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 Bedrooms: portraits of remarkable New Zealand interiors by Jane Ussher and John Walsh (Massey University Press, $85)
Renowned local photographer Jane Ussher has pulled out a juicy new book on the coffee table, and Auckland has gone crazy for it. In Rooms, Ussher focuses his camera lens on beautiful and unique interiors from across the country, and the voluminous result has over 300 photographs plus an introductory essay by architecture writer John Walsh. Pour yourself a glass of wine and “Ooh” and “Aah” to the great photos. We’ll post a review of Rooms right here on the spin-off tomorrow.
2 Course by Ian McEwan (Jonathon Cape, $37)
Sometimes all you want is to sink into gorgeous writing, full and flawed characters, detailed description, and an inevitable sense of desolation. If this is you too, you’ve come to the right place. Covering the life of one man, McEwan’s meaty new novel traces how Roland Baine’s trajectory is shaped by the sexual relationship he had at boarding school with his piano teacher when he was 11 years old.
3 Lucia by the sea by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $37)
The latest edition of the Lucy Barton series, picked up at the start of the Covid crisis and following Lucy and William as they are locked together in a small house by the sea. This from the FinancialTimes“Strout brilliantly reminds us of how long fears and stashed disorder have made terrible reappearances during the months of confinement. … In Lucy by the Sea, Strout gives us a completely natural conversational tone, the discovery of serious apprehensions in real time, and an uncomfortable fusion of security, familiarity and betrayal. The novel also emphasizes, like all of Strout’s books, the need to have the bad conversations in life when the good ones are unthinkable. These sorts of emotional prevarications, punctuated by Lucy’s searing courage, give a vivid sense, as you read, of what it means to be alive in such unsettling times.
4 Wawata – Moon Dreaming: daily wisdom guided by Hina, the Maori moon by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin, $30)
The new little book of wisdom from the best-selling author of Aroha. Wawata teaches us how we can learn from the Maori lunar calendar, where each day has its own energy. At the Nelson Arts Festival this week, Elder described his writing as “a bridge for connectedness, a way of reconciling modern demands with good and bad days, building this kete (basket) of understanding our emotions and that emotions come and go. ‘” Congratulations to Things for this beautiful nugget. And come back here to The Spinoff on Sunday for a review of Wawata by Jessica Hinerangi Thompson-Carr.
5 people person by Joanna Cho (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $30)
We have a extract for you from Joanna Cho’s brilliant first book of poetry, in which the poet writes about her mother and the folk tales she told as a child.
6 Before your memory fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador, $25)
The final novel in the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series (which saunters just below) about time travel cafes.
seven Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador, $20)
most stubborn best seller in town.
8 First person singular: stories by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $24)
Eight short stories told in the first person singular, all of which have middle-aged male narrators reflecting on a memory from their past. Some reviewers suggest that this work contains elements of memoir, as many of the narrators share similarities with the author.
9 Ithaca by Claire North (Orbit, $38)
A novel about Penelope, wife of Odysseus, told by the goddess Hera. Author Jennifer Saint wrote, “Claire North brings a powerful, fresh, and unwavering voice to ancient myth — darkly compelling, raw, and breathtaking.”
ten Towards a race grammar in Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Arcia Tecun, Lana Lopesi and Anisha Sankar (Bridget Williams Books, $40)
A new collection of BWB legends essays you can check out here.
1 Blood and bones: revelations from an orthopedic surgeon by Russell Tregonning (Atuanui Press, $40)
A week ago, Unity Wellington hosted the book launch of these memoirs by one of the country’s leading orthopedic surgeons, where he writes about his fifty-year career. Critics tell us to give it a thumbs up.
“It’s the best kind of memoir. It’s very honest, including talking about mental health issues. It doesn’t skip over controversial elements, including the outrageous intimidation of women and junior staff by some experienced surgeons. And it’s interesting to take readers into the operating room and describe the remarkable daily work of sawing and hammering people’s bones.-Nicky Hager
“This book is a fascinating insight into a facet of life where very few venture. Russell lays bare his frailties, his fears, his triumphs and his vision. He is gloriously self-effacing, happy to admit he hasn’t always got it right, and fearlessly lays out his thoughts on the medical profession and medical politics. An excellent read. —Grant Nisbett
2 Native birds of Aotearoa by Micheal Szabo (Te Papa Press, $27)
A beautiful little hardback book in the new Te Papa Te Taiao Nature series, and a fabulous introduction to 60 native bird species with original 1930s illustrations. Small enough for a pocket for a hike and covering the birds of the forest, from the garden, wetlands, coast, alps and marina.
3 Wawata – Moon Dreaming: daily wisdom guided by Hina, the Maori moon by Dr. Hinemoa Elder (Penguin, $30)
4 Shrines of Cheerfulness by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday, $37)
The latest novel from the author of Life After Life. Goodreads’ Meredith succinctly summarizes the novel: “Glitz, Glamour, and Gangsters!”
5 Native plants of Aotearoa by Carlos Lehnebach and Heidi Meudt (Te Papa Press, $27)
Another little gem from the new Te Papa Te Taiao Nature series, which is jumping up the charts! Fifty native plants, richly described by Te Papa botanists, with illustrations based on sketches by botanists of the 1786 HMS Endeavor expedition.
6 What if? 2: Additional serious scientific answers to nonsensical hypothetical questions by Randall Munroe (John Murray, $35)
A sequel to the best-selling 2014 non-fiction book What If?, and an easy Christmas gift for any science-curious friend, colleague or relation. Really, the title tells you all you need to know, but here’s a little extra from the publisher’s blurb: “You want to know what would happen if you drove a helicopter blade, built a building from a billion floors, made a lava lamp with lava, or jumped on a geyser when it erupted? OK, if you insist. Before going on a cosmic road trip, feeding the people of New York with a T. rex or fill every church with bananas, be sure to check out this handy guide for impractical ideas.
seven The Scone in New Zealand Literature and Other Essays 1990-2020 by Tony Simpson (Blythswood Press, $38)
A new collection of essays by historian and journalist Tony Simpson, brought together from thirty years of social commentary.
8 Lucia by the sea by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $37)
9 It starts with us by Colleen Hoover (Simon & Schuster, $35)
The sequel to It Ends With Us, continuing the story from the perspective of the character Atlas. The editor writes: “By revealing more about Atlas’ past and following Lily as she embraces a second chance at true love while navigating a jealous ex-husband, it proves that ‘no one is delivering an emotional read. like Colleen Hoover “.” We don’t know Altas and Lily personally, but guess that will mean something to those who do.
ten The Ax Man’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)
A novel told from the point of view of an adopted magpie. We asked a magpie, Pecky Sharp, reviseand got a perfectly poetic inner perspective.