Looking for a new book to get stuck into while you settle into Winter? Chloe Blades from Unity Books has put together a list of their top reads right now, check them out below and head in-store or online to purchase. 


Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris (Hachette, $35)

In an interview for America’s Today show, David Sedaris said that “as you get older you fall apart and everyone dies on you and you’re trying to write humour so you gotta laugh about falling apart and people dying on you.” His premise for Happy-Go-Lucky isn’t as morbid as the essays themselves. They have a lasses-faire tone and are funny and eye-brow raising in equal measure. Sedaris’ chronicles range from the unfairness of a million Americans dying in the pandemic and him not getting to choose a single one of them, to his cantankerous Dad who’s making jokes while dying surrounded by the family he abused. There are also brief, mundane encounters with strangers who, in a way only Sedaris can, are given some sparkle. There are insights into the guts of his long-term relationship with Hugh, who’s not left unscathed by the Sedaris-esque scrutiny. You’ll laugh a lot and no sooner be wondering if you should be laughing at all. A wonderful, paradoxical read.

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Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant by Cristina Sanders (Cuba Press, $37)

You can count on Cuba Press and Cristina Sanders to produce a work of spectacular historical fiction. Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant is a masterpiece that fictionalises Aotearoa’s most persisting nautical mystery - the whereabouts of the General Grant and the gold that sunk with it. The ship left Melbourne for London in 1866 carrying with it gold, miners, wives, and officers only to strike the Auckland Islands and get sucked into a cave, sink, and leave behind a disparate group of castaways. This story is best read under lamplight, as it reads like you’re out at sea aboard the creaking three-masted sailing ship alongside a crew of questionable seamen. Cristina has used historical fact, creative license and beautifully evocative language to give voice and personality to the castaways, but most endearing is that of Mrs Jewell, the one woman stranded with 14 men. Although history tried to forget her by pretending she didn’t exist, Cristina’s thoroughly researched deep-dive into the history of this mystery has granted Mrs Jewell (only known previously as Mr Jewell's wife) a personality and her rightful place in our nautical history. An absolute feat. 

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Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz by Gail Crowther (Simon and Schuster, $35)

Sylvia Plath’s life has been told and told again and you wonder when a new book appears on her how there could be anything new to say. Gail Crowther however, sociologist and unofficial world-leading Plath scholar, has found an untapped angle on Sylvia and delved into her friendship with fellow poet of the 1950s, Anne Sexton. It’s the most beautiful immortalisation of female friendship who together test the tropes of what society saw as their true purpose in life - motherhood and being a good wife. In the late 50s, after Plath’s and Sexton’s poetry workshop at Boston University each week, the two geniuses would head to the Ritz Carlton for a martini where they would discuss sex, power, ambition, motherhood, mental health, death and all the other things the modern woman talks about when drinking martinis. This book is an empowering read, showing the value in having friends who test you to be better and the joy in going against the grain.

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Lady Waves by Eleanor Ozich (Eleanor Ozich, $45)

Brought to you by Eleanor Ozich, who you might recognise from The Art of Simple on living a cleaner, healthier, and tastier life, Lady Waves is a stunning collection of photographs, poems, stories and recipes that capture the culture and community of lady surfers. Eleanor’s aim is to spark the deep and complex joy that the art of surfing evokes. Even if you’re not a surfer, it’s impossible to resist the pull of the waves that’s seductively photographed throughout. There’s easy recipes for restorative hair and body oil, a post-surf hot chocolate, and even a granola breakfast. You will discover how to sew your own board sock and plan a surfing trip, and read testimonies of being out on the ocean at night. In traditional Eleanor Ozich style, this is a collection centred on bringing Aotearoa’s women together. In this instance it’s with those who share two things in common; surfboards and a love for the ocean. Simple and gorgeous. 

Last updated: 12 July 2022