The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending January 21


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 Dunes by Frank Herbert (Hodder, $28)

Embers by Timothée Chalamet brought this 1965 sci-fi classic back to life. Did someone say colossal sandworms?

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

In a drunken haze on New Year’s Eve, you might have said words like, “2022 is the year I’ll run a marathon/learn to play the trombone/quit smoking/read 50 books from the list Unity bestsellers”.

Atomic Habits is the book to keep you from swallowing your words. The blurb says, “No matter what your goals are, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework to improve yourself – every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading habit-forming experts, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to create good habits, break bad ones, and master the small behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

3 Harlem mix by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, $35)

The latest novel from the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

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

Another week, another Madeline Miller.

5 Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $35)

“We were married almost 20 years before I left him and we have two daughters, and we’ve been friends for a long time now – how, I don’t know exactly. There are many terrible stories of divorce, but other than the separation itself, ours is not one of them. Sometimes I thought I was going to die from the pain of our separation and the pain it caused my daughters, but I didn’t die, and I’m here, and so is William.

6 Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury, $22)

Correction! Another week, another of them Madeline Millers.

seven Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin, $24)

A cozy crime novel featuring a group of friends living in a retirement community; this is the UK best selling title of 2021.

8 Ikigai: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia (Hutchinson, $30)

Ikigai means “a reason to live” in Japanese. The blurb introduces Ikigai as the natural successor to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Hygge. While another self-help book on the secret to happiness might raise your eyes, it’s easy to see the appeal of quotes like Neil Pasricha’s: “Ikigai gently unfolds simple secrets we can all use to live a long, meaningful and happy life.”

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

A novel about young people, love and modern life. For some, it’s the book of all millennials. For the others … not really. We would probably whisper something like “go to number 10 instead”.

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

“It is 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. Sparkling Anna Rawhiti-Connell Review of fallout.


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

Wellington royalty, reclaiming number one with ease and grace.

2 Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin, $24)

3 NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women by Qiane Matata-Sipu (NUKU, $65)

In the distant past of November 2020, Leonie Hayden spoke with Qiane Matata-Sipu for The Spinoff: “She is a visionary who believes in the power of wāhine. It was the latter role that gave Matata-Sipu perhaps the toughest, but most rewarding challenge to date – profiling 100 Indigenous women through a bespoke podcast and photoshoot, posted on its own digital platforms, before ultimately culminating in a book of coffee table photography.

This is this coffee table photography book! It’s out, it’s here, it’s absolutely stunning (see photo above) and it’s a hit at number three.

4 Too much money: how wealth disparities are unbalancing Aotearoa New Zealand by Max Rashbrooke (Bridget Williams Books, $40)

A book to break the illusion that Aotearoa is a classless, just and egalitarian society.

5 Mahi Pēkena Māreikura: cooking by the good sluts of Aotearoa by Good Bitches Baking (Good Bitches Trust, $62)

The second local baking book from the Good Bitches of Aotearoa, a group that wants to show kindness to their community through cakes and cookies.

6 those precious days by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury, $33)

A magnificent collection of personal essays by the author of Bel Canto.

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

Called “amazing” by Colm Tóibín and “the most important book of the last 10 years” by Edmund White. Oh – and he also won the last Booker.

8 sorrow and happiness by Meg Mason (HarperCollins, $35)

Ann Patchett (Issue 6!) said, “Sorrow and Bliss is a brilliantly-faceted and hugely funny book about depression that engulfed me as I always hope to be engulfed in novels. As I read it, I made a list of everyone I wanted to send it to, until I realized I wanted to send it to everyone I know.

We don’t really think it’s depression (it’s another mental illness, we think, but naming it would spoil it) – but that aside, we could not agree more.

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

Incredible news! There’s a new novel from the author of A Little Life, and we’re in a hurry to cancel all weekend plans in order to read it. To Paradise received great reviews, like…

“There is something miraculous in reading In Paradise while the coronavirus crisis is still playing out around us, the dizzying sensation of being immersed in a novel that will come to represent the era, its obsessions and its anxieties. It’s rare that you get to see a masterpiece again, but To Paradise is definitely one” – The Observer

“To Paradise is a transcendent and visionary novel of stunning scope and depth. A novel so layered, so rich, so relevant, so full of the joys and the terrors – the sheer mystery – of human life, is not only rare, it is groundbreaking” – Michael Cunningham

“To Paradise is a world unto itself, a major work, and one of the few books equipped to tell us what it means to be American” – Louise Erdrich


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


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