This week’s Top 10 NZ books

Here are this week's biggest books, as recorded by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias.

NZ Fiction

1 When It All Went to Custard by Danielle Hawkins (HarperCollins, $35)

ReadingRoom will take great pleasure next week in publishing a really marvellous profile of the Otorohanga novelist by Wintec journalism student Oskar Howell, who is set for a glittering career in the news media.

2 A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino (Hachette, $34.99)

3 Moonlight Sonata by Eileen Merriman (Penguin Random House, $38)

Novel about forbidden love and family secrets by a North Shore haematologist!

4 Legacy by Whiti Hereaka (Huia, $25)

A young adult novel about a 17-year-old kid who gets hit by a bus and wakes up 100 years ago as his great-great-grandfather fighting in Egypt with the Māori Contingent.

5 This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (Penguin Random House, $38)

ReadingRoom would like to acknowledge the author for recommending Wellington short story writer Jackson C Payne. His grim story of sexual abuse The Spare Room is published tomorrow (July 13) in our weekly Saturday short story series.

6 The Unreliable People by Rosetta Allan (Penguin Random House, $38)

7 Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh (Hachette, $29.99)

Romances with wolves.

8 What You Wish For by Catherine Robertson (Penguin Random House, $38)

ReadingRoom would like to acknowledge the author for recommending two short story writers – Rijula Das, and Melanie Harding-Shaw – for our regular Saturday short story series. Their work (one story is set in India, the other at Oriental Bay) will be published in due course.

9 A Mistake by Carl Shuker (Victoria University Press, $30)

“Writing parts of A Mistake, especially the opening surgery sequence, was sometimes most glorious fun. When I knew what to do – when I had sufficient research to know what happened when and how to say it, and I simply had to hang on long enough to get it down and get to the end Because I Knew What I Was Going To Say – doing it was simply the most exciting thing I know of to do”: the author, in a remarkable personal essay at ReadingRoom.

10 Melt by Jeff Murray (Mary Egan Publishing, $35)

A young adult novel set in 2048 when a climate apocalypse forces New Zealanders to resettle on Antarctica.

NZ Non-Fiction

1 How to Escape from Prison by Paul Wood (HarperCollins, $37.99)

ReadingRoom is currently in delicate negotiations with a celebrated ex-con to review this self-help book by an ex-con.

2 A Conversation with my Country by Alan Duff (Penguin Random House, $38)

“It might more correctly be titled A Conversation with Myself, given how often he returns to previous proclamations – Māori must stop blaming colonialism for their ills, cultural tradition is no solution in and of itself, all that – and makes space for arguments he might once have dismissed, quite possibly derided”: from a review by Finlay Macdonald, at ReadingRoom.

3 The Book of Knowing by Gwendoline Smith (Allen & Unwin, $24.99)

4 The Note Through the Wire by Doug Gold (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

“The love story of Josefine Lobnik, a Slovene resistance fighter, and Bruce Murray, a Kiwi prisoner of war. They met by chance when she passed a note through the wire of a POW camp seeking information on her brother Leopold who had been captured by the Nazis. Years later, they became my parents-in-law”: the author, in a personal essay at ReadingRoom.

5 The New Zealand Wars by Vincent O'Malley (Bridget Williams Books, $39.99)

6 What the Fat? by Grant Schofield & Caryn Zinn & Craig Rodger (Blackwell and Ruth, $49.99)

ReadingRoom will take great pleasure next week in publishing an essay by AUT food researcher George Henderson on this revolutionary low-carb cookbook; his insights include a brave attempt to justify the use of a laxative in the recipe for low-carb sausage rolls. A laxative!

7 Maori Made Easy by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $25)

8 Many a Close Run Thing by Tom Enright (HarperCollins, $39.99)

Cheerful account of 45 years of flying things like Tiger Moth jalopies and Vampire fighter jets.

9 Rich Enough? by Mary Holm (HarperCollins, $36.99)

Another Herald journalist has a book about financial advice in the works: Penguin will publish Tales of a Financial Hot Mess by Frances Cook in October. “I’m very excited about it,” Cook told ReadingRoom the other day.

10 Magnolia Kitchen by Bernadette Gee (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Includes a lemon and poppy seed loaf, with a citrus and lavender glaze; the picture in the book looks like someone has chucked a bottle of milk over it.

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