wasted brilliance. Most commentators, including his own father, dismiss him as a wastrel and a failure, talented and intelligent, but reckless, weak-willed, contentious, promiscuous and generally unstable. The most acclaimed and most enduring achievements of his life are confined to a few years in his early 20s, when he lived and wrote Adventure.”

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

3  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Penguin Classics, $24)

4  Nothing to See by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press, $30)

Probably the most raved about New Zealand release this year.

5  Know Your Place by Golriz Ghahraman (HarperCollins, $40)

6  Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell (Penguin, $26)

eg body temp, recent overseas trips, whether they are of the opinion that lockdown driveway drinkies are a clever workaround.

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

8  Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press, $20)

From ‘Hoki Mai’:

Then together they would move to the empty plot of ancestral land forgotten by the sea and have little brown babies that she would make sure to stuff fat with potatoes and wobbly mutton. And her children would slurp kina in the summer. Collect driftwood for the fires on their way home from school. And their father would take up a good job in Gisborne.

9  Not in Narrow Seas: The Economic History of Aotearoa New Zealand by Brian Easton (Victoria University Press, $60)

We trust it includes a graphic showing the obscene inflation of 5c lolly mixes over time.

10  The Ratline: Love, Lies & Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive by Philippe Sands (Orion, $38)

“‘Ratlines’ were a system of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe in the aftermath of World War II.” – Wikipedia

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