The week’s bestselling books at the Unity stores in Willis St, Welllington, and High St, Auckland.
1 We Can Make a Life: A memoir of family, earthquakes and courage by Chessie Henry (Victoria University Press, $35)
“I thought I knew the basic outline of what happened that day, but this was the first time I heard it in such detail and I was genuinely shocked. The events of this interview are harrowing, and towards the end Dad had tears rolling down his cheeks as he spoke to me…”
2 Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Little Brown, $25)
Asked to name the best book he’s read in the past year, David Sedaris replied, “Less by Andrew Sean Greer, which won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction this year. It just seemed kind of breezy for a great deal of it – just funny. I laughed out loud. And the writing was always good. He’s just a really good nuts-and-bolts writer. So just when it seemed completely enjoyable, all of a sudden it was like that sensation you have when you’re in the ocean and you go out and it’s only up to your knees. And then you take another step, and all of a sudden, you’re up to your neck. It was just so profound. And you didn’t expect it. You didn’t see it coming.”
3 To the Mountains: A Collection of New Zealand Alpine Writing edited by Laurence Ferley and Paul Hersey (Otago University Press, $45)
A collection of New Zealand alpine writing.
4 Coming To It: Selected Poems by Sam Hunt (Potton Burton, $30)
Death called by the other day –
no one was home at the time.
A note, ‘Sorry I missed you’,
stuck under the front door mat…
5 Is It Bedtime Yet?: Parenting … the Hilarious, the Hair-Raising, the Heart-breaking by Emily Writes (& friends) (Random, $35)
Emily will appear at the Christchurch WORD festival on Saturday, September 1, at 11.30am, alongside memoirist Hollie McNish, whose book Nobody Told Me was described in the Guardian as “diary entries, poems jotted in the dead of night and during nap-times, breathless musings on breastfeeding, sex after giving birth, and the state of the world”.
6 Matter of Fact: Talking Truth in a Post-Truth World by Jess Berentson-Shaw (Bridget Williams Books, $15)
“The result of Berentson-Shaw’s search for answers about how to communicate policy and science effectively, prompted in part by years of seeing health initiatives as obvious as vaccination fall on the deaf ears of anti-vaxxers….It results from months of ploughing through research on psychology to distill how people absorb and assimilate knowledge. The bad news: there’s no bias towards truth…Berentson-Shaw looks at evidence of what works. There are useful tips. For example, asking people to guess the level of consensus on vaccine safety makes them more likely to accept the actual figure once it’s given to them. Her key finding: communicators should better control their message by creating strong narratives that talk to audiences based on what they value”: Ben Thomas, The Spinoff.
7 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape, $35)
“Like a conjuring trick”, The New Statesman; “Like watching a Wes Anderson film”, Daily Telegraph.
8 Tatau: A Cultural History of Samoan Tattooing by Sean Mallon & Sebastien Galliot (Te Papa Press, $75)
Striking coffee-table book, beautifully illustrated, with a range of essays.
9 Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press, $20)
“It has a freshness, a naughtiness, and an incredible cover”: Jenna Todd, Spinoff Papercuts Podcast.
10 Homefire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury, $22)
“A Muslim love story for the modern world”: The Express.
1 Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Little, Brown and Company, $35)
2 Coming To It: Selected Poems by Sam Hunt (Potton & Burton, $30)
3 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson (MacMillan, $35)
Manson is a keynote speaker at the upcoming Xerocon in Brisbane, with a speech titled, “Choose your struggle: finding happiness by focusing on what matters.”
4 The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani (William Collins, $27)
“Kakutani’s high-minded study of the intellectual crisis that has gripped the west is a disappointment”: The Guardian.
5 You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero (John Murray Learning, $25)
You not only don’t give a fuck, you’re also a badass, so everyone can fuck off. Good one.
6 Factfulness by Dr Hans Rosling (Sceptre, $30)
“He offers clear, actionable advice for how to overcome our innate biases and see the world more factfully. This is one of the most educational books I’ve ever read, and I think everyone can benefit from Hans’ insights”: Bill Gates!
7 A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Windmill Books, $26)
Kenneth Branagh will star in the TV adaptation of this story of a Russian Count ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.
8 Tatau: A Cultural History of Samoan Tattooing by Sean Mallon and Sebastien Galliot (Te Papa Press, $75)
9 Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester (William Collins, $37)
How we make things.
10 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (Vintage, $30)
How we got made.
The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.