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


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

The new Pellegrino has shot to the number one slot in its second week on sale. I asked her for a comment; she emailed, “Relief! This novel is grittier and more emotional than my previous work. And the launch date was disrupted by the current crisis so I’m really happy readers are finding it and so far seem to be enjoying the read.”

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

A copy is seen in this week’s bookcase photo, above; and in last Saturday’s Weekend Herald, the newly appointed Retirement Commissioner, Jane Wrightson, named it as the last book she’d read. Auē: it’s everywhere.

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

“I have a dark sense of humour,” the author told Nicky Pellegrino in a podcast interview at ReadingRoom. “After all, I’m a nurse.”

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

One or two people were a little bit surprised that the author’s novel missed out on being shortlisted for this year’s Ockham New Zealand book awards; asked in the Herald this week how she coped with disappointment, Knox replied, “This is not an inspirational story. I weep and wail and I feel the hurt deeply. I am discouraged and I don’t write for quite a while. I take everything very hard, I am not at all philosophical but I’m also a cockroach, so you cannot kill me. Other people tell you – and you tell yourself, ‘Come on, you’ve been through these things before’ but I can’t turn myself into a different person. I’m not very good at enjoying success and I’m inclined to brood upon failures.”

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

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

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

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

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

10 Mellons Bay by Suzanne Singleton (Wily Publications, $34.99)

Hiostorical fiction, based on the author’s ancestors, William and Harriet Mellon, who sailed on the Oriental Queen and who lived at Mellons Bay in Auckland, but later separated. She writes, “What happened to Harriet, my great-great grandmother was always a mystery to me. Little was known or talked about in family accounts, only that she was redheaded and had been ‘on the stage’ and was ‘flighty and frivolous’. Since childhood I had been intrigued by the dismissive stories of her – Harriet who was regarded as unimportant, a woman who left her husband for another man. I wanted to write her back into history, give her substance. William, a man of his times, did not need it so much. After all, a bay and a road have his name. Mellons Bay and Mellons Bay Road exist in Howick today.”


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


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

3 The Quick and the Dead by Cynric Temple-Camp (HarperCollins, $39.99)

New memoir by the Palmerston North coroner who takes the credit for suggesting to the police that they get in touch with a Texan scientist to help identify a stain on the shirt of Mark Edward Lundy. Dr Rodney Miller’s test – which the Crown said was proof that Lundy had his wife’s brain on his shirt – was crucial to his conviction.

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

5 Te Kōparapara edited by Michael Reilly (Auckland University Press, $69.99)

Publisher’s blurbology: “This book aims to allow the Māori world to speak for itself through an accessible introduction to Māori culture, history and society from an indigenous perspective. In twenty-one illustrated chapters, leading scholars introduce Māori culture (including tikanga on and off the marae and key rituals like pōwhiri and tangihanga), Māori history (from the beginning of the world and the waka migration through to Māori protest and urbanisation in the twentieth century), and Māori society today.”

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

7 Matariki by Rangi Matamua (Huia Publishers, $35)

Publisher’s blurbology: “What is Matariki? Why did Māori observe Matariki? How did Māori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated? Based on research and interviews with Māori experts, this book seeks answers to these questions and explores what Matariki was in a traditional sense so it can be understood and celebrated in contemporary society.”

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

From my ReadingRoom review of the Green MP’s memoir: “Golriz of Nazareth, or Kelston or wherever, come to bring us peace and slogans. ‘Make space’, etc.”

9 Weed: A New Zealand Story by James Borrowdale (Penguin Random House, $35)

Finlay Macdonald has been commissioned to review this timely exploration of dak.

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

From a customer review by Jesse Dryden, at the Warehouse site: “I haven’t read it as such yet. However, I can already sense an immense power emanating from this book. The spiritual presence of his writing is truly empowering. I recommend it to anyone wanting to reconnect and reinvigorate their spiritual aura or as gift to a soul mate/spiritual partner. As a bonus, this book seems to accelerate the charging of my crystal chakras when placed in the same room.”

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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