A rocky island in the river. River Omulevka. Magadan Region. Russia.

The weekly Unity Books best-seller list – August 5

A weekly feature at the Spinoff Review of Books: The best-selling books at the Wellington and Auckland stores of Unity Books.



1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Little Brown, $50) by JK Rowling,  Jack Thorne and John Tiffany 

Plot summary, courtesy of Charlotte Graham at the Spinoff: “Harry Potter hasn’t slept much for 20 years and it has made him sort of a dickhead.”

2 Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria Unity Press, $25) by Hera Lindsay Bird

The world and its horny dog went crazy for her “Keats Is Dead [etc]” poem but the “Monica” one (debuted at the Spinoff) was funnier.

3 Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953 (Auckland University Press, $70) by Peter Simpson

The best art book of 2016, no question, as the author draws fascinating parallels with the Christchurch art scene and the Bloomsbury set. He wrote at the Spinoff,I was struck by how like London’s Bloomsbury Group [they] seemed, how similar to the forces of friendship, artistic experiment, radical politics, pacifism and variety of sexual preference.”

4 White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World (Text, $37) by Geoff Dyer

We asked for an interview but his PR said nah he’s a bit over that sort of thing tbh which come to think of it is exactly how we feel about his writing.

5 Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays in Place from Aotearoa New Zealand (Victoria University Press, $40) ed Ingrid Horrocks & Cherie Lacey


6 In Love with These Times: My Life with Flying Nun Records (HarperCollins, $37) by Roger Shepherd

“In part,” wrote Gary Steel at the Spinoff, “In Love with these Times is a book that seeks to explain to all those former Flying Nun acts who felt slighted and unloved and unpaid that hey, Roger Shepherd was a decent dude, and you know, all that dough just got absorbed in running expenses.”

7 The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (Canongate, $40) by Olivia Laing

Breaking: Ashleigh Young hasn’t yet completed her long-awaited review.

8 A Little Life (Picador, $25) by Hanya Yanagihara

“It becomes darker and then it moves along and it gets darker and darker still,” as the author said in an exclusive interview with Kiran Dass at the Spinoff.

9 Things That Matter: Stories of Life & Death from an Intensive Care Specialist (Allen & Unwin, $37) by Dr David Galler

Memoir by an Auckland quack who worked as an intensive care specialist at Middlemore for  25 years.

10 Silk Roads: A New History of the World (Bloomsbury, $28) by Peter Frankopan

How much is that silk scarf in the window of history, etc.


1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II (Little Brown, $50) by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

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

3 Futuna: Life of a Building (Victoria University Press, $50) by Gregory O’Brien and Nick Bevin

A kind of architectural inspection of the famous Wellington chapel.

4 All Day at the Movies (Vintage, $38) by Fiona Kidman

Kelly Ana Morey has conducted a very lively interview with the author at that writing academy thing.

5  Things that Matter: Stories of Life and Death from an Intensive Care Specialist (Allen & Unwin, $37) by David Galler

6  Silk Roads: A New History of the World (Bloomsbury, $28) by Peter Frankopan

7  Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953 (Auckland University Press, $70) by Peter Simpson

8  Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in The 1940s (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $40) by Anne Sebba

“Anne Sebba’s account of the French women who dared to say no to the Nazis is compelling”: the Guardian.

9  Salt River Songs (Potton & Burton, $25) by Sam Hunt

Latest collection by the bard of Kaipara, featuring “My Father’s Waistcoats”, first published at the Spinoff.

10   SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Profile, $28) by Mary Beard

“I rarely feel compelled to go there but when I do, I have to admit that I have a great time”: Nici Weekes, Viva.

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