The only published and available best-selling indie book list in New Zealand is the top 10 sales list which is featured each week in the Unity Books stores in High St, Auckland and Willis St, Wellington.
1 Shifting Grounds: Deep Histories of Auckland, Auckland by Lucy Mackintosh (Bridget Williams Books, $60)
Shifting Grounds reveals the stories of Pukekawa/Auckland Domain, Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill and the Ōtuataua Stonefields at Ihumātao. Beautifully aesthetic and an essential read for Aucklanders wanting to learn more about their home.
From Kete Books: “In Shifting Grounds, Lucy Mackintosh explores three places in Tāmaki Makaurau-Auckland where she says ‘the landscape is an archive’…We begin our hikoi with Lucy at the entrance to the Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve, a wooden farm gate, an unprepossessing start to the exploration of one of the oldest and most complex cultural landscapes of Tāmaki Makaurau.The name of the road we traveled to get to the entrance tells another contradictory story, Ihumātao Quarry Road. This is Auckland, a place where landscapes set in thousands of years of geological time and hundreds of years of human history have roads collectively named after a Māori deity and the agency of its destruction.”
2 Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $35)
O Auckland! You have sensed that a new Lucy Barton novel has arrived.
3 The promise by Damon Galgut (Chatto & Windus, $37)
This year’s Booker winner is a dark, funny novel about a white family in post-apartheid South Africa. Galgut’s prose has been compared not only to Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner, but also to Nabokov and James Joyce. Great boots, to say the least!
4 Taste: My life through food by Stanley Tucci (fig tree, $45)
Stanley Tucci, who you may know as the diva from The Devil Wears Prada, the lovable father from Easy A, or that monstrous killer from The Lovely Bones (what a chameleon!), has a new memoir, told through his love of food. From the publisher’s blurb: “Taste is an intimate reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about growing up in Westchester, NY, preparing and filming the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia, falling in love during dinner, and work with his wife to create meals for their children that start a conversation.”
5 Cloud Cuckooland by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster, $35)
NPR says, “Of all our contemporary writers of literary fiction, Anthony Doerr is the one whose novels seem to be the purest response to the original request — tell me a story.” (And does it damn well, we hurry to add).
6 Beautiful world, where are you by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)
The novel that divides millennials into two camps: the Rooneyites and the… non-Rooneyites.
7 Too Much Money: How Wealth Disparities Are Unbalanced Aotearoa New Zealand by Max Rashbrooke (Bridget Williams Boopieces, $40)
The title says it all, doesn’t it?
8 The magician by Colm Tóibín (Picador, $38)
New fiction about master novelist Thomas Mann, by master novelist Colm Tóibín.
9 The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $68)
Read no less than 700 pages that according to science news, “rewrites 40,000 years of human history”. The authors poke holes in common understandings of the supposedly primitive nature of our human ancestors, suggesting that reimagining our past would lead to a very different understanding of civilization’s origins and our current way of life.
Borrowed again from Science News: “Some social systems were made up of ruling elites, workers and slaves. Others emphasized decentralized, collective decision-making. Some were run by men, others by women. The big question — one the authors can’t answer yet — is why, after tens of thousands of years of social flexibility, many people today cannot imagine how to reorganize society effectively.”
10 The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Hutchinson, $37)
New novel from the author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility, set during a road trip in 1950s America. It has been described by the citizens of Goodreads as a “winner”, a “gem”, a “five star book” and a “crazy adventure story”.
1 Too Much Money: How Wealth Disparities Are Unbalanced Aotearoa New Zealand by Max Rashbrooke (Bridget Williams Books, $40)
2 Mana of the Pacific: wisdom from all over Oceania by Regina Scheyvens and Apisalome Movono (Potton & Burton, $40)
“Mana of the Pacific brings together inspiring proverbs and beautiful photographs that highlight the strength, resilience, wisdom and innovation of people from across the Pacific…Movono and Scheyvens say the indigenous peoples of the Pacific have been given the feeling for too long that their culture is outdated, their traditions lack value and the only way they can develop is by using outside ideas and resources.Mana of the Pacific challenges that thinking and shows a different way; one that is sustainable and resilient .” (Thanks again Kete Books!)
3 Tikanga: An Introduction to Te Ao Maori by Keri Opai (Upstart Press, $40)
The perfect first step for those wishing to understand the Māori world.
4 Aroha: Māori wisdom for a contented life in harmony with our planet by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)
By June, Aroha had already sold 25,000 copies – then it was got Oprahed, and it’s barely cleared the bestseller list since then.
5 Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad (Ebury Press, $55)
The cookbook that helps you turn that stuff hidden in your freezer and back of the cupboard into an Ottolenghi-level meal. If you’re a foodie, expect to get three copies of OTK in your Christmas stocking this year.
6 Cloud Cuckooland by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster, $35)
7 Propose decolonization by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $15)
The real MVP.
8 Beautiful world, where are you by Sally Rooney (Faber, $33)
9 Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout (Viking, $35)
10 Things I Learned in Art School by Megan Dunn (Penguin, $35)
One of our favorite local books of the year (and as it’s shockingly close to December, we can say so with complete confidence). A funny, sober memoir in essays, which you can taste at your leisure here for something heartbreaking and here for something hilarious and sexy. Yes, this book contains masses.