The best-selling books this Xmas

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


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

Named in ReadingRoom this week as one of the two best novels  published in 2019: “It’s a fantasia of demons, talking birds, etc. You might anticipate that a social realist writer such as Charlotte Grimshaw would run screaming from Knox's latest novel, but she gave it a rave review in the Listener. One thing about Knox is that she's do damned readable.”

2 A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh (Hachette, $34.99)

Her novel Wolf Rain published earlier this year was named in ReadingRoom this week as one of the 10 best novels  published in 2019: “Nalini Singh builds her imagined world with such clarity and with each book we get a deeper detail. Wolf Rain is a spectacular read that will keep you on the edge from beginning to end.”

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

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

Named in ReadingRoom this week as one of the 10 best novels  published in 2019: “Pellegrino weaves together the details of Italian life through the eyes of locals and foreigners, describing the unique gastronomic offerings of the local trattoria, a traditional Italian eatery. This is rich and tasteful storytelling.”

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

6 Whatever it Takes by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press, $37.99)

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

8 Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press, $35)

Named in ReadingRoom this week as one of the two best novels  published in 2019: “It’s set in gang houses and bad-ass bars, and told the story of a Māori family torn apart by violence. It's a bravura performance, intensely felt, with beautiful writing and a wonderful ear for language.”

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

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

Named in ReadingRoom this week as one of the 10 best novels  published in 2019: “It begins with a troubling scene of domestic violence. A young woman is in a bathroom hacking at her long hair with a pair of tiny scissors….Call Me Evie might best be described as a psychological thriller with shades of domestic noir. It’s an an impressive debut for New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based author.”


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


2 Straight 8 by Kieran Read & Scotty Stevenson (Upstart Press, $49.99)


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


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


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

The subject of the lamest hashtag event of the year: #turnardern, in which losers filmed themselves going into bookshops and turning the cover of Duff’s panygeric on the Prime Minister, in an attempt to conceal it from customers. God almighty! It was kind of funny but mostly just kind of really dumb.

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


7 Shit Towns of New Zealand Number Two by Rick Furphy & Geoff Rissole (Allen & Unwin, $24.99)


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

Named in ReadingRoom this week as one of the 10 best non-fiction books  of 2019:  “She gets straight down to it in her latest self-helper, with chapters investigating irritable bowel syndrome and the hypochondriac’s favourite organ, the thyroid. Dr Libby is a therapist of the everyday – she doesn’t want to know about trauma, grief, or specific awfulnesses, she wants to look at your everyday life with its aches and pains and fears and shames.”

9 Two Raw Sisters by Margo & Rosa Flanagan (David Bateman, $39.99)


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


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