Three girls standing at library. All wear casual clothes. One with hair in ponytails holding digital tablet, other with braids and eyeglasses. Bookshelves and desks with chairs, windows as background.

The weekly Unity Books best-seller chart: week ending November 4

The weekly best-seller chart at Unity stores in Auckland and Wellington, for the week just ended: November 4


1 City House, Country House (Godwit, 485) by John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds

City houses, country houses.

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

“The old trope goes that those who don’t learn history’s lessons are doomed to repeat them. Here, we have something different: a historian suggesting the mistakes we might make in the future”: Simon Underdown, senior lecturer in biological anthropology at Oxford Brookes University, Times Higher Education.

3 The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 (Bridget Williams Books, $80) by Vincent O’Malley

“For a time in the 1860s there were more British troops in New Zealand than almost anywhere else in the empire outside India. And the Waikato war was the defining conflict in New Zealand history – a battle between two competing visions of the nation’s future. [But] few students learn about it in school. Many of the sites where these conflicts took place are neglected (many are not even signposted)…For many Pākehā New Zealanders the wars were part of a troubled past they preferred to forget”: Vincent O’Malley, writing in the Guardian.

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

“A superb read, a book of such quality that it sweeps you into its embrace and never, quite, frees you”: Christopher Moore, the Listener.

Commonwealth (Bloomsbury, $33) by Ann Patchett

Holly Walker has the pleasure of reading and reviewing this new novel for the Spinoff Review of Books, and we look forward to her measured assessment.

6 Eileen (Vintage, $26) by Ottessa Moshfegh

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

7 Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton, $37) by Deborah Levy

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

8 The Sympathizer (Corsair, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The publisher ordered an initial print run of 20,000 copies of Nguyen’s debut novel; after it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, it whistled up 120,000.

9 My Name is Lucy Barton (Viking, $26) by Elizabeth Strout

“If you want someone who understands relationships, love, aloneness, dread, humanity, and truth, and who has the lightest touch in the world of literature, someone who makes you think, ‘Yes, oh yes,’ then lucky you if you’re yet to discover Elizabeth Strout”: Linda Burgess, Spinoff Review of Books.

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

One of about four million great one-liners by American comedian Steven Wright goes, “When I die I’m going to leave my body to science fiction.”


1 Sellout: A Novel (Oneworld, $28) by Paul Beattie

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

2 Murdoch: The Political Cartoons of Sharon Murdoch (Potton & Burton, $40) by Sharon Murdoch

Funny and frank and true.

3 Great War for NZ: Waikato 1800-2000 (Bridget Williams Books, $80) by Vincent O’Malley

4 Hag-Seed (Hogarth, $37) by Margaret Atwood

“Despite no shock element or vertiginous revelation, Atwood’s swift, consistent and uncomplicated language holds the story in good stead and one gets used to it like a face getting used to the unwavering breeze caressing it across a window”: The Times of India.

5 The Sympathizer (Piatkus, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen

6 Constitution for Aotearoa NZ (Victoria University Press, $25) by Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler

Geoffrey Palmer! Author; thinker; lawyer; politician; brass-honking muso.

7 Little & Friday Every Meal (Penguin, $50) by Kim Evans

Famous for their banana and caramel cake, with the patient instruction: “Cover tightly and store in a cool place for up to three days. The banana flavour gets better with age at room temperature.”

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

9 Vegetarian: A Novel (Portobello, $23) by Han Kang

“The reader is devoured, and then spat out again, chewed up and stunned by Han Kang’s novel”: Wyoming Paul, The Spinoff Review of Books.

10 Bunk for the Night: A Guide to NZ’s Best Backcountry Huts (Potton & Burton, $50) by Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint

A guide to New Zealand’s best backcountry huts.

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