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 Little things like these by Claire Keegan (Faber & Faber, $23)
One of the most exquisite short novels to come out in recent times. Set at Christmas time in Ireland in 1985, this slender thing experiences massive political and religious trauma with a beautifully balanced central character. A great option for your December reading pile.
2 The seven moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka (sort of books, $37)
The Booker Prize winner of a Whanganui Collegiate alumnus is rumored to be returning to Aotearoa next year (we can hear the lit festival directors rubbing their hands from here). A Seven Moons review is coming here soon…
3 straight by Tui Ruby (Allen & Unwin, $37)
Is this the best-selling memoir by a female Aotearoa athlete of all time? Investigation in progress.
4 passengers by Cormac McCarthy (MacMillan, $50)
The first of two novels linked by McCarthy, 89. This from a review on Slate: “If he’s really come to believe that our existence is utterly brutal and meaningless, why bother writing about it?” Enter at your own risk.
5 Build: An unorthodox guide to making things worthwhile by Tony Fadell (Bantam RHNZ, $40)
Tony Fadell led the team that created the iPod and iPhone for Apple. In this book, he offers stories from his career in the form of advice. We imagine this one might be of interest to the business types in your life.
6 lessons by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape, $37)
Remaining solid in the top 10 for a while now, the latest novel from a founding stalwart of the British men’s novel genre. We rather appreciate this concise summary of a review in The Guardian: “McEwan’s 17th novel is old-fashioned, digressive, and indulgently long; the hero is a gold-plated dither, and the story opens with a teenage handjob (few books are bettered by a painfully sentimental handjob). But Lessons is also deeply generous. It’s compassionate and gentle, and so devoid of cynicism that it almost seems radical. Can seriousness be a form of literary rebellion? Curiosity piqued?
7 Copperhead Demon by Barbara Kingsolver (Faber & Faber UK, $37)
He’s a brave writer who takes on Dickens but Barbara Kingsolver does it well. Demon Copperhead is a take on David Copperfield, with dire circumstances, weak adults, helpless children, and safer alternatives.
8 Towards a race grammar in Aotearoa New Zealand by various authors (Bridget Williams Books, $40)
A brilliant new book from one of the nation’s top nonfiction publishers: packed with essays from a wide range of experience and knowledge bases. Preview of the book with Tze Ming Mok’s Insightful Essay on his research on the language around whiteness and blackness for Asian peoples.
9 bedrooms: portraits of remarkable New Zealand interiors by Jane Walsh Ussher (Massey University Press, $85)
A sumptuous book, stylish and full of good taste. Let your eyes bask in the glory of a well-made piece. If you’re still not convinced, read Charlotte Fielding critical acclaim right here on The Spinoff.
10 Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout (Viking Penguin, $37)
Oh Stout. One of the greatest writers of our generation! Lucy by the Sea is the quintessential covid novel, probing the depths of marriage, of individuals in a sea of unpredictable behavior both personal and global.
1 A history of New Zealand in 100 objects by Jock Phillips (Penguin, $55)
A complete and fascinating book that you can pick up and rest at will. This from the publisher is a compelling record: “An unknown Maori woman’s 18th century sewing kete; the Endeavor guns that fired at the waka in 1769; the bagpipes of an Irish publican Paddy Galvin; the school uniform of Harold Pond, a Napier Tech student during the Hawke’s Bay earthquake; the Biko shields that tried to protect protesters during the Springbok tour in 1981; Winston Reynolds’ remarkable home-made Hokitika television, the nation’s oldest working television; the soccer ball that was a tribute to Tariq Omar, victim of the Christchurch mosque shooting, and many others – these are objects of low-key significance and great personal significance, taonga carrying stories that , together represent a dramatic and vivid story for ordinary New Zealanders.
2 Seven Moons by Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka (sort of books, $49)
3 Wawata – Moon Dreaming: Daily wisdom guided by Hina, the Maori moon by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin, $30)
Who hasn’t had a terrible picture of the blood moon/lunar eclipse this week? Judging by social media, our collective interest in the moon is on the rise, and this wonderful book by Dr. Hinemoa Elder is a timely guide to maramataka so you can check in as you check in to the night sky. Need more? Read Jessica Hinerangi Thompson-Carr Wawata reading experiencehere on The Spinoff.
4 RNZ Cookbook: A treasure trove of 180 recipes from New Zealand’s best-known chefs and food writers edited by David Cohen and Kathy Paterson (Massey University Press, $65)
Did you know that there are over 3000 recipes on rnz.co.nz? This lush, weighty and beautifully illustrated collection of recipes boils down to a well-structured and detailed selection of sumptuous dishes. Well done, it’s a classic!
5 I’m Glad My Mom Is Dead by Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster, $45)
Memoirs of a former child actor.
6 Copperhead Demon by Barbara Kingsolver (Faber, $37)
7 The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy (Picador, $50)
8 No Plan B by Lee Child & Andrew Child (Bantam, $37)
Freegen yes. It’s not summer without Jack Reacher. Here is the blurb, not that you need it. We know you want it, and uninterrupted beach time.
“Gerrardsville, Colorado. A tragic event. Two witnesses. Two accounts in conflict. One witness sees a woman throwing herself in front of a bus – obviously a suicide. The other witness is Jack Reacher. And he sees what really happened – a man in a hoodie and gray jeans, quick and silent as a shadow, pushed the victim to his death, before grabbing his bag and walking away.
Reacher follows the killer, unaware that this was not a random act of violence. It’s part of something much bigger…a sinister, secret conspiracy, with powerful people entangled in an elaborate plot that leaves no room for error. If any step is compromised, the threat will need to be quickly and permanently removed.
But when the threat is Reacher, there’s no plan B…”
9 Shrines of Cheerfulness by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday, $37)
An animated interwar novel set in 1926 about London nightlife. Full of flappers, gangsters and crackling ambition.
10 Book of Days by Patti Smith (Bloomsbury, $43)
Spend a year in the life of Patti Smith. Book of Days shares over 365 photos taken by Patti Smith, charting windows into her fascinating life. Listen, it’s hard to beat Just Kids, but it’s a perfect visual journey almost to the end of the year.