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.

New Zealand Fiction

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

2 The Father of Octopus Wrestling and Other Small Fictions by Frankie McMillan (Canterbury University Press, $27.99)

Truly inventive and audacious short fictions by the Christchurch writer; the collection includes her brilliant story, "Jesus and the ostriches", which ran last week at ReadingRoom and was read and liked by people such as writers Bill Manhire and Emma Neale, and broadcaster Scotty Stevenson.

3 Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press, $20)

Barely a week goes by in the national charts these past 12 months without the inclusion of this extraordinary debut collection of poems by the author, who attended Aotea College in Porirua and the IIML at Victoria University, and recently appeared at the Edinburgh writers festival.

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

5 Are Friends Electric? by Helen Heath (Victoria University Press, $25)

Winner of this year’s Ockham New Zealand national book awards for best book of poems.

6 Loving Sylvie by Elizabeth Smither (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Claire, at Good Reads: “It’s a beautifully written novel (I can tell the writer is a poet) about families and relationships, and the complexity of being an individual within this context. I’m probably not the target audience, but it’s the perfect book to buy your mum or grandma. I’m off to give this to my Nana who I’m sure will love it.”

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

Marcus, at Good Reads: “What an excellent book. Fiona Kidman certainly knows how to weave a story, keeping the action moving and gripping the reader….Albert Black, Paddy to his friends, was the second-to-last person to be hanged in New Zealand. You know the book will close with his execution, but Kidman writes this so well that you are still there hoping for a reprieve or a last-minute stay of execution.”

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

9 Barry Crump by Barry Crump (Potton & Burton, $49.99)

Five yarns by Crumpy.

10 A Dream of Italy (Trade paperback) by Nicky Pellegrino (Hachette, $34.99)

New Zealand non-fiction

1 Brothers in Black by Jamie Wall (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Brian Turner will review it next Thursday at ReadingRoom.

2 Driven by Hayden Paddon (Penguin Random House, $40)

Asked by Rachel Comer at Stuff why people should read his book, the rally driving champ from South Canterbury replied, “There is a common misconception that rally drivers must have it easy or significant wealth behind them. Ultimately, that was never the case for me. I was a pretty normal country kid with a lot of the same difficulties as other people, and faced those challenges head on – while never losing sight of what my passion was. I hope this book can provide some inspiration to others: that if you really believe in something and are prepared to work for it, then anything is possible. If I can do it, anyone can.”

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

She writes, “Reducing stress can be aided by simply exploring our perception of pressure and urgency and becoming aware of any tendency to run ourselves ragged because we don’t want to let anyone down.” Wtf?

4 The Shearers by Ruth Entwistle Low & Mark Low (Penguin Random House, $45)


5 First Map by Tessa Duder & David Elliot (HarperCollins Publishers, $49.99)


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

7 Richard Emerson: The Hopfather by Michael Donaldson (Penguin Random House, $45)

Publisher’s blurbology: “Born profoundly deaf in 1960s Dunedin, Emerson triumphed against all odds to launch Emerson’s Brewery in 1992. He went on to create a string of unique, award-winning beers, spark a cult-following, attract global recognition, and become a millionaire – all from doing something he loved.”

8 The Roar by Alan Stevens (Imagination Press, $39.99)


9 Perform Under Pressure by Ceri Evans (HarperCollins Publishers, $39.99)

Helpful gibberish.

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

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