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

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

“Everyone now knows that the best New Zealand novel of the year is the fine and electric Auē by Becky Manawatu,” wrote ex-sub Mark Broatch at The Academy of New Zealand Literature, in a piece about the judging of the 2020 Ockham New Zealand book awards.

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

“I let it transport me,” Knox told Nicky Pellegrino, in a superb interview at the BookBubble podcast series.

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

Creepy af thriller.  

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

Diana Wichtel, from her profile of Wellington author Carl Shuker in the New Zealand Listener: “Shuker’s short, scalpel-sharp tale of misadventure, medical and moral, is set in a version of Wellington Hospital. The body reading it may soon find itself pumping and flexing uneasily in unison. In the sole, ringing endorsement on the back cover of Shuker’s novel, writer Pip Adam notes that it ‘feels more like a body than a book – life pumps and glugs and flexes inside its pages’.”

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

Extremely popular novel set in racy, racist Hastings in the 1950s; the author wrote about its background for ReadingRoom.

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

Short stories, including the marvellous “Mrs Dixon & Friend” that appeared in ReadingRoon.

7 The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Victoria University Press, $28)

There’s a TV show based on it.

8 How to Live by Helen Rickerby (Auckland University Press, $24.99)

Winner of the Mary and Peter Biggsy award for poetry at this year’s Ockham awards.

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

Singh is the featured guest at next week’s BookBubble podcast series at ReadingRoom.

10 What Sort of Man by Breton Dukes (Victoria University Press, $30)

Short stories, including the amazing “The Swimmers”.


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


2 So Delish! by Simone Anderson (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)


3 Stop Surviving Start Fighting by Jazz Thornton (Penguin Random House, $38)


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


5 One Minute Crying Time by Barbara Ewing (Massey University Press, $39.99)


6 Dead People I Have Known by Shayne Carter (Victoria University Press, $40)

“Awards have always seemed a bit frivolous to me, unless I’m the one who’s won,” Carter wrote in ReadingRoom last week, when he won the 2020 Ockham New Zealand award for best book of non-fiction.

7 Our Land Our People by Hyland Ross (Matata Enterprises Limited, $59.99)


8 A Natural Year by Wendyl Nissen (Allen & Unwin, $45)


9 Listen to Spirit by Kelvin Cruickshank (Penguin Random House, $38)


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

Good food.

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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