This week’s top 10 NZ best-sellers

This week's biggest-selling New Zealand books, as recorded by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by ReadingRoom literary editor Steve Braunias.


1 Words of a Kaumātua by Haare Williams (Auckland University Press, $49.99)

Prose and verse.

2 The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox (Victoria University Press, $35)

“Knox’s writing has an extreme, dramatic intensity, both visual and emotional, an exactness, and an elegance of expression which result in an effect that is utterly convincing and at times profoundly alarming….The Absolute Book is a tour de force”: from Jane Stafford’s rave review at ReadingRoom.

3 A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino (Hachette, $24.99)

4 Star Trails by Alexandra Fraser (Steele Roberts, $25)

Second collection of verse by the Auckland poet.

5 Caging Skies by Christine Leunens (Penguin Random House, $38)

6 Scented by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin Random House, $38)

7 Auē by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press, $35)

From the author’s amazing personal essay backgrounding her novel, at ReadingRoom: “People have asked me about my gang research. I told them that I imagined a man who was given no love - which is not to say all gang members are drawn to a gang for lack of love. I imagined him not as a quintessential gang member and not as the stereotype of every gang member, but just as a fucked-up guy who could, in a mythical gang-like house, become someone's worst nightmare....All I did was ask questions of a mythical man in a mythical gang but for the sake of magical realism I stamped a bulldog on one man's neck.”

8 Call Me Evie by JP Pomare (Hachette, $24.99)

9 The History Speech by Mark Sweet (Huia Publishers, $32)

Publisher’s blurbology: “It’s the 1960s, and a set of upper middle-class families in rural Hawkes Bay enjoy the good life together. But just under the surface of the conventionality, there are undercurrents. Adolescent Callum Gow's father is a bully, his mother is having an affair, and there are secrets ...about abuse, suicide and the past. In amongst this, Callum is trying to understand his growing identity and sexuality.”

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


1 Vegful by Nadia Lim (Nude Food, $55)

Your food bag without meat in it; vegetarian recipes only.

 2 All of This is For You by Ruby Jones (Penguin Random House, $24)

3 The Feel Good Guide by Matilda Green (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

Blather from Brand Matilda.

4 Toward the Mountain by Sarah Myles (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

Erebus memoir.

5 Puppy Zen by Mark Vette (Penguin Random House, $45)


6 Straight 8 by Kieran Read with Scotty Stevenson (Upstart Press, $49.99)

As-told-to sports hero bio of the All Blacks skipper. “A fascinating character study….Read comes across as a decent bloke in public and he comes across that way in the book. There’s a quality of goodness about him – someone kind, thoughtful, gentle. Stevenson goes further; he’s got close to Read, and there are times when his book is a portrait of the athlete as a crack-up, a head-case”: from my fairly enthusiastic review, at ReadingRoom.

7 Jacinda Ardern by Michelle Duff (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

"Michelle Duff, as author of the strange new book Jacinda Ardern: The story behind an extraordinary leader, sets out to find what Ardern means to her. The book kind of functions as a personal essay. The author is an excellent journalist - Duff works for Stuff - but her book doesn’t much function as a work of journalism. It doesn't actually tell the story behind an extraordinary leader; it's not a biography; it sits at home and thinks a lot, but seldom goes out and reports; and the absence of fresh information makes it really quite often ZZZZZ”: from my less than rave review, at  ReadingRoom.

8 The Invisible Load by Dr Libby Weaver (Little Green Frog Publishing, $39.95)

9 Taming the Wild by Kelly Wilson (Penguin Random House, $45)


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

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