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 Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)
Hmm, could it be that a book could be both commercial and an Acorn Prize winner? May be! G&V is one of four novels still in the running for our top fiction award, and it’s absolutely the most commercial of the bunch, if commercial means “sells super well” and “fun to read.”
2 Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $35)
A little Friday treat for you: Elizabeth Strout in conversation with Elena Ferrante.
3 The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy (Penguin, $30)
Professor Serhii Plokhy is director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard. You can dip a toe into his thoughts on the war in Ukraine in the New Yorker before launching into the depths of his book, which details the history of Ukraine from the arrival of the Vikings in the 10th century to the annexation of Crimea.
4 In Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador, $38)
Outside the world stormed and burned – the Germans pushing deeper and deeper into Africa, the French still pushing their way through Indochina, and closer, the last scares in the Colonies: shootings, hangings and beatings, immolations, events too terrible to contemplate and yet so close too – but none of these things, especially those closest to them, were allowed to pierce the cloud of grandfather’s dinner parties, where everything was soft and hard made malleable; even the sole had been steamed so skillfully that it was enough to scoop it up with the spoon held out for you, the bones giving way at the slightest nudge of the silver. But still, it was getting harder and harder not to let the outside in, and for dessert, a whipped ginger syllabub as light as frothed milk, David wondered if the others thought, like him, to this precious ginger root which had been found and dug in the colonies and brought here to the free states and purchased by Cook at great expense: who had been forced to dig and harvest the roots? From what hands had it been taken?
5 Vā: Stories of Moana Women edited by Sisilia Eteuati & Lani Young (Tatou Publishing, $40)
An exquisite new book of 38 stories written by Maori and Pasifika women. Read Sisilia Eteuati’s essay on the provocative origins of Tatou Publishing, and this, their first book:
“A tsunami is often caused by a land shift and the revitalization of this group has been the ground shift for Vā – it’s like with all these wāhine together, the energy and the stories just can’t be contained .”
6 Atomic Habits: An Easy, Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear (Random House Business, $40)
Atomic Habits has sold over seven million copies, which just goes to show that your bad habits are in good company.
7 Shifting Grounds: Deep Stories from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland by Lucy Mackintosh (Bridget Williams Books, $60)
Tāmaki Makaurau’s story of Lucy Mackintosh has been shortlisted for the (deep breath) Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction, and we wouldn’t be crazy if his lively and beautiful book struck gold.
8 The promise by Damon Galgut (Chatto & Windus, $37)
Booker’s most recent winner, described in iNews as “a cheerful masterclass in modernism, written using a narrator that revolves around the action, in and out of the heads of different characters, often in the same The result is a dizzying adventure that underscores one of the most appealing aspects of fiction: it’s what brings us closest to inhabiting other perspectives (including, at one point, that of a couple of hungry jackals).
9 The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate, $33)
A 2021 bestseller, still dominating its corner of the sandbox.
ten Stolen Concentration: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury, $35)
We can’t concentrate because we have the Covid brain, and every time we walk into a new room… we have no idea what got us there. Did we want to brush our teeth? Fry an egg? Wear pants? Eating a handful of vitamin C? Complete mystery.
1 Minority super model by Chris Tse (Auckland University Press, $25)
The newest collection of poems by Aotearoa’s greatest living poet (who is also, coincidentally, the poetry editor of The Spinoff). Naomii Seah served a glowing review:
“As a member of a double minority, for me the conscious portrayal of Tse’s existence in New Zealand is relatable and, for that reason, deeply uncomfortable. As a diaspora and as tick boxes of diversity, we have all sacrificed and commodified aspects of ourselves in an attempt to fit the mold. Me too, “I had gone somewhere far away using all my tricks to convince a racist country to love me”. This collection signals the beginning of a healing process.
“Embedded in these deeply conflicted narratives is also a sense of catharsis. Tse gives the reader permission to be angry and leaves room for tough questions and strong emotions, never apologizing or minimizing them.
2 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)
3 imagining decolonization by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)
We can make casual remarks about Imagining Decolonization being Wellington’s best dog and lord until the cows come home, but here’s something a little more substantial from Anahera Gildea recent review“A restoration ethic is not a renovation, a colonial upgrade or a makeover. There is no proper wallpaper that will hide blemishes, no carpet that will even out sloping ground, and no shed volume that can mitigate invasion. To restore something is to heal it.
4 The promise by Damon Galgut (Chatto & Windus, $37)
5 Stolen Concentration: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury, $35)
6 Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brene Brown (Vermilion, $45)
Lost in a sea of emotions, without a map or compass to navigate your emotions? Brene Brown has a helpful new atlas for that. Full color comics included.
7 Tangled Life: How Mushrooms Create Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Future by Merlin Sheldrake (Vintage, $24)
“Mushrooms are veteran survivors of ecological disturbances. Their ability to hold on – and often thrive – during times of catastrophic change is one of their defining characteristics. They are inventive, flexible and collaborative. With much of life on Earth threatened by human activity, are there ways we can partner with fungi to help us adapt?
“It may sound like the delusional daydreams of someone buried up to their necks in rotting wood shavings, but a growing number of radical mycologists think just that.”
8 give to others by Donna Leon (Hutchison, $35)
Donna Leon 31st novel from the Guido Brunetti series. It’s three-one.
9 Fish by Lloyd Jones (Penguin, $36)
Peculiar new novel from one of New Zealand’s biggest literary celebrities – the Booker shortlisted author of Mister Pip. We will publish a review, by Vincent O’Sullivan, on Sunday.
ten The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury, $25)
A novel from 2011 that has been so successful recently that people are publish playlists to accompany it, with specific songs to sob, pity, lift your spirits and make you believe in love again. Go ahead and enjoy the full experience.