Posted inReadingRoom

This week's top 10 NZ Books

Each week we feature a bookshelf in the home of a New Zealand author. This week: a chaotic bookshelf - unalphabeticised, spilling over, random - in the home of Wellington novelist Danyl Mclauchlan.

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


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

Mekerei, GoodReads: “This eleventh book by Pellegrino is all that I love; the characters, the food, the setting, and the storyline. A little entertaining light.” There’s probably a word missing in that second sentence but it makes its point really well.

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

“The first thing I’d say about this book is that its likeness to Lee Child is even more pronounced than usual…Fans of Paul Cleave will not be disappointed….It feels slightly cliched but in good ways:” passive-aggressive review by Louise O’Brien, 9 to Noon.

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

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

A finalist in this weekend’s Ngaio Marsh crime writing awards, announced at a public event in Christchurch.

5 A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino (trade paperback; Hachette, $34.99)

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

“A slow-motion portrait of disaster in the shape of a New Zealand surgeon’s potential breakdown, amid that of her career, her personal life, and possibly even her profession, her society, and her world…. It’s sharp, it’s smart, it’s written with quick wit amid a strangely calm sadness”: Alec Redvers-Hill, Metro magazine.

7 The Stories of Eileen Duggan by Eileen Duggan & Helen J O’Neill (Victoria University Press, $35)

Includes the strange, Freudian story “The Closed Fist” which ran in our Saturday short story slot recently.

8 View from the South by Owen Marshall & Grahame Sydney (Penguin Random House, $40)

Poetry and pictures by the Mainlandists.

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

10 The Boyfriend by Laura Southgate (Victoria University Press, $30)

“This is a scalp-prickling dazzler of a novel, fizzing with quotable lines and remarkable characters—an astute comedy of manners combined with wrenching events that charts a new path through one of humanity’s oldest stories. Laura is an enormously exciting new writer”: IIML writing tutor Emily Perkins, at the ceremony awarding Southgate the 2018 Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing.


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

Garbled advice on stress.

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

Brian Turner will review Wall’s popular rugby book next week at ReadingRoom.

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

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

How James Cook charted New Zealand.

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

How shearers sheared New Zealand.

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

7 Māori at Work by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $35)

“Over the last 30 years I’ve seen so much change in the way te reo Māori is valued, and always hold in the highest regard the reo champions who fought for our language to be recognised officially and protect its mana. They’re the reason why people like me have a kaupapa to write for”: Morrison, writing in ReadingRoom, on his latest te reo guide.

8 Māori Made Easy by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $35)

9 Native Son by Witi Ihimaera (Penguin Random House, $40)

Latest memoir by the great New Zealand author.

10 Someone’s Wife by Linda Burgess (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Memoir bound for the number one best-seller position next week and the week after that. “Here is someone who understands style – who understands and loves story. Someone who loves words, someone who leaves room for the reader….Reading Someone’s Wife is like being invited to a very special event”: from a rave review by Renée, at ReadingRoom.

Steve Braunias is the literary editor of Newsroom's books section ReadingRoom, a noted writer at the NZ Herald, and the author of 10 books.

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