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


1 Pull No Punches by Judith Collins (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)


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

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

Doesn’t chilling out make you kind of stupid?

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

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

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

Toi Iti has been commissioned to review McIntyre’s photographic record of life in the King Country for ReadingRoom.

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

Judy Bailey (words) and Jane Ussher (photos) have been commissioned to profile the author for ReadingRoom.

8 Not That I’d Kiss a Girl by Lil O’Brien (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Emma Espiner, writing in ReadingRoom: “Lil’s parents kicked Lil out of their house when they found out she was a lesbian after eavesdropping on a phone conversation. It’s a bit much when you read it back now, in her memoir Not That I’d Kiss a Girl. Do people’s parents really leave them on the side of the road these days just for being gay? Unfortunately they do, and this sort of thing is deadly serious…Her book is heartfelt and hard to read in parts, but it’s also hilarious and relatable. I’d buy it for my gay or straight friends, all the teenagers in my life and their parents, and I’ve got a copy set aside for my mum.”

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

Did an alien spaceship land in a field in Ngatea, and leave behind a circle of burned manuka? A scientist examined the scene, and concluded, “ I know of no earthly source of energy which could have produced these effects. A meteorite or lightning couldn’t do this, and it has been too sudden for combustion. Some outside object appears to have landed on the spot, and in taking off emitted the energy which cooked the plants.”

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


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

Number one for the umpteenth consecutive week.

2 Tiny Pieces of Us by Nicky Pellegrino (Hachette, $34.99)

The new Pellegrino! The plot is ingenious: “Vivi Palmer knows what it’s like to live life carefully. Born with a heart defect, she was given a second chance after a transplant, but has never quite dared to make the most of it. Until she comes face-to-face with her donor’s mother, Grace, who wants something in return for Vivi’s second-hand heart: her help to find all the other people who have tiny pieces of her son. Reluctantly drawn into Grace’s mission, Vivi’s journalist training takes over as, one by one, she tracks down a small group of strangers. As their lives intertwine Vivi finds herself with a new kind of family, and by finding out more about all the pieces that make up the many parts of her, Vivi might just discover a whole new world waiting for her.”

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

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

The author of the most stunning debut novel of 2020 is interviewed by Nicky Pellegrino in a BookBubble podcast at dear old ReadingRoom on Monday.

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

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

7 Every Now and Then I Have Another Child by Diane Brown (Otago University Press, $29.95)

From an interview with the author in the Otago Daily Times: “The story starts off in Auckland and is narrated by Joanna who, when she hears a baby cry in hotel room, picks it up and takes it home with her to Dunedin…A subplot emerges about the narrator’s mother who walked out of the house never to be seen again when Joanna was only 10. Joanna has two grown sons, similar to Brown, and visits one in London where she sees a woman wearing a dress, the same as one her mother had worn. ‘It unsettles her in a big way,’ says the author. ‘She decides to find out what happened to her mother.’ It is a rather ‘complicated tale’ with many twists and turns and character surprises, Brown says.”

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

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

The most exciting New Zealand book news of the week – well, rivalling the announcement of Creative New Zealand’s $21,000 funding of obviously the most intelligent, dedicated and thorough literary section in the country, ReadingRoom – was the tweet from Dan Kois, the books editor at US site Slate, raving about Pip Adams’s novel: “This is a total masterpiece. Gripping, weird, funny, close to the bone. An intense portrait of sobriety, a mystery, a scifi novel, an urgent book about living in our panoptical present.” He also urged a US publisher to pick up the rights. The last time Kois went crazy about a New Zealand book was Elizabeth Knox’s novel The Absolute Book; it led to a six-figure publishing deal.

10 The Reed Warbler by Ian Wedde (Victoria University Press, $35)

I ran into the author at the launch of CK Stead’s memoir You Have A Lot to Lose and we discussed the photograph of his chaotic bookcase.

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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