The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending December 17


The only chart of the best-selling independent books in New Zealand published and available is the list of top 10 sales recorded weekly at Unity Books stores in High St, Auckland and Willis St, Wellington.


1 Shifting Grounds: Deep Stories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland by Lucy Mackintosh (Bridget Williams Books, $ 60)

Answer to the question “What do I buy an Aucklander for Christmas if I want them to think I am?” Number one? “

Oh, do you want to know more than that? Okay. In the Herald, Simon Wilson calls Shifting Ground “great reading.” Further words follow: “It is a story of the city centered on what we can learn by studying ‘place’. The landscapes, the places and the secrets and counter-stories they reveal. Not the story as we learn it from the written word, she says, as much as the story that springs from the earth. “Start with what lies beneath our feet,” she says, and inform it with “mātauranga Māori, archeology, geography, botany and material culture”. And, I would add, the storytelling arts. The book is full of stories on the edge of stories, stories buried by the heaviest stories of mainstream cultural understanding, stories that make you think again.

2 Ah Guillaume! by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $ 35)

Lucy Barton stars in her third excellent novel. What an attention seeker.

3 Ottolenghi test kitchen: shelf love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad (Ebury Press, $ 55)

A delicious addition to any shelf. The Guardian gives a sweet summary: “In 2020, most of us finally turned to that ‘pantry shelf’, the one full of overlooked ingredients, and tried to cook a meal. The shelves of Yotam Ottolenghi and his test kitchen team, led by Noor Murad, may have been better equipped than most, but in this guide to making the most of what you have is inspiration that shines, rather than addiction to fancy ingredients.

4 The promise by Damon Galgut (Chatto & Windus, $ 37)

This year’s Booker winner.

5 Cuckoo Earth Cloud by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster, $ 35)

The book that strength Editor-in-chief Catherine Woulfe to use the word “uplifting”. In situ: “I hate the word ‘uplifting’ but really there is no other word – reading this book uplifted me, left me more hope, more appeased. It has been weeks now and this feeling persists. This is exactly the book I needed.

6 Aroha: Maori wisdom for a happy life lived in harmony with our planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $ 30)

What more could you ask for at Christmas than Aroha?

seven Those precious days by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury, $ 33)

A new collection of essays by the author of Brain Bel Canto. Patchett shares stories and thoughts about his family, his friendship and cancer, his decision not to have children, and his appreciation for life’s precious moments. The title of the essay was first published in Harper magazine, if you want to try before you buy.

8 The softness of the water by Nathan Harris (Tinder Press, $ 35)

Historical fiction set at the end of the Civil War. He’s been drafted for The Booker, is part of both Oprah’s Book Club and Obama’s Summer Reading 2021 Pick, and Harris has been compared to Colson Whitehead. Cheers his ears, basically.

9 Snow country by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson, $ 37)

A new novel that loosely follows Faulk’s 2005 book Human Traces.

ten What I learned in art school by Megan Dunn (Penguin, $ 35)

Megan Dunn is a local writer’s delight, and her book of essays and memoirs is one of our favorites this year. It is filled with lines like “The [high school] library was organized by the Dewey decimal system and raged with prepubescent curiosity “and” The Mammoth Hunters. Not sure, never read it. I’m pretty sure it involved mammoths. And it’s less than 200 words from this extract – A good price-performance ratio.


1 Cuckoo Earth Cloud by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster, $ 35)

2 Aroha: Maori wisdom for a happy life lived in harmony with our planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $ 30)

3 Ottolenghi test kitchen: shelf love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad (Ebury Press, $ 55)

4 The promise by Damon Galgut (Chatto & Windus, $ 37)

5 Dune by Frank Herbert (Hodder, $ 28)

The 1965 sci-fi classic, whose new cinematic counterpart is now adorning our big screens.

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

A little book with great endurance. Frankly, it’s been a turbulent shock of a year, but Imagining Decolonization has been as consistently and stubbornly on the bestseller list as something chemically fused to… something else. (Sorry, but it’s almost Christmas.)

seven Silverview by John le Carré (Viking, $ 35)

Le Carré’s latest novel. RIP, master spy.

8 Those precious days by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury, $ 33)

9 Beautiful people, where are you by Sally Rooney (Faber, $ 33)

Most recent of the rooney.

ten Taste: My life through food by Stanley Tucci (Fig tree, $ 45)

Another nice summary from The Guardian: “Actor Stanley Tucci is a famous and charming man and in Taste, his belly-led memoir, he wrote an utterly charming book. Luckily, it contains few acting anecdotes and lengthy tips and recipes for the rustic pasta dishes he grew up with as an Italian-American in upstate New York, as well as the stories. that underpin them.

Bridget Jones (Stuff’s, not Helen Fielding’s brain) says reading is “like a meal with a buddy”.


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