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)

Scorpio Books in Christchurch is offering free delivery for books anywhere within New Zealand.

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

Unity Books in Auckland and Wellington are also offering free delivery for books anywhere within New Zealand.

3 All the Way to Summer by Fiona Kidman (Penguin Random House, $40)

Exquisite collection of short stories by a master of the form; her wonderful, tender story ”Mrs Dixon & Friend” appeared recently at ReadingRoom.

4 In the Clearing by JP Pomare (Hachette, $34.99)

Thriller. “In the front seat, Adam had his eyes fixed on the girl. I wasn’t breathing at all in that moment. I had to tell myself to inhale, to focus. Adam looked at the stopwatch, then at the girl. When I gripped the brown bottle in between my thighs, I could barely turn the cap. My hands were too sweaty.”

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

Philip Matthews, Twitter: “Now that coronavirus has put an end to sport, TV news is going to spend 15 minutes a night talking about books and music instead.” We look forward to One News sports anchor Andrew Saville examining A Mistake, the surgically precise novel about a surgical disaster.

6 A Sister in My House by Linda Olsson (Penguin Random House, $35)

The author was born in Stockholm, and left Sweden in 1986 after working in law and finance. She took a posting  to Kenya then travelled to Singapore, the UK and Japan, until she settled in New Zealand with her family. Linda’s first novel Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs was published in 2005 and became an international success, selling hundreds of thousands of copies in Scandinavia, Europe, the US and Asia.

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

“Just so devastated to see what is happening in Italy,” the author wrote on Twitter. “When this dark time is over and my broken bone has healed I’ll be heading back asap. In the meantime I’m sending love to all my friends and family there.”

8 The Lifers by Michael Steven (Otago University Press, $27.50)

This guy is one of my favourite poets, a writer who is engaged with social realism, working people, New Zealand on a wage and on the books of Winz; here are some lines from his latest book.

A fine rain glazes the dark buildings on Federal and Wellesley Streets.

It’s  6:15am, a Thursday morning.

Six storeys underground in

the newly opened casino carpark, the building site broom hand

sits in his black Falcon XR6 ute, bagging up grams with the tip

of an ivory-handled hunting knife from a sandwich bag of white crystal. 

…He hoovers the lines, his pupils dilate. Ventricles

thump in the bone house of his chest.

All over his ulcerated gums

he rubs the remnant powder— drains a warm can of DB Bitter

to rinse away the drug’s caustic drip…

9 Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2020 by Johanna Emeney (Massey University Press, $35)

10 Pearly Gates by Owen Marshall (Penguin Random House, $38)


1 The Book of Overthinking by Gwendoline Smith (Allen & Unwin, $24.99)

2 Life as a Casketeer by Francis Tipene & Kaiora Tipene (HarperCollins, $39.99)

3 Husna’s Story by Farid Ahmed (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

March 15.

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

5 Māori Made Easy by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $38)

By all means check out his missus’s Twitter account @formerlydaniels for a demonstration of how to give a “long distance hongi”, where the hand doesn’t touch the nose.

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

7 Edmonds Cookery Book by Goodman Fielder (Hachette, $34.99)

The return of the classic has inspired this verse:

Cometh the darkest hour

Cometh sweet treats made of sugar,

& flour.

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

9 Māori Made Easy Workbook 1/Kete 1 by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $25.00)

10 A Māori Phrase a Day by Hemi Kelly (Penguin Random House, $30)

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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