The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending May 20


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 Embedded by David Burt (Mary Egan Publishing $30)

A debut thriller from a local writer, set in Afghanistan, New Zealand and New York.

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

Let the lists of glorious adjectives begin: New autobiographical, local, genre-bending fiction. Musician, artist, lawyer and writer, Coco Solid combines words with photographs and line art to create something new and fresh – we’ve got a lot more to say about her new novel in an upcoming interview, so we’ll be biting our collective tongue for now.

In the meantime, here is a link to one of Coco’s recent articles music videos.

3 Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Editors, $35)

The spectacular novel that won the 2022 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction last week! We couldn’t be happier. In January, we published a answer by esa may ranapiri“Kurangaituku allowed me to see myself within te ao Māori in a way that I didn’t have before. Kurangaituku is unambiguously queer and possibly ambiguously female and definitely a storyteller. There are so many scenes in this book that fired me up.

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

The local It Memoir, absolutely sprung into our recent review.

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

Well deserved winner of the Crystal Arts Trust Best First Book Award at Ockham’s. Relax and enjoy this funny and clever novel.

6 Voice of New Zealand Wars / He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa by Vincent O’Malley (Bridget Williams Books, $50)

Another Ockham winner who deservedly made this week’s bestsellers – Vincent O’Malley took home the overall non-fiction award, and with it $10,000. Minor controversy: It was against Charlotte Grimshaw’s memoir The Mirror Book and Patricia Grace’s From the Centre, which is like comparing oranges to a medium-rare steak, or maybe miso soup – that is – say not particularly fair or logical.

Book editor Catherine Woulfe graciously, please and thank you, requests a new Ockham category for 2023.

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

You know the desire to improve isn’t just a summer adventure when you buy Atomic Habits in May.

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

Think romance and tragedy on the level of Romeo and Juliet, but Romeo is a teenager living in the tough working-class residential areas of Glasgow, just like Juliet.

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

Linda Burgess is reviewing this one for us soon. “My God, I loved it. Do you like it?” she emailed this morning, and oh yes, yes we are.

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

After the best-selling Red Notice, Bill Browder’s tale of a life (his own, that is) of being persecuted by Putin continues in Freezing Order. A terrifying and all too real thriller.


1 Everyone is everyone but you by Jordan Hamel (Dead Bird Books, $30)

An early collection of poetry that earned the literary queens of Aotearoa fiery reviews from literary queens:

“At once emotionally distressed and devilishly sincere, a brilliant compulsive read” – Hera Lindsay Bird

“Completely batshit, whip smart and spit-your-Tui or VB crack…but mostly it’s full of heart and all the trouble the heart demands” – Tayi Tibble

Blurs the machinery of algorithmic life, makes toxic masculinity its sex toy and scriptures its Netflix reruns. Hamel is the captain of a new race with deadly mouths, shrewd footwork, and heavy hearts. Jesus doesn’t love him but I do” – Tracey Slaughter

Ho-ly – what a reception!

Hamel joins the formidable phalanx of local poets to have hit the top 10 hard in recent months: Khadro Mohamed was No. 1 last week with We’re All Made of Lightning, Rebecca Hawkes’ Meat Lovers had a good few weeks in the top three, Chris Tse’s Super Model Minority debuted at No. 1, as did Francis Samuel’s collection, Museum. Yahoo!

2 Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Editors, $35)

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

Wellingtonians: Please stop buying this book, so we can stop repeating the same joke about you all loving Wellington and walking around.

4 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)


The flip side of memory is forgetting, something that connotes not only the absence of memory, but often a conscious decision not to talk about particular events, an “unwillingness to remember”, or a burial of secrets. The researchers noted that there is a particular “art of forgetting” – a process involving the “deliberate, willful and regulated” judgment of what, on a collective level, a nation, society or group wishes to “keep and what to leave”. go, save or shred or put away, commemorate or anathematize”. And it should come as no surprise that in making such calls, bands more often prefer to remember episodes that are supposed to portray them in a positive light… An alternative approach to dealing with difficult stories might be to misremember episodes. ‘them – that is, by distorted images. or false memories, including various myths, which in New Zealand have taken the form of beliefs that the country was peacefully settled and long had the best “race relations” in the world.

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

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

No need to imagine: Imagining Decolonization is here all week, every week.

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

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

The 2021 Booker Prize winner, set in South Africa at the end of apartheid.

9 The Expectancy Effect: How Your Mindset Can Transform Your Life by David Robson (Canongate, $37)

People who believe that aging brings wisdom live longer.

Lucky charms really improve an athlete’s performance.

Taking a placebo, even if you know it is a placebo, can still improve your health.

Welcome to the expectation effect.

Thank you, Editor’s Blurb, for bringing the drama.

ten Conversations with friends by Sally Rooney (Faber, $23)

Rooney’s eldest offspring returns to the spotlight with the release of the TV series. The Guardian gave the show three stars out of five, with the caption “TV so slow it must be trolling us”, followed by this: “Sally Rooney’s second television adaptation is an aggressively uneventful affair, filled with meaningful stares and tense silences. Why isn’t anyone talking? Why can’t anything happen?

Better turn off the TV and grab a book of poetry.


About Author

Comments are closed.