A wonderful bubble. Indoors, happy and healthy. Photo: Istock.

The weekly Unity Books best-seller list – June 17

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



1. In Love with These Times: The Flying Nun Story (HarperCollins, $37) by Roger Shepherd

You’ve bought the book (or should), now read the brilliant essay about it.

2. Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley (Victoria University Press, $30) by Danyl Mclauchlan

A mystery novel set in Wellington’s cold, dark abyss. Featuring no less than three toilets; and here are five things the author was thinking about while writing it.

3. The Sympathizer (Little Brown, $28) by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer award for fiction so it must be good.

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

Wellingtonian history buffs still can’t get enough of Ponsonby Road’s B-list celebrity stamping ground.

5. The Vegetarian: A Novel (Portobello Books, $23) by Han Kang

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker prize for international fiction so it must be good – in fact, writes Wyoming Paul in her Spinoff review, it’s awesome.

6. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus (Penguin, $40) by Douglas Rushkoff

The downfalls of digital technology. Uber is bad, Airbnb is bad, everything is bad, etc.

7. The Improbability of Love (Bloomsbury, $21) by Hannah Rothschild

“Annie McDee, alone after the disintegration of her long-term relationship and trapped in a dead-end job, is searching for a present for her unsuitable lover in a neglected second-hand shop…”. Debut novel by UK writer.

8. When Breath Becomes Air (Random House, $37) by Paul Kalanithi

A neurosurgeon who makes a living saving the dying ends up with cancer himself. What is the meaning of life, and so on.

9. In the Supplementary Garden (Cold Hub Press, $40) by Diana Bridge

New Zealand poetry in the best-seller chart!!!

10. In Gratitude (Bloomsbury, $30) by Jenny Diski

Marion McLeod reviews not just “another fucking cancer diary“.



1. In Love with These Times: The Flying Nun Story (HarperCollins, $37) by Roger Shepherd

2. A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld, $25) by Marlon James

A surprise reappearance on the chart by the winner of the 2015 Man Booker prize.

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

A sort-of memoir about loneliness in which a lonely woman becomes more lonely by immersing herself in artists whose work seems “troubled by loneliness”.

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

5. East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $40) by Philippe Sands

Memoir by a human rights lawyer, with the “density of a first-rate thriller.”

6. The Unraveling (Atlantic, $25) by Emma Sky

An insider’s account of how and why the Iraq adventure failed. #fail

7. Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $28) by Henry Marsh

A man who operates on brains provides terrifying insights into brain operations.

8. How Did We Get into This Mess? (Verso, $39) by George Monbiot

Everything is bad.

9. High Rise (Fourth Estate, $23) by JG Ballard

Ballard’s 1975 novel has been re-released as a movie tie-in.

10. All four of the Elena Ferrante ‘Neapolitan Novels’

My Brilliant Friend (Text, $30) by Elena Ferrante

The Story of a New Name (Text, $30) by Elena Ferrante

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (Text, $30) by Elena Ferrante

The Story of the Lost Child (Text, $37) by Elena Ferrante

Yes, Ferrante, she’s amazing, but – Aucklanders! You’re so fickle! How come you’ve all of a sudden stopped buying Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life? It was number one for weeks, months actually – and now it’s nowhere! What’s with that?

The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.