The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending February 18


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


1 Atomic Habits: An Easy, Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear (Random House Business, $40)

Don’t set a goal to run 5k – become a runner at heart. That’s what James Clear would say. What we’re saying is it’s too hot in Auckland to become a runner. Take a nap or read a book instead.

2 In Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador, $38)

You know a novel is great when it has a Wikipedia page one month after publication. The Dartmouth can do the job of describing all three parts of the novel this week: “In Yanagihara’s 1893, homosexuality is legal, but racism and classism still live on in everyday American life. The 1993 section centers on the AIDS epidemic in New York, featuring a character who is Hawaiian royalty, but from a Hawaii that was able to gain independence from the United States. 2093 is perhaps the most terrifying; set in a world that is constantly in a pandemic and a totalitarian regime has toppled the shreds of our democracy. The Dartmouths review is only lukewarm, but we are hot for Hanya.

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

Last year’s Booker winner is now also up for the Rathbones Folio Prize, aka the Booker’s nemesis.

4 The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate, $33)

After attempting to end her life, Nora finds herself in an endless library where each book tells the story of a different path her life may have taken. A 2021 bestseller that is still holding up.

5 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

Our second favorite in the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction longlist, ranked by awesomeness. Anna Rawhiti-Connell wrote a review last year: “It’s a generous book. Generous in the humor he delivers; generous in his story of lost love, family, our fragility and our wounds; generous in its embrace of contemporary New Zealand. I read it during lockdown and – without sounding too cliché or using undergraduate essay adjectives – it reminded me that it’s okay to find humor in difficult times, and to find joy and acceptance among a whole lot of mess.

6 Dunes by Frank Herbert (Hodder, $28)

Now a film with the dark gaze of Timothée Chalamet.

7 Violet by Isabel Allende (Bloomsbury, $37)

by Isabelle Allende twenty one delivered.

8 Love marriage by Monica Ali (Simon & Schuster, $35)

“Yasmin Ghorami is 26 years old, in training to become a doctor (like her father of Indian origin), and engaged to the charismatic and bourgeois Joe Sangster, whose formidable mother, Harriet, is a famous feminist. The chasm between the families is immense. The same goes for the chasm in the sexual experience between Yasmin and Joe.

“As the wedding day approaches, misunderstandings, infidelities and long-standing secrets upend both Yasmin’s relationship and that of her parents, a ‘marriage of love’, according to the family tradition to which Yasmin has believed all his life.”

Hats off to the blurb from a great publisher.

9 bloody woman by Lana Lopesi (Bridget Williams Books, $40)

A recently published, beautifully covered local book of essays on being a Samoan woman. Let this short excerpt speak for itself.

While I’m skeptical that a nice pair of earrings is enough to accomplish the ongoing acts necessary for decolonization, there’s something tangibly powerful about reclaiming parts of yourself. . I know the superpower that Nieves is talking about from my own experiences of appearing a pair of faux tortoiseshell hoops, or a pair of recently purchased coral-shaped gold hoops. They give you a charge that can get you through a rough morning or help you clear up space in an intimidating room. It also puts the moana or fanua – either literally or symbolically – next to your ears, as the ancestors may have a direct line to you.

ten The Island of Lost Trees by Elif Shafak (Viking, $37)

Turkish author Elif Shafak’s new novel is partly told by a loquacious and wise fig tree. From the Washington Post (with a crude and distracting interjection from The Spinoff): “American readers [and presumably also New Zealand readers, eyeroll] unfamiliar with Cyprus’ tumultuous history will appreciate how gracefully Shafak bends into the details of the violence that swept the island nation in the second half of the 20th century. But this is not a novel about cataclysms that reshape nations; it’s about how these disasters reshape ordinary lives.


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

The most powerful never falls.

Read our review, by Anahera Gildea, here.

2 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

3 Leadership Levers: Unlocking the Power of Relationships for Exceptional Team Participation, Alignment, and Results by Diana Jones (Routledge, $55)

Do you suspect you might be a bit of a shit boss? Come on, buy a self-help book.

4 In Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador, $38)

5 Four thousand weeks: time and how to use it by Oliver Burkeman (Bodley Head, $38)

How can we best use our limited time on Earth? Oliver Burkeman gives us practical advice, historical context and philosophical reflections. “Our acceptance of finite time – of what there is only – has pretty much coincided with the clock and the clock. It has made time more urgent and precious. Most of our anxieties, according to Burkeman, stem from the fact that “every moment of our existence is crossed by what Heidegger called finitude”, or a nagging feeling that we could waste the little time we have”.

You can thank the Guardian for this dose of existential terror.

6 Stolen Concentration: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury, $35)

Not only do you have a limited time, but you can’t leave Instagram either.

7 normal people by Sally Rooney (Faber, $23)

We tried to find something new to say about normal people through the Google machine, and came away with this new Conversations with Friends TV show trailer in place. Enjoy your extra minute of procrastination.

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

9 The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury, $25)

Winner of the 2012 Orange Prize and BookTok.

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

A spin-off Favorite 2021sneaking into the bestsellers for another round.


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