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(Image: Archi Banal)
(Image: Archi Banal)

BooksOctober 27, 2023

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending October 27

(Image: Archi Banal)
(Image: Archi Banal)

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.

AUCKLAND

1 Aucklanders by Murray Edmond (Lasavia Publishing, $35)

A new short story collection – “In the tradition of James Joyce’s Dubliners” – from poet Murray Edmond. This from the publisher’s blurb: “Edmond brings us Aucklanders, short stories that celebrate lives lived in New Zealand’s biggest city. Through different time-settings, and narrative styles, the tales are variously entertaining, funny, satirical, reflective and tragic. Sometimes they are a little gruesome or absurd. Yet these Aucklanders often feel oddly familiar. Among them we encounter a scared RSA waiter, a Zen sensei who keeps his followers guessing, a shy boy who breaks a neighbour’s hothouse with his shanghai slingshot, a famous drunken artist with a tortured legacy, and a delivery driver with a side hustle.” 

2 Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World by (Naomi Klein, $42)

Naomi Klein writes about being confused with Naomi Wolf, who is a whole other kettle of fish.

3 Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa (Bonnier Publishing, $28)

Hot chocolate in book form.

4 The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin (Canongate, $50)

The Spinoff’s Sam Brooks has been reading this in the pursuit of acting creatively and being of that way. He’ll reveal the secrets to us all, soon.

5 The Running Grave: A Cormoran Strike Novel by Robert Galbraith (Sphere, $40)

Will Robyn and Strike ever get together? Do we care?

6 Fungi of Aotearoa: A Curious Forager’s Field Guide by Liv Sisson (Penguin, $45)

The book that made all of us realise that we love Fungi and that we have really cool Fungi. 

7 The Bee Sting by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton, $37)

This Booker short-listed novel is over 600 pages but don’t be scared, it’s in the Catton school of gripping, and maybe even winning. We’ll find out on November 26 when the Booker Prize is announced. 

8 Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Transworld, $26)

Many, many people rave about this book. It’s also now on the TV. 

9 The Woman in Me by Britney Spears (Simon & Schuster, $55)

So much (largely Timberlake-related) gold is already sprinkled over the internet from this memoir from one of the greatest pop icons of all time. We’ll be reviewing it here, soon. 

10 Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Ebury Press, $42)

First there was Dan Carter’s ten lessons in how to win at life, and now there’s Arnie’s seven tools. It’s sounding kind of self-help biblical in here now.

WELLINGTON

1 Visible Cities edited by Marco Sonzogni, Sydney Shep and Daniel K Brown (The Cuba Press, $30)

Marco Sonzogni’s book-related passion, inventiveness and energy never ceases to impress and delight. This latest, curious creation is inspired by the celebrated Italian writer Italo Calvino. “A hundred years after his birth, 11 emerging writers from Aotearoa have each taken a city from their own country and written a short story that pays tribute to Calvino and addresses the bigger themes that shape their city in the twenty-first century.”

2 Untouchable Girls: The Topp Twins’ Story by Jools & Lynda Topp (Allen & Unwin, $50)

Don’t you just love them. This is a book for every home. A fulsome, photo-rich account of the lives of two taonga.

3 The Observologist: A Handbook for Mounting Very Small Scientific Expeditions by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press, $40)

Giselle Clarkson’s latest book is an extraordinary work. Every page is a portal for exploration that will thrill big readers and small. The mix of comics and detailed information is perfect for a family approach, making this an essential home guide to seeing the world around us in new and boredom-curbing ways. Read more about Giselle Clarkson over at our Books Confessional.

4 Spoiled Fruit edited by Damien Levi & Amber Esau (Āporo Press, $30)

Our indie literary scene is thriving thanks to the likes of Levi and Esau who have crafted this beautiful new anthology of queer poetry from Aotearoa. Featuring writers such as Cadence Chung, Laura Vincent, Kyra Lawler, Rhys Feeney, Amy Marguerite, Ngaio Simmons and sylvan spring, this is a treasure. And so cleverly presented as an anthology of two halves, one introduced by Levi and the other by Esau. 

5 The Fraud by Zadie Smith (Hamish Hamilton, $37)

The latest novel from Smith is a foray into historic fiction and this Guardian reviewer is stoked about it: “Fans of Smith will pick up on the familiar laundry of her sensibility within the first few pages of The Fraud: the boisterous narrative intelligence; the ear for dialogue; the chronic absence of boring sentences. I’d wager that this is her funniest novel yet and the best lines are all at Ainsworth’s expense: “Even as an adolescent, William fatally overestimated the literary significance of weather.” Or this one, about his onanistic writing process: “He always appeared entirely satisfied with every line.”

6 Lola in the Mirror by Trent Dalton (Fourth Estate, $37)

The Australian author of the much loved Boy Swallows Universe is back with another novel (after a spot of non-fic with Love Stories). Dalton is riding some tricky reviews, including this one: “Lola in the Mirror charts nowhere new and has little compelling to say. Like Dalton’s other novels, it features an embattled protagonist yanking on their bootstraps with misty-eyed fervour: in this case, a 17-year-old girl without a name who is living “houseless” in Brisbane, where she and her mum eke out a life in a Toyota Hiace van in a riverside scrapyard. The teenager is a rapacious drawer with aspirations of becoming an artist, holding herself aloft with dreams of exhibiting in the Met. Early in the book, her mother abruptly dies, forcing her to take up work as a courier for a drug kingpin called Lady Flo. Things go pear-shaped, unsurprisingly – and it wouldn’t be Dalton without a whole-heart-falling-out-of-sleeve love story too.”

7 Unruly: A History of England’s Kings & Queens by David Mitchell (Michael Joseph, $42)

The comedian David Mitchell, not the Bone Clocks one. 

8 A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, $37)

Pratchett fans rejoice! Twenty previously long-lost short stories are gathered here to delight and thrill you. From the publisher’s blurb: “These are rediscovered tales that Pratchett wrote under a pseudonym for newspapers during the 1970s and 1980s. Whilst none are set in the Discworld, they hint towards the world he would go on to create, containing all of his trademark wit, satirical wisdom and fantastic imagination.

Meet Og the inventor, the first caveman to cultivate fire, as he discovers the highs and lows of progress; haunt the Ministry of Nuisances with the defiant evicted ghosts of Pilgarlic Towers; visit Blackbury, a small market town with weird weather and an otherworldly visitor; and go on a dangerous quest through time and space with hero Kron, which begins in the ancient city of Morpork…”

9 Woman in Me by Britney Spears (Simon & Schuster, $55)

10 Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World by Naomi Klein (Allen & Unwin, $42)

Keep going!