BooksJuly 26, 2019

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending July 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  Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury, $35)

“Taddeo writes like it’s all brand new. Like she’s high, perfectly high, punching out twitchy, cutting sentences in the wee hours” – us, in absolute raptures

2  Funny As: the Story of New Zealand Comedy by Philip Matthews and Paul Horan (Upstart Press, $50)

The book of the TV series but don’t let that put you off.

3  Te Tiriti o Waitangi: The Treaty of Waitangi by Toby Morris with Ross Calman, Mark Derby, and Piripi Walker (Lift Education, $20)

A version of which was first published by that pillar of early reading (and ripping yarns), the School Journal

4  Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Sandstone, $27)

Winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.

5  This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (Picador, $23)

Diary of a UK doctor training in obstetrics and gynaecology. Takeaway: do not train as a doctor in the UK; also, hope to God you never need a doctor in the UK.

6  Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Windmill Books, $28)

Seventy-four weeks on the New York Times nonfiction list and it’s still at number one. (Three Women will see about that).

7  Moth Presents: Occasional Magic – True Stories of Defying the Impossible by Catherine Burns (Serpent’s Tail, $33)

(Another) book of the podcast but don’t let that put you off. 

8  Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold by Māori Writers edited by Witi Imihaera and Whiti Hereaka (Penguin Random House, $38)

Patricia Grace! Hone Tuwhare! Briar Grace-Smith! Plus like 16 other absolute legends. 

9  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Windmill Books, $26)

A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story because it manages to be a little bit of everything. There’s fantastical romance, politics, espionage, parenthood, and poetry. The book is technically historical fiction, but you’d be just as accurate calling it a thriller or a love story.” – Bill Gates

10  The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Hachette, $35)

Pulitzer winner, Jim Crow, reform school – Spinoff review incoming.


1  Communist in the Family: Searching for Rewi Alley by Elspeth Sandys (Otago University Press, $40)

Rewi Alley was a humanitarian and activist who spent most of his life in China. A 2013 North & South feature quotes him saying: “I love New Zealand, and sometimes miss it. New Zealand is a good country, populated by basically just and practical people. But there is a fascist streak in New Zealand as well, and we must always be vigilant to prevent it from having too much sway. I remember as a boy, I was walking along the beach near Christchurch and there was a group of men coming back from a strike, or a picket of some kind. Suddenly, out of the dunes came police on horseback and they rode into these unarmed workingmen, swinging their clubs as if they were culling seals. I will stand up against such forces as long as I can stand.”

2  A Careful Revolution edited by David Hall (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

“I like ‘climate crisis’, because, in ancient Greek, crisis means ‘decision’, which is exactly what we need right now. Our present sense of crisis is the growing feeling that we can’t delay our decisions any longer” – the editor, interviewed by the NZ Herald

3  Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury, $35)

4  Brain Connections: How To Sleep Better, Worry Less & Feel Happier by Giresh Kanji (Pain Publications, $36)

Mindfulness. We bet the answer is mindfulness.

5  How to Escape From Prison by Paul Wood (HarperCollins, $38)

“Perhaps most importantly from the point of view of personal growth, I had become a voracious reader. The pioneering personality theorist Gordon Allport once said that the goal of maturation is overcoming one’s adolescent narcissism. Reading is one of the major ways we gain insight into the minds and condition of others. I had read 766 books in the previous four years – I knew because I had kept a record of each book and what I had learned from it.” 

6  An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (One World, $26)

Winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

7  Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber, $23)

Sally Rooney Sally Rooney Sally Rooney Sally Rooney

8  Te Tiriti o Waitangi: The Treaty of Waitangi by Toby Morris with Ross Calman, Mark Derby, and Piripi Walker (Lift Education, $20)

9  The New Zealand Wars: Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa by Vincent O’Malley (Bridget Williams Books, $40)


10  Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold by Māori Writers edited by Witi Ihimaera & Whiti Hereaka (Random House, $38)

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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