A man floats in the Dead Sea, 1930. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group, via Getty.

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending February 28

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)

What are you even up to, Auckland.

2  Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins, $25)

I’ll allow it.

3  Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $23)

Sally Rooney Sally Rooney Sally Rooney

4  Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury, $33)

Get your cringe-and-wince muscles ready.

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

“It’s good Archives NZ have taken on board some of the concerns about the cuts in reading room hours. But changing to 9-5 three days in a week in Akl and Wgtn is still a 40% cut in the time available to undertake research. We need more than a part-time national archival repository.” – O’Malley, on Twitter a while back.

6  All Who Live On Islands by Rose Lu (Victoria University Press, $30)

All its clever words aside this book is bloody gorgeous: shiny like a fish or like pāua.

7  2000ft Above Worry Level by Eamonn Marra (Victoria University Press, $30)

Title refers to a sign outside the fine township of Naseby, Central Otago.

8  Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (Fourth Estate, $25)

Brisbane, drugs, childhood, a (real) secret passage in a cupboard.

9  Mauri Ora: Wisdom from the Māori World by Peter Alsop (Potton & Burton, $40)

Book of proverbs and photographs, first published in 2016. On pukuaroha/empathy: Nā koutou i tangi, nā tatau katoa /When you cry, your tears are shed by us all.

10 The Meaning of Trees by Robert Vennell (HarperCollins, $55)

Not just trees! Kelp, supplejack, toe toe, ongaonga, etc etc


1  The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox (Victoria University Press, $35)

Long live the faerie queen.

2  Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

See also this piece Kiddle wrote for us about Tūranga (the new Christchurch library) and how Māori designers are overlooked.

3  Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhi Plokhy (Penguin Books, $28)

“A professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University, Plokhy portrays Chernobyl as both pivotal cause and perfect metaphor of the collapse of the Soviet Union.” – the Moscow Times.

4  The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell (Hogarth Press, $38)

“Namwali Serpell’s impressive first novel is an indulgent, centuries-spanning slab of life marbled with subplots, zigzagging between characters and decades to play snakes and ladders with the bloodlines of three Zambian families with roots from around the world.” – the Guardian.

5  Native Son: The Writer’s Memoir by Witi Ihimaera (Random House, $40)

Reviewed, from the heart, by essa may ranapiri a couple of weeks back.

6  An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozi Obioma (LittleBrown, $28)

“An Orchestra of Minorities, which echoes the name Chinonso’s late father gave to singing birds, concerns itself chiefly with the actions and psychic rumblings of men. In this familiar formula, women all too often serve as either motivation or collateral damage.” – Hannah Giorgis for the Atlantic, landing a hit in an otherwise positive review.

7  2000ft Above Worry Level by Eamonn Marra (Victoria University Press, $30)

8  McCahon Country by Justin Paton (Penguin Books, $75)

“Where McCahon’s art is most effective, we are the people in the painting. Travellers looking for meaning in the world.”

9  Bricks that Built the Houses by Kate Tempest (Bloomsbury, $20)

Tempest is an awesome name.

10 Head Girl by Freya Daly Sadgrove (Victoria University Press, $25)

Freya Daly Sadgrove is also an awesome name. Oh god it’s so hot I’m delirious.

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