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 How to hang out in a turf war by Coco Solid (Penguin, $28)
Jessica Hansell’s alter ego – rapper, director, producer and actor Coco Solid – has penned a semi-autobiographical memoir. We assume that Jessica Hansell also contributed. She said Long live that no matter the type of art, she always aims for the same thing: “At the bottom of it all, I always tell a story. I always draw from the things I know. I always try to resonate with the scattered and like-minded people I know around the world and give them some respite, comfort and representation. It can transcend the medium; I don’t think artists should deprive themselves of it. I’m just here to provide a sense of belonging to my people, but more specifically to small pockets of weirdos.
2 Atomic Habits: An Easy, Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear (Random House Business, $40)
It is always, still a good time to start flossing.
3 Russia: Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921 by Antony Beevor (Viking, $60)
“Beevor has delivered to us what is perhaps his most brilliant book to date – a masterpiece of historical imagination, in which the tragedy and horror of this colossal struggle are found, in its impact on daily life as well as in its military dimensions, like never before.. It is a great book, whose description of savage inhumanity speaks powerfully of our current condition. That of the author John Gray.
4 pure color by Sheila Heti (Harvill Secker, $35)
We let out a little cry of joy when Sheila Heti’s new novel was released. The Guardian didn’t shout, but called Pure Color “brazenly strange” and “nothing less than vital”. The particular flavor of strangeness of Pure Color includes the young narrator passing 40 pages of the book in a leaf in the company of her deceased father. Want more context? Shame. We’ll flip you (haha) while you have to read Pure Color yourself.
5 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)
Comfortable and comforting, read this banger. If you’re thinking “Well, there’s no point, I’ve already consumed Greta and Valdin in one sip”, here is a treat – Rebecca K Reilly’s recent Spinoff essay on growing up looking at Shortland Street.
6 Blocking Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder and Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)
Stuff describes this follow-up to Red Notice as “a biting tale of [Browder’s] efforts to expose the biggest snout in the biggest hollow in the world. That pig would be Putin – and after just reading the Freezing Order blurb… we feel rather anxious that we just called Putin a pig.
seven time is a mother by Ocean Vuong (Jonathan Cape, $35)
The new collection of poetry from the author of On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous.
8 Ikigai: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia (Hutchinson, $30)
You don’t read “long and happy life” and think, “No, I think I’m going to make it,” do you? No wonder Ikigai is still selling strongly six years later. Marketing genius.
9 Stolen Concentration: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury, $35)
We think it has something to do with what we ate for dinner.
ten Things we lost in the water by Eric Nguyen (Vintage, $37)
A first novel about a Vietnamese family who immigrate to New Orleans. From the New York Times: “The book opens in 1978, when a Vietnamese woman named Huong escaped the turmoil of this city and brought her sons, Tuân and Bình, to New Orleans without her husband. Nguyen’s narrative strikes a very elusive balance: vast in scale and ambition, yet luscious and inviting – enchanting, really – in its intimacy.
“Together, mother and son have left a home in search of the possibility of another, but what constitutes a home metabolizes differently for each of them. Huong finds some kind of solace in a new lover, a second-hand car salesman named Vinh, and Tuân becomes involved with the Southern Boyz, a local gang of Vietnamese refugees. Bình, who adopts the name Ben, seeks solace in his homosexuality and the fracture his sexuality causes in his relationship with his family.Nguyen has created a rotating triptych of characters who, despite their closeness, or perhaps even because of it, remain a paradox to each other.
1 Architecture of Wellington: A Walking Guide by John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds (Massey University Press, $25)
A windy little capital, five walking routes, 120 buildings. The weather is getting gloomy, but Wellingtonians are still keen to explore their city – or at least read about it.
2 imagining decolonization by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)
Imagining decolonization in bestsellers. One of life’s great constants.
3 Fragments of a contested past: memory, denial and New Zealand history by Joanna Kidman, Vincent O’Malley, Liana MacDonald, Tom Roa and Keziah Wallis (Bridget Williams Books, $15)
And a shiny new constant! Fragments here with his older brother.
4 Russia: Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921 by Antony Beevor (Viking, $60)
5 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)
6 Grand: Becoming my mother’s daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, $35)
New local memory. We I loved – here are a few words from book editor Catherine Woulfe to encourage you to buy a copy: “Your heart breaks for her, and for the women of this family, and just for the women – it turns out that the two great – Noëlle’s mothers, overcome by shame or depression, walked in icy rivers. One of them came out, worried about what the neighbors would think.
“Is Noelle going to enter the river? We know she won’t, but like in other recent outstanding memoirs (I kept thinking of Tara Westover’s Educated and Charlotte Grimshaw’s The Mirror Book), there’s a wicked anxiety here. We teeter, cluttered with story after story, always with the feeling that something worse is coming, that this dark, choppy river is rising.
seven Aroha: Maori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)
Aroha has returned to bestsellers recently, and we think there are two reasons: one, it’s fabulous. Second, Hinemoa Elder has a new book coming out soon – yes, horribly, October can now be classified as “soon”.
Here is a short description that the author gave to Women’s Weekly“This is the Maori moon Hina, the female deity who guides us every day and night of our Maori lunar calendar. I wanted to write a book that I would have liked to read when I was younger.
8 bad actors by Mick Herron (John Murray, $37)
The eighth mystery novel in the Herron’s Slough House series. It comes with a wealth of tasty facts, including the BBC calling Mick Herron “the Square of the future” and that the books are now an Apple TV+ series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.
9 Robin White: Something’s going on here by Sarah Farrar, Jill Trevelyan and Nina Tonga (Te Papa Press, $70)
Robin White has been creating art since the early 1970s and is now being recognized with a major retrospective of her work at Te Papa – and in the form of this glorious hardback in which, unusually, the words live up to the splendid aesthetic.
ten Things that I remember or that were said to me by Carol Shand (Writes Hill Press, $40)
The new self-published memoir of Wellington GP Carol Shand, who has spent decades fighting for change in maternity care, access to contraceptives, abortion law and how assault charges sexual are treated. Unity Wellington hosted the book launch last night and we can say with no certainty (we weren’t there) that it was a rager.