Goodbye to Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton from Civic Square in Hamilton; June 12. (Photo: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images)

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending July 17

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  White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism by Robin DiAngelo (Penguin Random House, $28)

“As outraged protesters rose up across the country, White Fragility” [published in 2018] became Amazon’s No. 1 selling book, beating out even the bankable escapism of the latest Hunger Games instalment. The book’s small publisher, Beacon Press, had trouble printing fast enough to meet demand; 1.6 million copies, in one form or other, have been sold. And as countless companies and institutions put out statements denouncing racism and expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and committing themselves to inclusivity, DiAngelo’s inbox was flooded with urgent emails: requests to deliver (virtually because of the pandemic) workshops and keynotes at Amazon, Nike, Under Armour, Goldman Sachs. The entreaties went on: Facebook, CVS, American Express, Netflix.” – New York Magazine this week

2  Weed: A New Zealand Story by James Borrowdale (Penguin Random House, $35)

We published an extract and a little rave the other day; Borrowdale is working on a Weed-adjacent essay for us, too.  He was the online editor of Vice New Zealand (RIP) and his book is rad.

3  Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, $23)

Sally Rooney Sally Rooney

4  Not that I’d Kiss A Girl by Lil O’Brien (Allen & Unwin, $37)

A brave and well-written memoir of coming out in New Zealand. “These girls were all, like, super gay. I wasn’t, like, super gay. Just a bit gay, maybe. Probably.”

5  Auē by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press, $35)

Winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction.

6  Pull No Punches: Memoir of a Political Survivor by Judith Collins (Allen & Unwin, $37)

Not as high up the chart as we expected, given the circumstances.

Maybe everyone just read this cheat sheet instead – it’s a list of anything in the book even vaguely related to a leadership bid or what National might look like under Collins.

Or maybe everyone just read Toby Manhire’s review.

7  Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Little, Brown Book, $25)

Highly recommended, a novel about a girl who grows up desperately neglected in the marshes of North Carolina.

8  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Penguin Classics, $24)

Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

9  Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi by Toby Morris, Ross Calman & Mark Derby (Lift Education, $20)

A finalist for the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction; winner announced in a few weeks.

10 The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir by John Bolton (Simon & Schuster, $40)

“When it’s not tallying Trump’s offences, Bolton’s book is a monument to his own grandiosity.” – the Guardian


1  Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press, $35)

2  Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)

Auckland City Libraries has 11 copies and the waitlist is still 70 people long.

3  Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Penguin, $24)

4  Not That I’d Kiss a Girl by Lil O’Brien (Allen & Unwin, $37)

5  Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad (Quercus, $38)

“As I read Me and White Supremacy, I could feel the pillars of my racial comfort crumbling and I did not like it one bit. It filled me with an unpleasant nervous energy. I blushed. I sweated. I could feel the white supremacy within me shapeshifting to try to protect itself. And each new form it tried, Saad calmly demolished.” – Elizabeth Heritage, for Stuff

6  The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir by John Bolton (Simon & Schuster, $40)

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

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8  Know Your Place by Golriz Ghahraman (HarperCollins, $40)

“I’m so proud I went into @unitybooksauckland just to see it on the shelf and take this photo, they probably thought I was a bit weird but ahhh well … Support your local bookstore, don’t just go and take a photo like I did.” – Guy Williams on Insta last month

9  Pull No Punches: Memoir of a Political Survivor by Judith Collins (Allen & Unwin, $37)

10 Nothing to See by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press, $30)

“Making lunch was cheaper, but the really important thing was that if they made it and put it in their bag when they left home they would always be close to something to eat. Alcohol had a lot of sugar in it and hunger could make you want to drink – it was important to have food close. They had both lost weight in the first months, and now they were putting it on again.”

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