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


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


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

3 Know Your Place by Golriz Ghahraman (HarperCollins, $39.99)

From my review of the Green MP’s memoir atReadingRoom: “Ghahraman lays out her anxieties and her unhappinesses throughout Know Your Place. It gives her book an emotional core. Far from merely or exclusively presenting herself as some sort of boorish saviour, she provides a complex psychological portrait…She’s had an eventful life and her book is revealing, thoughtful, observant.”

4 New Zealand Mysteries by Scott Bainbridge (David Bateman, $39.99)

Aliens in Ngatea, and other entertaining romps.

5 Stop Surviving Start Fighting by Jazz Thornton (Penguin, $38)

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

7 Listen to Spirit by Kelvin Cruickshank (Penguin, $38)

Sample: “‘Holy shit!’ I yelled at the top of my voice. ‘What’s going on?’ Actually it wasn’t me yelling, it was the guy in spirit who’d turned up.”

8 Māori Made Easy Workbook 1/Kete 1 by Scotty Morrison (Raupo Publishing, $25)

9 Wine O’Clock Myth by Lotta Dann (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

The author featured in a superb profile by Judy Bailey, who wrote in ReadingRoom, “Lotta Dann is eight and a half years sober and not once has she fallen off the wagon. She’s a bright, articulate, determined woman – and now she’s about to take on the all powerful liquor industry. Her new book The Wine O’Clock Myth explores how women are suffering with alcohol – and how, though they’re desperate to change, the environment is stacked against them. The liquor industry, she says, shamelessly targets and manipulates women.”

10 Observations of a Rural Nurse by Sara McIntyre (Massey University Press, $55)

A stunning collection of colour photographs taken at McIntyre’s home in Kākahi and the sparsely populated surrounding King Country towns of Manunui, Ōhura, Ōngarue, Piriaka, Ōwhango and Taumarunui.


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

Longlisted this week for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh crime writing award. Crime? This book? Really? I asked awards founder Craig Sisterton how come bro and he replied, “As you can imagine, the borders get a bit blurry at times. Generally, I leave it up to the publishers who know the books best, though I’ll have a chat to them when the entry period opens and discourage any that fall outside our purview. Makaro Press believed crime/suspense was enough of a strong or vital element in Becky’s novel, so they entered the book. Our judges, who are all experienced crime fiction reviewers (often involved with other book prizes overseas like Ned Kellys in Australia and CWA Daggers etc in the UK) really loved the book and none expressed any doubts to me about whether it should be included…Hope that helps mate. I get that many see the Ngaios as a crime = detective fiction award, but right from the start we’ve been a little broader. Nga mihi from London.”

2 Jerningham by Cristina Sanders (The Cuba Press, $37)

As in Wakefield, the coloniser and drunk; historical fiction.

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

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

5 Upturned by Kay McKenzie Cooke (The Cuba Press, $25)

“I found the poems about family and grief to be the most moving in the collection,” said Chris Tse in his review for Radio New Zealand.

6 Alpha Night by Nalini Singh (Hachette, $34.99)

7 Nothing to See by Pip Adam (Victoria University Press, $30)

8 The Night of All Souls by Philippa Swan (Penguin Random House, $36)

Blurbological synopsis: “Edith Wharton is reimagined as a host in the afterlife, a historical figure in a modern novella, and as an elusive presence in the pages of her own writing.”

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

10 Fake Baby by Amy McDaid (Penguin Random House, $36)

The best book about Auckland life published this year.

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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