The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending January 28


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 In paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador, $38)

The ridiculously talented author of A Little Life has a new novel – and what a perfect time for a long weekend! (The emphasis is on ‘long’; the book is an ambitious 720 pages).

But in the heart of the matter. The Guardian calls To Paradise “a novel with many faces. I could tell you, for example, it’s about colonialism and racism in America today; or that it is a queer counterfactual history (and future) that asks what would happen if sexuality were de-stigmatized (and then re-stigmatized); or an elegy for the lost kingdom of Hawaii. I think most readers will focus on the longest section of the book, the third, in which Yanagihara talks about a series of pandemics and how they will reshape society in the decades to come.

2 Big Panda and Little Dragon by James Norbury (Michael Joseph, $35)

A sweet illustrated hardback book on friendship to melt even the most frozen and ossified heart. The title alone has a slight defrosting effect!

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

Lucy Barton returns for a third act, accompanied by her ex-husband William. Ann Patchett says, “Elizabeth Strout is one of my favorite writers, so the fact that Oh William! perhaps my favorite of his books is a math equation for joy. The depth, complexity and love contained within these pages is a miraculous achievement.

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

Anahera Gildea has written a fantastic new review of this superstar and local bestseller. Here is an excerpt: “One of the book’s enduring drivers is that colonization is here to stay and that any rebuilding we engage in, whether of our minds or of the colonial machinery, must be done in concert with each other. with the others. We cannot disintegrate life, we are interdependent – ​​our stories tell us. From how “our ancestors crossed Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa,” how they survived Parata Gorge, and how we might too. Jackson’s discussion of restoring justice, values ​​and balance goes well beyond decolonization. It is the hopeful future based on a whakapapa paradigm, the ecology of relationships, and the act of relinquishing power and authority.

5 Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, $23)

A magnificent novel that dreamily transcends the boundaries of fantasy, science fiction and literature. Highly recommended for anyone who needs a short, sweet escape from reality.

6 It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (Simon & Schuster, $23)

A good old-fashioned novel about a workaholic named Lily who is torn between her perfect boyfriend and her first love. To be enjoyed on the beach with a mimosa in hand.

7 Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)

The new novel It.

8 The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk (text edition, $40)

Call everyone you know! There’s a new novel by the brilliant Olga Tokarczuk, aka winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the International Man Booker Prize. The novel traces the rise and fall of Jacob Frank, a charismatic religious leader who divided opinion across 18th century Europe.

9 On Earth, We Are Briefly Magnificent by Ocean Vuong (Vintage, $24)

Ocean Vuong’s first bestseller, well deserving of this passionate note of love from Ben Lerner: “Ocean Vuong comes up against the limits of language – this book is for a mother who cannot read it – and expands our sense of what literature can make visible, thinkable, felt across borders, generations and genres. It is a courageous and embodied investigation into the entanglement of colonial and personal histories. It’s also a magnificent argument for wonder rather than irony – for the transformative possibilities of love.

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

Achilles – the myth, the legend and now the hero of a queer love story that Aucklanders just can’t stop buying.


1 In paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador, $38)

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

The slightly older It novel.

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

From the publisher’s blurb: “We believe that our inability to focus is a personal failure – a flaw in all of us. It’s not. It has been done to all of us by powerful outside forces. Our lens has been stolen. Johann discovered that there are twelve severe cases of this crisis, all of which diverted some of our attention. He shows us how, in an exciting journey that goes from dissidents in Silicon Valley to a favela in Rio where attention has disappeared, to an office in New Zealand that has found a remarkable way to restore our attention. New Zealand! What a thrill.

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

5 Ottolenghi test kitchen: love for shelves by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad (Ebury Press, $55)

Recipes designed to turn your pantry staples into something ottolenghi-rific.

6 The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa (Picador, $20)

An enchanting international bestseller that includes all of our magical realism favourites: talking cats, bookstores and, yes, orphans.

“After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. Looks like he’ll have to close the shop. Then, a talking tabby called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This strange couple will live three magical adventures to save books from people who have imprisoned, abused and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone…” Thank you, Picador.

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

If you live to be 80, your life will last only four thousand weeks. Frightening? Yes. But also, for Oliver Burkeman, important – a way to stop focusing on the endless to-do list, and instead take time for what really matters in our lives.

8 The Chancellor: Angela Merkel’s Remarkable Odyssey by Kati Marton (HarperCollins $40)

An intimate look at one of the world’s most powerful political leaders. According to the publisher’s blurb: “Famous for her discretion, the woman who emerges from these pages is a model for anyone who wishes to acquire and maintain power while remaining true to their moral convictions. Part compelling political biography, part intimate human portrait, and part revealing look at successful leadership in action, The Chancellor brings one of the most extraordinary women of our time out of the shadows.

9 Maori Philosophy: Native Thought of Aotearoa by Georgina Stewart (Bloomsbury, $39)

An excellent introduction to Maori philosophy.

10 The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Hutchinson, $37)

A road adventure across the United States and the latest novel from the author of The Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. Goodreads’ Angela M. said, “I thought I was going on a cross-country adventure on the Lincoln Highway, but I found myself on a journey of the heart with these characters.” No.


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