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Two weeks at the top for Rose Lu. Photo by Ebony Lamb
Two weeks at the top for Rose Lu. Photo by Ebony Lamb

BooksJanuary 31, 2020

Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending January 31

Two weeks at the top for Rose Lu. Photo by Ebony Lamb
Two weeks at the top for Rose Lu. Photo by Ebony Lamb

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)

Time travel done incredibly badly, by some accounts, and impeccably well, by others.

2  This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay (Picador, $23)

“Friday 29th July, 2005 – I spend the entire night shift feeling like water is gushing into the hull of my boat and the only thing on hand to bail it out with is a Sylvanian Family rabbit’s contact lens.”

3  Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry (Michael Joseph, $26)

Was watching Sex Education last night and who should pop up in a sweet quizmaster cameo but dear Mr Fry. (Watch Sex Education).

4  Volcanoes of Auckland: A Field Guide by Bruce Hayward (Auckland University Press, $50)

A new and more backpack-friendly version of the nine-year-old classic.

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

Companion reading: JP Pomare’s In the Clearing, a terrific but rather less optimistic take on how abuse in childhood will fuck a person up.

6  Dishonesty is the Second-Best Policy by David Mitchell (Faber & Faber, $37)

“In his column for this newspaper and in the comic riffs for which he is known on shows such as QI or Have I Got News For You, he is a satirist of crass innovations, a poet of minor irritations. But in Dishonesty Is the Second-Best Policya collection of his columns from the past three years, Mitchell has reached a more macro-scale judgment.” – the Guardian.

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

New from the author of Call Me By Your Name.

8  The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur (Simon & Schuster, $30)

New from the author of Milk and Honey.

9  Potiki by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House, $30)

Seminal, menacing, published in 1987 and still relevant – a story of “dollarmen” versus tangata whenua.

10 Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner (Hachette, $35)

Words used a lot in reviews: “rollicking”, “aristocracy”, “butlers”, “vodka”.



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


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

Splendid. Maps that look like glowing spiderwebs. Graphics that make you gulp (see: child poverty). A cool bit about cats.

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

“She doesn’t hear from him for entire minutes. Her eyes begin to twitch. She can barely concentrate on the road. She hired a babysitter she couldn’t afford, she ordered a pizza, she lied to her husband and her children … She picks at something that isn’t there on her face. She can’t believe she is still driving the car. She will not turn around. He has to meet her. She begs God.

Aidan? Please.”

4  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Penguin Books, $40)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

5  American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Headline, $35)

“Fake-ass social justice literature” – Myriam Gurba for Tropics of Meta.

(Read Gurba’s review and then buy #4 instead, eh?)

6  The Boy, the Mole, the Fox & the Horse by Charles Mackesy (Ebury Press, $40)

Enjoy this restive video in which the artist/author discusses the pleasures of pen and actual ink.

7  Pathway of the Birds by Andrew Crowe (Bateman, $50)

“Skilfully traces the migration paths of our Polynesian tūpuna and highlights their mastery, ingenuity and determination in settling the great ocean of Kiwa. In doing so, it explores the depth and diversity of Polynesian islands and people, presents the most up-to-date research and findings about Polynesian origins and migration, and sheds light on the staggering extent of population and cultural loss suffered by Polynesians following contact with European nations.” – Craig Pauling, writing for Te Karaka.

8  No One is too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin Books, $8)

Greta for World President.

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

Sally Rooney Sally Rooney Sally Rooney

10 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Little, Brown, $25)

See also My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent.

Keep going!