The weekly Unity Books best-seller list – June 24

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: My Life with Flying Nun Records (HarperCollins, $37) by Roger Shepherd

Number one for the third week running, and deservedly so; the dude can write.

2 The Romanovs: 1613 – 1918 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $50) by Simon Sebag Montefiore 

History is one damned vodka after another: acclaimed study of four centuries of Russian rule.

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

We still await Ashleigh Young’s essay on this popular and serious book.

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

“An exceptional memoir,” wrote the Guardian, of the human rights lawyer’s book, which also studies the Nuremberg trials.

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

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The author recently described it as a kind of response to Apocalypse Now, which he hated for its portrait of the Vietnam War.

6 The Abundance (Canongate, $40) by Annie Dillard

Personal essays and nature writing given a mixed review at the Spinoff this week by Rebecca Priestley.

7 The Vegetarian (Portobello Books, $23) by Han Kang

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker prize for international fiction, very favourably reviewed at the Spinoff by Wyoming Paul.

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

But is the movie any good?

9 The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones (Headline, $40) by Rich Cohen

A reporter goes on the road with the Stones in the 1990s. Why?

10 Barkskins (Fourth Estate, $37) by Annie Proulx

Spinoff reviewer Elspeth Sandys absolutely loved it.


1 Tanya Ashken: Jeweller, Silversmith, Sculptor (Cameron Drawbridge, $50) by Cameron Drawbridge

The book of the artist who made the great big Albatross sculpture on Wellington’s waterfront.

2 A Surfeit of Sunsets (Rowan Press, $27) by Dulcie Castree

“Her Wellington and Otaki are so much more vivid than the versions of Wellington and Otaki I’d ever hung around in,” said the novelist’s grandson, musician Finn Johansen, in Stuff last year. “They are quiet, angry, lonely and strange places. I love it when someone can immerse you in their way of seeing.”

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

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

We ran a terrific essay last week by the author about his new novel.

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

Sally Ridge goes there quite a bit.

6 Barkskins (Fourth Estate, $37) by Annie Proulx

7 The Vegetarian (Portobello Books, $23) by Han Kang

8 The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 (HarperCollins, $35) by Lionel Shriver

Holly Walker’s review of the new novel by the author of We Have to Talk About Kevin appears at the Spinoff next week.

9 First to the Top: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Amazing Everest Adventure (Puffin Books, $25) by David Hill, illustrated by Phoebe Morris

Award-winning picture book for kids.

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

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