The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending May 13


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)

We have a feature article on this autobiographical novel in progress, meanwhile this acknowledgments section says it all:

“Thank you to the chaotic city of Tāmaki Makaurau from which I burned, bloomed and reborn many times and on which I loosely based this book. Ngā mihi nui ki ngā iwi Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāi Tai, Te Wai-o -Hua, Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei, Ngāti Te Ata me Te Kawerau à Maki Thank you to all the communities here who, despite the eternal struggle with gentrification, colonization, housing and rattling capitalism, physically endure and continue to create culture.

2 Blocking Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder and Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)

Real political intrigue, murder, conspiracy, corruption, financial scandal and sworn enemies. Bill Browder’s new non-fiction follows his best-selling book Red Notice, detailing nearly two decades of being targeted by Putin.

3 Grand: Becoming my mother’s daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, $35)

A new local memoir that book editor Catherine Woulfe recently delighted – here is an excerpt from said rave: “[McCarthy’s] the anecdotes are gothic, particular; they look like bad dreams. There’s the moment when his mother brings home a huge mangy bunny from the pub and he loosens himself in the garden and slams himself into a hole in the wall screaming. The time her mother takes Noelle, aged around six, to buy some pretty white shoes for communion, then to a pub where she reveals the secret history of their family, her two eldest, secret children. Jonathan “the product of rape, says Mammy” died 11 hours after birth. Tara was adopted. On her worst nights, Mammy cries out for her lost children. Thrill.

4 The candy house by Jennifer Egan (Simon and Schuster, $38)

Jennifer Egan’s latest novel, and sequel to her Pulitzer-winning book A Visit From the Goon Squad.

5 The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor, Truth and Turmoil by Tina Brown (Century, $40)

Twenty years of filth from the royal family. If you’re rolling your eyes, here are some pros to consider: Helen Mirren likes it. Furthermore, The Times calls it “exhaustively researched” but also “disgustingly entertaining” and an “unshamed debate”. It’s been years since we had sex!

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

Hats off to those tireless souls who are still trying to improve.

7 Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in New York by Andrea Elliott (Hutchinson, $40)

For five days in December 2013, Andrea Elliott’s report about Dasani, a child living in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, appeared on the front page of The New York Times. Invisible Child covers eight years of Dasani and her family’s life. From the New York Times: “The reportage has an intimate, almost limitless feel, the first-hand observations backed up by some 14,000 pages of official documents, from report cards to drug tests to city records secured by the demands of the Freedom of Information Act. The result of this unwavering and tenacious reporting is a rare and powerful work whose stories will live on in you long after you read them.

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

The novel that won the Crystal Arts Trust Best First Book Award on Wednesday night.

Greta & Valdin was also shortlisted for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, which was won by the brilliant Whiti Hereaka Kurangaituku (which somehow isn’t on the lists this week, but has been for ages and will no doubt return triumphant next week).

9 Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Picador, $38)

Her boy was slightly stooped, the backpack a small bump on his back. Unsure of what to pack, he half-heartedly packed it with nonsense: an oversized Fair Isle sweater, tea bags, his dog-eared sketchbook, a game of Ludo and a few half-used tubes of medicated ointment. . Still, he hesitated on the corner as if the bag might tip him backwards into the gutter. Mo-Maw knew the bag wasn’t heavy. She knew it was her bones that had become dead weight.

ten The bookstore at the end of the world by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $37)

Manapouri bookseller, conservationist, sailor, four-time wife, Navy deserter, Kings Cross resident Ruth Shaw has penned a memoir, and it’s jam-packed and brimming with a life fully lived.


1 We are all made of lightning by Khadro Mohamed (We Are Babies, $25)

Wellington-based writer Khadro Mohamed’s first collection of poetry, about the experience of being a Muslim woman in New Zealand. Unity Wellington hosted the book launch on Tuesday, and it was a resounding success.

2 How to hang out in a turf war by Coco Solid (Penguin, $28)

3 Architecture of Wellington: A Walking Guide by John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds (Massey University Press, $25)

A book that teaches Wellingtonians to do what they do best, but even better: walk around and love their city.

4 Slow down, there you are by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson, $25)

We’ve got a full review in the works, but know that this slim new novel may be even better than Sprigs, who was shortlisted for last year’s Grand Prix for Fiction and whom we loved. It’s a horror about two small children locked in a shabby apartment with no adults.

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

The child star, now joined by Fragments, a kind of sibling, at number six. We hope Imagining Decolonization enjoys the company.

6 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)

This compact text from the BWB explores how New Zealand’s wars have been remembered through different narratives over the past 150 years. Don Rowe wrote a article on Fragments recently, in light of Aotearoa’s new history program.

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

8 Down in the highlands by Murdoch Stephens (Lawrence & Gibson, $30)

“Down from Upland is a kitchen sink, domestic romance that opens at the precise moment when early Millennials find themselves raising a teenager.

“While flirting with an open marriage, Jacqui and Scott push their son towards a more moderate course as he starts at a new high school and makes new friends.

“Encompassing the best and worst of Wellington’s leafy middle class, the novel features civil servants of varying integrity, precocious students at Wellington High, and a foreign lover at the end of a working holiday visa.”

Thanks, Editor’s Blurb!

9 Grand: Becoming my mother’s daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, $35)

ten Blocking Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder and Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)


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