BooksSeptember 30, 2016

The weekly Unity Books best-seller list: September 30


The best-seller chart at Unity Books for the week just ended: September 30


1 The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (Viking, $38) by John le Carré

By all means take note of a curious tale in the Guardian by Le Carre’s biographer, who was greatly puzzled at his subject bringing out a memoir a mere 12 months after his biography was published.

2 Born to Run (Simon & Schuster, $50) by Bruce Springsteen

The Boss by The Boss.

3 Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (Harvill Secker, $40) by Yuval Noah Harari

Extract from likely the most intellectually exciting (also depressing) book of the year: “Homo sapiens evolved in the savannah thousands of years ago, and their algorithms are not built to handle 21st-century data flows. We might try to upgrade the human data-processing system, but this may not be enough. The Internet-of-All-Things may create such huge and rapid data flows that even upgraded human algorithms won’t handle it. When cars replaced the horse-drawn carriage, we didn’t upgrade horses – we retired them. Perhaps it is time to do the same with Homo sapiens.

4 A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes  (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $40) by Adam Rutherford

Amazon blurbology: “In this captivating journey through the expanding landscape of genetics, Adam Rutherford reveals what our genes now tell us about history, and what history tells us about our genes. From Neanderthals to murder, from redheads to race, dead kings to plague, evolution to epigenetics, this is a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we are and how we came to be.”

5 Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press, $25) by Hera Lindsay Bird

You read her here first.

6 This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art (Auckland University Press, $45) by Anthony Byrt

ICY fell asleep because it’s so long (7000 words!) but actually also really fascinating: Thursday’s conversation between the author and a visitor from Christchurch.

7 Known and Strange Things (Faber & Faber, $33) by Teju Cole

“These essays track Cole’s journeys around an explosive world of drones, wars and diseases, including the kidnappings of young girls in Chibok and assassinations of terror suspects by drone warfare”: New York Times.

8 The Sellout (Oneworld, $28) by Paul Beatty

“Swiftian satire of the highest order…Giddy, scathing and dazzling”:  Wall Street Journal.

9 Can You Tolerate This? (Victoria University Press, $30) by Ashleigh Young


10 Red Herring (HarperCollins, $37) by Jonothan Cullinane

Excellent thriller set in the murky underworld of 1951 New Zealand; one of the year’s best local novels.


1 The Broken Decade: Prosperity Depression and Recovery in NZ, 1928-39 (Otago University Press, $50) by Malcolm McKinnon

The definitive history of the Great Depression.

2 Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand (Victoria University Press, $25) by Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler

Geoffrey Palmer, talking in Stuff about his favourite books:The law book that stays with me most is LCB Gower’s book Modern Company Law which gave me the first understanding as a student of how capitalism works and doesn’t work.”

3 New Zealand’s Western Front Campaign (David Bateman, $80) by Ian McGibbon

Our foremost military historian challenges the myths that exist about New Zealand’s effort  in World War I.

4 Nutshell (Jonathan Cape, $38) by Ian McEwan

A foetus walks into a bar, and says, “I’m actually the narrator of the latest novel by English writer Ian McEwan.”

5  Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (Harville Secker, $40) by Yuval Noah Harari

6 Pigeon Tunnel: Stories From My Life (Viking, $38) by John Le Carre

7 Songs of the City (HeadworX, $35) by MaryJane Thomson

“MaryJane Thomson has a raw unorthodox voice. You mightn’t agree with everything she says in her poems but she certainly demands attention and makes the reader think. She is outspoken and direct and her poems range widely through contemporary life”: Dame Fiona Kidman

8 Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press, $25) by Hera Lindsay Bird

9 Annual (Gecko Press, $40) edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris

Awesome collection of stories, drawings, and various fun things for kids, featuring a stellar range of New Zealand writers and artists such as Sharon Murdoch, Bernard Beckett, Steve Braunias, Gregory O’Brien and Sarah Laing.

10  Eileen: A novel (Vintage, $23) by Ottessa Moshfegh

“An odd double of Plath’s Bell Jar”: Guardian.


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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