The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending June 25

The only independent bestseller list published and available in New Zealand is the top 10 bestseller list recorded each week at Unity Books stores in High St, Auckland and Willis St, Wellington.

AUCKLAND

1 How to slack off in a turf war by Coco Solid (Penguin, $28)

Semi-autobiographical novel by scholar Jessica Hansell (Ngāpuhi/Sāmoa). Here is a typically excellent paragraph:

“Everyone in the family loves Sheena. A cute girl, a job with family discounts, she’s good at violent sports, and she’s a charismatic drunk. Sheena was also born into what Q calls ‘invisible elders’, meaning that she has somehow always been allowed to put people in her place ever since she was a child. That’s probably why she burns people for a living now and why defending Q is like breathing for her.”

2 Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving the Wrath of Vladimir Putin by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)

NPR: I have to ask, how do you stay with us, given Vladimir Putin’s history of settling scores with adversaries?

BROWDER: Well, he definitely wanted to kill me. He has threatened me with death, with kidnapping. There have been eight Interpol arrest warrants issued against me. I was even arrested in Madrid a couple of years ago. The reason I’m still here is that in the midst of all this, Putin always kept one foot in the civilized world and one in the criminal world. He wanted to go to the G-20 conference. He wanted to host international sporting events, etc. And even though he was actively plotting murders, including mine, I guess at some point he decided that killing me would probably hurt his chances of being in that civilized world. And so he didn’t do anything outrageous during that period of time. He now has both feet in the criminal world by launching this incredible murderous invasion of the Ukraine. And so my own personal risk has increased exponentially.

3 Russia: Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921 by Antony Beevor (Viking, $60)

Via The Guardian:

“Military historian Antony Beevor is best known for his books Stalingrad and Berlin, which, as their titles suggest, focused on a single location and two clearly defined groups of fighters. The dimensions of his engagement with Russia: Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921 are on a much larger and more daunting scale.

Yet he is a wonderfully lucid writer who marshals the extensive material with great enthusiasm and understanding.”

4 First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami (Arrow Books, $24)

Has Haruki recovered from that Michelle Langstone moment brutally, beautifully? I broke up with him?

5 Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers, $35)

legitimate winner of this year’s Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction; also a story that, as the narrator (a monstrous bird-woman) warns, will make a nest in your brain.

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

The voice is the thing in this wonderful debut novel; To get an idea, here’s Reilly on a recent essay on Shortland Street:

“I don’t remember a time when we haven’t seen Shortland Street. We watched it on our 14-inch TV that didn’t have a remote and then it was stolen while we were at Christmas in the Park. We watched it on our replacement 14-inch TV with remote control, which I remember picking up from Bond+Bond with the insurance payment, feeling very glam about being robbed and having a new TV. We would see him on vacation at the Motel Six in Hamilton or at my grandmother’s house. After the owner sold our unit, we moved to Whenuapai and I briefly got interested in the outdoors (skating in circles on the deck and taking my scooter to the dairy), but I was always inside Shortland Street, even though there were bad conditions. reception there and you had to hold the antenna in the right place.”

7 horse by Geraldine Brooks (Hachette, $38)

Standfirsts are supposed to sum it all up, so here’s one from The Washington Post:

“The latest book from Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks is a sweeping tale that uses the true story of a famous 19th-century racehorse to explore the roots and legacy of slavery.”

8 Isabel Pinzon by Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape UK, $40)

A novel about an inspiring teacher, more or less. Here is the very good last line of a very good guardian review: “Elizabeth Finch it is a play doggedly determined to deny us its pleasures, even as it hints at what they might have been.”

9 happy carefree by David Sedaris (Small, Brown, $35)

An accountant of the state of affairsmaybe?

10 The Dogs of Dawn by Sascha Stronach (Simon & Schuster, $35)

Stronach is a favorite of this Spinoff here and we love the rebooted version of his debut, a sci-fi fantasy built around mushrooms and pirates, he did too Tamsyn Muir:

“Soon I stopped thinking patronizingly about how brave I was and started thinking about how good I was. The Dawnhounds is a homecoming for the New Zealand fantasy. It certainly stands on the shoulders of existing New Zealand giants, but it is part of a brave new generation sticking its middle finger into the US SFF market and fighting copyeditors for every Australasian phrase or idiom.”

WELLINGTON

1 A cluster of stars, a cluster of stories: Matariki around the world by Rangi Matamua and Miriama Kamo, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Scholastic, $35)

A radically beautiful, large, hardcover children’s book filled with science and stars. And what an absolute dream to have Isobel in illos: she is divine.

two A Mild Radical: The Life of Jeanette Fitzsimons by Gareth Hughes (Allen & Unwin, $40)

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

It is the week to imagine, after all.

4 Russia: revolution and civil war, 1917-1921 by Antony Beevor (Viking, $60)

5 Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving the Wrath of Vladimir Putin by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, $38)

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

Left, right, left, right…

7 Matariki: The Star Of The Year by Rangi Matamua (Huia Publishers, $35)

Via the indomitable Huia Publishers:

“What is Matariki? Why did the Maori observe Matariki? How did Maori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated?

Based on research and interviews with Maori experts, this book seeks answers to these questions and explores what Matariki was in a traditional sense so that can be understood and celebrated in contemporary society.”

8 Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris (Small, Brown, $35)

9 harbor by Jenny Patrick (Black Swan, $36)

Via Kete Books:

Acclaimed historical fiction writer Jenny Pattrick returns with her tenth novel, which begins with Martha and Huw Pengellin, a young couple in Newport, Wales, in the late 1830s, barely surviving, living in one of the many shacks identical and infested with rats. ‘ with her baby Alfie.”

10 The Book of Form and the Void by Ruth Ozeki (Text, $40)

Via the New York Times:

“Japanese-American novelist Ruth Ozeki is an entertainer. I don’t want to say that she produces graphic novels, manga or anime, although her work has the fairy tale feel of some anime movies. I mean that she endows objects and animals with anima, the breath of life. Adept at magical realist fiction, Ozeki animates the world. Everything in her universe, down to a window pane and a contraption, has a psyche and a certain amount of agency and can communicate, if only with the few human beings who are given the power to understand them.”

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