Bestsellers around the world: South Africa and Australia

Posted September 26, 2020 by elzaread in / 20 Comments

 A couple of weeks ago my Mommy received her first EMAIL, not comment, from a fellow blogger. You can imagine the surprise and utter joy we felt. That email came all the way from The Land Down Under to be delivered in her inbox here on the Southern Part of Africa. Oh, how I miss the postal services! I would have loved to get a real letter from Australia! 

Anyway, Marg from the Adventures of the Intrepid Reader contacted my Mommy to ask if she wants to take part in a joint post regarding bestsellers and how they compare between our different countries. Over the next couple of weeks, we chatted a couple of times via email and we discovered that her husband is originally from South Africa and her in laws are still living here. What a small world we live in. 

I don’t as a rule follow the Best Sellers list in South Africa. I read whatever I want. My Mommy’s favorite Bookshop in South Africa, is Bargain Books. It’s one of the first shops on the right as you enter our local Shopping Mall and yes, she normally steers right upon entering the sliding doors. They usually have a display of the Top Ten Popular books for the past week. Here’s the books that made their display for the week ending 19 September 2020:

1. Think like a monk – Jay Shetty
2. All Rise – Dikgang Moseneke
3. What’s your move – Nicolette Mashile
4. The 5 AM Club – Robin Sharma
5. The Gift: 12 Lessons to safe your life – Edith Eger
6. Midnight Sun – Stephanie Meyer
7. Hans gee Herklaas Horings – Rudie van Rensburg
8. 7 Ways – Jamie Oliver
9. Man’s search for meaning –  Victor Frankl
10. 12 Rules for Life – Jordan Peterson 

(Photo from Bargain Books’ Facebook page)
From this list, I come to the following conclusions regarding the average South African at this point in time:
  • Anxiety is a huge problem for humans in South Africa. They stress about money, food, work, health, their families and safety
  • The Ten Commandments obviously don’t cut it anymore. They now rather need 12 steps/rules/lessons to lighten the burden
  • They need money
  • They need Justice
  • They desperately search for meaning
  • They need an escape from reality (yes, vampires are better than real life in some places)
  • We love to cook and eat and the fewer ingredients with the easiest methods, the better
  • Afrikaans people still believe that humor and fiction will solve most problems
How many of those best sellers does my Mommy desperately want to see on her over-flowing bookshelves? She might read Think like a Monk by Jay Shetty, although YouTube is just so much easier, and if someone shuffs Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer in her hand, she will most probably read it. She did read the first 4 (I wasn’t born yet, I had nothing to do with it).
A large number of South Africans immigrate to Australia for various reasons. I wonder if life is really so much better in The Land Down Under? Let’s see what was happening on their Bestsellers list:

  1. Ottolenghi Flavour – Yotam Ottolenghi

  2. Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

  3. The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku

  4. Dog Man #9 Grime and Punishment – Dav Pilkey (children’s book)

  5. The Space Between by Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews

  6. The Golden Maze:A Biography of Prague by Richard Fidler

  7. Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

  8. The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

  9. Bluey : Grannies (children’s book)

  10. Sam Bloom: Heartache and Birdsong

They have children’s books on their Top Ten Best Sellers! How cool is that! I know that Children’s Books do make the Top Ten list here with us as well, but not often enough. Especially not ones featuring fluffy white kittens. They should look into that. I am sure it will lighten some of that anxiety.

There were only two similarities between our two countries:

Do you think that says anything specific about our two countries? I think Jay Shetty’s book reflect our similar hospitable citizens and our heightened sense of family and the importance of the man next to you. South Africa is known as one of the friendliest countries in the world. With so many ex-citizens now residing in Australia, it’s good to know they remembered their manners.
The Stephanie Meyer one has to be a simple explanation: Have you been to South Africa? Have you been to Australia? Do you have any idea of the wildlife we share our beautiful countries with? Vampires don’t scare us, Mate. We simply need some entertainment from a different type of beast. 
Thanks for traveling with us today, here’s Marg’s link to see her view on the Bestsellers around the world. The Intrepid Reader
Thanks again for inviting us to do this with you, Marg! She is such a talented and well loved blogger, we stand in awe for the opportunity! 
Lots of Love,

Mareli & Elza 

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20 responses to “Bestsellers around the world: South Africa and Australia

  1. So interesting to see the analysis of and comparisons between the two countries' bestseller lists. Is there anywhere in the world right now where people aren't feeling anxious? (If there is, and they accept immigrants, please share, depending on the results of our next election.) Shocking to see no books about fluffy white kittens on the bestseller lists in either country; it would certainly do a lot to ease the anxiety levels.

    I'm always surprised there isn't more overlap between the lists of various countries. And why aren't there more books from all over the world available here? If there has ever been a time when we need to all talk together, it is now.

    So glad you and Marg joined in to do this post this week.

    • I think that's what makes blogging so much fun for me Deb. If I look at the Bestsellers list from my favorite bookshop, I won't read half as much as I do. But because I have you guys and all the books you share, my reading scope is so much broader.

      I've been thinking of you today! Have you read Five quarters of the orange by Joanne Harris? It's a book that makes me think of you.

      Have a good week and I'll pop in as I can!

  2. I think Midnight Sun has probably made every country's best sellers' list where it was been published. I remember watching Eclipse in Prague – we were exhausted from traveling for 2 weeks and it was in English and we hadn't seen it yet.

  3. It’s good to see vampires are embraced the world over and that we all need help! This is a great idea! In answer to your question I have never been to South Africa (but my cousin did and she loved it) I have however been to Brisbane, my father in law lives out there with his family. It is so far away from Scotland, we went via LA and Auckland and I remember sitting in Auckland with my head in my hands as we still had four hours to go on another plane. I really enjoyed Oz, we did consider emigrating before the kids came along but a holiday is very different to the reality!

    • We've never been to Australia, I've basically haven't been "Overseas" very much. But would still like to go! I have a few friends over there. Marg is always fun to chat with.

    • Hi there Anne! I don't think the bestseller list is very much only recent releases. They look at all the sales for the past week. I like the idea of listing them all! And yes, after 60 years, people are still searching for the meaning of life and Frankl isn't a bad place to start.

  4. What a cool idea! And this made me laugh! "The Ten Commandments obviously don't cut it anymore. They now rather need 12 steps/rules/lessons to lighten the burden"

    Love seeing the difference in bestseller lists between countries!

    • You must tell that to Marg! I also loved it and would do it again! I told her she must make it a monthly feature where a few of us can join in. Was lots of fun!

      Hope your week is good.

  5. I have no idea who Jay Shetty is, it seems I should look him up though given his popularity.
    I’m in Australia so naturally I read a lot of Australian fiction. Ive read a few books by set in SA, mainly by Australian authors like Malla Nunn, Tony Park and Bryce Courtenay. I wonder if there are any vampire books set in your country?

    Wishing you a great reading week

    • Hi there Shelley! I hope you and Marg chat a bit! Jay Shetty is like a motivational/feel good by doing good guru or something. Just watch one or two of his youtube videos and you will know who we talk about.

      There's an Afrikaans author who wrote a couple of vampire stories for teenagers. Haven't read them, but they are very popular with the youngsters!

  6. Awww! Love it. That's so fun to see what books are the big sellers in other countries. I read all the Twilight books but I have not wanted to dive back in. I'm over Edward! lol

  7. "Do you have any idea of the wildlife we share our beautiful countries with? Vampires don't scare us, Mate." You made me laugh with these two lines. I think you have a point!

    I read the first three Twilight books, picked up some spoilers for Breaking Dawn, and haven't felt any need to return to that world. I keep thinking I'll finish it up but there's always something I'm more interested in.

    I truly dislike cooking (I do enjoy baking) so I'm all in for those books with the easy recipes.

    Fun post!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Jen! I don't think I'm going to read the pomegranate book. (I came to refer to the latest Twilight saga in that way).

      Jamie Oliver's recipes really are easy!

      Hope you will have a wonderful week!