The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending October 7


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.

Special mention today to the French author Annie Ernaux who has just been receives the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature“for the courage and clinical acuity with which she discovers the roots, the distances and the collective constraints of personal memory”.

Ernaux’s books explore his own life to situate himself and all that happens to him within the larger contexts of place, cultural history and politics. Her writings on sex and love are among the most shameless and vivid feminist narratives of our time. You can order his books at Wellington Books Unit Where Auckland Unit Books online stores today.


1 Course by Ian McEwan (Jonathon Cape, $37)

The most loved (or at least bought) book in all fields, second week in a row! Ian McEwan knows how to draw a crowd to a bookstore. Lessons has been compared to William Boyd’s Any Human Heart and John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies for its focus on the life of an ordinary man and its expansive time span that spans 70 years of history.

These strong and mixed words of 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.

2 Towards a race grammar in Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Arcia Tecun, Lana Lopesi and Anisha Sankar (Bridget Williams Books, $40)

A treat from Tze Ming Mok writing, recently published on The Spinoff: “How can Asians be white? Or, for that matter, Black? It was a statement about perceived hierarchy and alignment, dovetailing perfectly with color, which is what “race” boils down to: a concept that can be used as a “master category” that encompasses ethnicity and suggests replacing her, because the structure swallows the agency.”

3 Atomic Habits by James Clear (Random House, $40)

Do you know what a good habit is? While reading. We advocate.

4 Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, $23)

An absolute gem of a 2020 novel, which won the Women’s Prize for Fiction (and Our Hearts). Short, dreamy, mysterious, beautifully written – a wonderful escape into a strange labyrinthine world.

5 The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen (Fitzcarraldo Publishing, $25)

A wonderful summary of New York Times“Joshua Cohen’s new novel…is a generational campus novel, an unyielding academic lecture, a rigorous meditation on Jewish identity, an exhaustive meditation on JudaismAmerican identity, a polemic on Zionism, a history lesson. It’s maddening, frustrating and pretentious work – and also absorbing, delicious, hilarious, breathtaking and the best and most relevant novel I’ve read in ages.”

6 Shifting Grounds: Deep Stories from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland by Lucy Mackintosh (Bridget Williams Books, $60)

Lucy Mackintosh spoke to Auckland Museum on the inspiration of his book. Here is a collection of his words: “I discovered that there were deep, complex and difficult stories embedded in certain places in the city that still resonate in local communities and across the city, but which have not yet been embedded in monuments, history books, or collective memories….Looking at three places through time – from the first human arrivals to the present day – he considers how the stories told from particular places, at times individuals, could open up new stories and perspectives that may challenge and even change the way we currently tend to think about Auckland’s past and present.

seven All the broken places by John Boyne (Doubleday, $37)

The highly anticipated sequel to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which follows Bruno’s older sister, Gretel, as she tries to forget her past.

8 The Myth of Normalcy: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture by Gabor Maté with Daniel Maté (Vermilion, $40)

New non-fiction about the connections between personal suffering and modern life, linking high prescription drug use, high blood pressure and mental illness to the workaholic and pressures of Western culture. The publisher’s blurb states that Mate sees “disease as a natural reflection of a life spent growing further and further away from ourselves. But, with deep compassion, he also shows us a path to health and healing.

9 Methodologies of Decolonization: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Bloomsbury, $44)

First published in 1999, the third updated edition of Decolonizing Methodologies by Maōri professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith remains a seminal text in Indigenous studies.

ten The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain, and Body in Trauma Transformation by Bessel van der Kolk (Penguin Press, $30)

If The Myth of Normal isn’t enough for you, this is the perfect match.


1 Course by Ian McEwan (Jonathon Cape, $37)

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

Aotearoa’s favorite fictional Russian Catalan Maori siblings are still very much in favor. Book editor Claire Mabey will speak with Rebecca K Reilly about this much-loved novel at Tauranga Escape Festival ideas next week.

3 The portrait of marriage by Maggie O’Farrell (Knopf, $38)

“Lucrezia takes her place at the long dining table, polished with a watery sheen and strewn with dishes, overturned cups, a hoop of woven fir. Her husband is seated, not in his usual place at the other end but beside her, close enough that she can rest her head on his shoulder, if she wishes; he unfolds his napkin and straightens a knife and moves the candle towards them both when he comes to her with a particular clarity, as if a colored glass had been placed before his eyes, or perhaps removed from them, that he intends to kill her.”

4 Aroha: Maori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

Wonderful news! Hinemoa Elder’s new book, Wawata: Moon Dreaming, hits bookstores and our lives in a few days. Everyone gets excited and buys Aroha in preparation.

The publisher’s blurb tells us that Wawata “shows us how to regain intimacy with others, with ourselves, and with our planet using the energies of Hina, the Maori moon.”

5 Towards a race grammar in Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Arcia Tecun, Lana Lopesi and Anisha Sankar (Bridget Williams Books, $40)

6 The bullet that missed by Richard Osman (Viking, $37)

The new novel in the Thursday Murder Club series, full of wit, mystery and your favorite seniors. This time, Elizabeth and the gang focus on the case of 10-year-old Bethany Waites, a TV reporter whose car fell off a cliff while investigating a major tax evasion.

seven Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador, $20)

Sam Brook’s favorite novel of 2020 is still on the charts, following the release of the third installment Before Your Memory Fades a few weeks ago.

8 Rabbit by Mona Awad (Head of Zeus, $32)

A goofy 2020 novel, brought back to popularity by the powers that be (social media) – as the editor exclaims, “TikTok made me buy it!”

Bunny is a dark, weird and funny campus novel about a tight group of girlfriends, reminiscent of the cult 1988 film Heathers.

9 All the broken places by John Boyne (Doubleday, $37)

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

Welly’s forever love.


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