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 Blocking Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder and Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)
With a cover like a sci-fi thriller, a bestselling author’s name on the front (remember Red Notice?), and a spine of true facts about becoming “enemy number one” Putin, Freezing Order was meant for number one. . A bit of bullshit:
“When Bill Browder’s young Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was beaten to death in a Moscow prison, Browder made it his mission to pursue his killers and ensure they were brought to justice. The first step in this mission was to find out who was behind the $230 million tax refund scheme for which Magnitsky was killed. As Browder and his team tracked the money as it exited Russia through the Baltics and Cyprus and out to Western Europe and the Americas, they were shocked to discover that Vladimir Putin himself was a beneficiary of the crime. .
2 Grand: Becoming my mother’s daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, $35)
The biggest local memory of the year. Catherine Wolfe has buckets of praise share.
3 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)
Less than a week before the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards ceremony (Wednesday 11th we’ll post the winners plus a bit of commentary at 9pm) and this week, like most weeks, the popular vote for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction goes to Rebecca K Reilly.
4 The bookstore at the end of the world by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $37)
From stuff: “[Ruth Shaw’s memoir is] packaged in a beautifully produced book, which is comforting to hold, and might lull readers into the false belief that it is merely a fanciful reflection on the trials and tribulations, joys and triumphs of bookstore and the people we meet.
“These stories are woven throughout Le libraire du bout du monde, but it is much richer than memories of slices of life. Right from the start, she explains in a factual way how she was raped as a teenager and what the consequences were. These included being sent away to give birth to a son she was not allowed to see.
5 Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Picador, $38)
Booker-winning author Shuggie Bain’s new novel, here to strike a chord with you.
6 Otherlands: a world in the making by Thomas Halliday (Allen Lane, $40)
A new history of the Earth, covering 500 million years of life on our planet. We’ll let the editors convince you that Otherlands is for you:
“Otherlands is an epic and exhilarating journey through deep time, showing us Earth as it existed and the worlds that were there before our own. Traveling back in time to the dawn of complex life, and to Across seven continents, award-winning young paleobiologist Thomas Halliday offers us a fascinating encounter with times that are normally unimaginably distant.
“Halliday immerses us in a series of ancient landscapes, from the mammoth steppe of glacial Alaska to the lush rainforests of Eocene Antarctica, with its colonies of giant penguins, to Ediacaran Australia, where the moon is well brighter than ours today. We visit the cradle of humanity; we hear the crash of the highest waterfall that the Earth has ever known; and we watch life emerge again after the asteroid impact, and the age of the mammal dawns. These lost worlds seem fantastical and yet every description – whether it’s the color of a beetle’s carapace, the rhythm of pterosaurs in flight, or the lingering smell of sulfur in the air – is grounded in the fossil record.
“Otherlands is a stunning imaginative feat: an emotional tale that underscores the tenacity of life – but also the fragility of seemingly permanent ecosystems, including our own. To read it is to see the past 500 million years not like an endless expanse of unfathomable time, but like a series of worlds, both fabulous and familiar.
7 sea of tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (Picador, $38)
The new novel from the author of Station Eleven. A time travel fantasy about pandemics, lunar colonies and the paranormal. The Guardian is a fan, writing that “Sea of Tranquility continues the good work Station Eleven has done in enticing new readers into speculative fiction. In fact, the book uses a lot more hard-core science fiction concepts – space travel, sinister scientific institutions – but with a light touch, as if they were meant to be glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. which focuses on the human dramas at the center of the book… It conveys the dizzying sense of a reality that transcends a single existence and feels simultaneously poignant, celebratory and eerie.
8 Clara and the sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber, $23)
Ishiguro Ishiguro Ishiguro.
9 Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in New York by Andrea Elliott (Hutchinson, $40)
Journalist Andrea Elliott followed Dasani’s upbringing for eight years, through parental homelessness, poverty and drug addiction. Author Ayad Akhtar said, “From its indelible opening pages to its rich and startling conclusion, Invisible Child has me by turns shocked, inspired, outraged, illuminated, in tears, and hungry for re-immersion in its Dickensian depths.”
ten time is a mother by Ocean Vuong (Jonathan Cape, $35)
The new collection of poetry from the author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, written after the death of his mother. An extract:
He stood alone in the garden, so dark that the night was purple around him.
I had no choice. I opened the door
& got out. Wind
in branches. He looked at me with kerosene
-blue eyes. What do you want? I asked, forgetting that I had no tongue. He continued to breathe,
stay alive. I was a boy –
which meant that I was a murderer…
1 Architecture of Wellington: A Walking Guide by John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds (Massey University Press, $25)
Wellington Architecture has been number one at Welly for four consecutive weeks. What can we say – Wellingtonians are a bit proud of their home.
2 meat lovers by Rebecca Hawkes (Auckland University Press, $25)
Poetry to make you want a steak. We’ve got a full review in the works, but in the meantime here’s Paula Green, writing for Stuff: “The first poem, The Flexitarian, begins in the meat aisle of a supermarket and ends with sizzling meat in a pan. Sensual dexterity, auditory finesse, are so irresistible that I am transfixed. Assonance meets alliteration meets addictive rhythm. It’s like stumbling upon a song that you love and keep playing back. This poet knows how to write.
3 Minority super model by Chris Tse (Auckland University Press, $25)
Another brilliant collection of local poetry, this time by The Spinoff’s own poetry editor. We published a reviewwhich includes lines like “Tse’s poetry often walks between the bizarre and the mundane…and he juxtaposes the two with lightning-quick wit” and “a sharp observation of the social fabric of Aotearoa, and an appeal to the ‘shameless and loud action’ .
4 Blocking Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder and Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)
5 Grand: Becoming my mother’s daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin, $35)
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)
A new addition to the BWB treasure. Don Rowe recently interviewed some of the authors – here is his succinct summary: “Fragments from a Contested Past is the result of a three-year study of how New Zealand’s wars have been remembered – and forgotten – over the last 150 years. Written by a team of writers and researchers, many of whom descend from iwi attacked and overrun in the 19th century, the book aims to contextualize how we understand our collective past and how that understanding frames our present and future.
7 imagining decolonization by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)
The second mini BWB treasure in a row!
8 side piece by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, $37)
The new novel, on the heels of Smith’s Seasonal Quartet. Smith reflects our post-pandemic world, alongside the Black Death in England during the Middle Ages.
9 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)
ten Among our weapons by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz, $38)
The latest novel in the Rivers of London urban fantasy series. Pure joy on a page.