Dancer Gertrude Fisher reads her husband’s latest novel ‘Marquee Ballyhoo’, 1932. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Dancer Gertrude Fisher reads her husband’s latest novel ‘Marquee Ballyhoo’, 1932. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

BooksNovember 29, 2019

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending November 29

Dancer Gertrude Fisher reads her husband’s latest novel ‘Marquee Ballyhoo’, 1932. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Dancer Gertrude Fisher reads her husband’s latest novel ‘Marquee Ballyhoo’, 1932. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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  Family Instructions Upon Release by Elizabeth Kirby-McLeod (The Cuba Press, $25)

“Elizabeth’s father took his own life in 2012. Unable to find words of her own to write about what had happened, she has taken them from Twelve Angry Men and the Government’s ‘Fact Sheet 4 – Suicide and Self-Harm’.” – The Cuba Press. 

2  All Of This Is For You: A Little Book of Kindness by Ruby Jones (Penguin, $24)

“ … that small word “kindness” is like a talisman to hold on to in the middle of it all, moving towards each other, not away.” – the author, in an essay for the Guardian

3  Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (Granta, $23)

Creepy, boggy, brilliant.

4  The Anarchy: the relentless rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple (Bloomsbury, $33)

“When I am in Britain, I emphasise the loot and plunder which some of the people here simply don’t know. But when I am in India, I stress how the Indian capital backed this, something not all Indians know.” – the author, to The Hindu

5  The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Vintage Books, $25)

Companion reading: see #6

6  A Ladybird Book about Donald Trump by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris (Michael Joseph UK, $24)

7  McCahon Country by Justin Paton (Penguin, $75)

“Art critic ARD Fairburn, in 1948, dismissed McCahon’s early work by saying ‘It’s like graffiti in some celestial lavatory.’ Paton says it’s a good description and actually gets to the heart of what makes his work great.” – RNZ

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

“I have to admit to being a little disappointed in this and not only because of the lack of a cat despite one being shown on the cover.” – Alison’s review on Goodreads. 

9  Find Me by Andre Aciman (Faber & Faber, $33)

This, from a recent Vanity Fair interview, is hilarious if you’ve read Call Me By Your Name: “My children will not eat a peach in front of me, and they’re in their late 20s… Nobody eats peaches in our house any longer.”

10 Brilliant Maps: An Atlas for Curious Minds by Ian Wright (Granta, $45)

Cool but We Are Here is about a million times more brilliant. 



1  We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall & Tim Denee (Massey University Press, $70)

As above; any questions please see Aaron Schiff’s excellent review

2  All Who Live on Islands by Rose Lu (Victoria University Press, $30)

“As soon as we started kissing it felt wrong, like he was peeling an orange with only his mouth.”

3  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton, $40)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

4  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.

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

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

6  Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $35)

“The word curmudgeon was designed for Olive Kitteridge. She doesn’t do charm or tact. She does honesty, but her brand of honesty leaves both the recipient and the reader gasping.” – Marion McLeod’s review for the Spinoff. 

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

“At times it seems like a narrative skin has been stretched over the frame of a philosophical dialogue. Not always an enjoyable or successful taxidermy!” – Dr Susan Wardell’s review for the Spinoff. 

8  All Of This Is For You: A Little Book of Kindness by Ruby Jones (Penguin, $24)

9  Acid for the Children by Flea (Headline Books, $38)

“The first time I saw Walter [my stepfather] and his friends playing hardcore be-bop jazz in our living room, it literally shook my world. The music threw me on the floor; it was like someone speaking in tongues at a church meeting or being in an ecstatic trance. It was as if it was a magic trick or Moses parting the ocean. If I grew wings and flew it wouldn’t have been any more miraculous than what those guys were doing.” – Flea, to GQ

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

“What irked me more was the dog walkers who would diligently pick up their dogs’ offerings, knot the plastic bag, and then just drop it in the bushes. I always wondered what dog-shit fairies they thought would come in the night and spirit it away.”

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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