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)

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

3 Sado by Mikaela Nyman (Victoria University Press, $30)

“What happens when custom collides with modern, liberal values? What if that collision has fundamental impact on individual lives? What is the cost to society as a whole?  Mikaela Nyman’s debut novel explores these questions amid the carnage caused in Vanuatu by Cyclone Pam in March 2015… Ultimately, it is Vanuatu that emerges as the most complex and interesting character of this novel”: Steve Walker, from his review at Stuff.

4 Caught Between by Jeannie McLean (AM Publishing, $27.99)

Blurbology: “The body of sixteen-year-old Jasmine Dunn is washed up on a rocky foreshore in Auckland. The next day, her mother’s body is found on a deserted beach.”

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

The author of one of the best novels published in 2020 will be reading from her work at a free event held at Old Government House at the University of Auckland campus on Wednesday, August 12, from 5:30pm-7pm. Numerous other writers will also be reading, MC’d by Paula Morris.

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

Hamilton was forced to get rid of its statue of the imperial colonist that the city was named after, but readers can’t get enough of Sanders’ hugely entertaining historical novel about imperial colonist Jerningham Wakefield.
7 Sinking Lessons by Philip Armstrong (Otago University Press, $27.50)

Says the University of Canterbury professor of his collection of poems, “I grew up in a house beside the Hauraki Gulf, and for the last two decades I’ve lived within sight of Lyttelton Harbour, and the sights and sounds and smells of salt water make their way into my poetry whether I intend it or not.”

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

9 Poukahangatus by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press, $20)

Sales of the award-winning collection of poems were evidently brisk when the author appeared at a  Central Hawkes Bay literary event last week held at the TitterTales craft store in Waipawa.

10 Sprigs by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson, $35)

“The novel’s central incident…[is that] a rape occurs. We never see it happen, but we know it does. No-one wants to talk about it, admit it, or think about it, but it won’t stay locked away, out of sight and out of mind. It’s on everybody’s mind and it lingers menacing on every page”: Alec Redvers-Hill, from his review at ReadingRoom.


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


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

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

The high price of courgettes has been the most serious issue affecting New Zealand society this winter. Lim was asked by Stuff to comment. She said: “Eat what nature is offering us in abundance this winter and celebrate the change that each season brings.”

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

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

Five-part online video series Jessica’s Tree, made by multiple suicide survivor Jazz Thornton for Augusto Productions and screened on in March last year, won a gold award for best TV or web series this week at the International New York Film Festival.

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

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

According to a round-up at Stuff of the sales figures of political books, the Green MP’s memoir has sold  735 copies, the memoir by Judith Collins has sold 3700 copies, Madeleine Chapman’s sort-of biography Jacinda Ardern: A new kind of leader has sold 430 copies, and Michelle Duff’s puff-piece Jacinda Ardern: The story behind an extraordinary leader has sold about 5000 copies.

8 Māori Made Easy Workbook 1/Kete 1 by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $25)

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

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

From a review by Miz, at Goodreads: “This is a beautiful wee book of sentiments and it’s delightful. I kinda want to rip up the pages and frame a bunch of sentiments! Instead it’s on its way to a friend who needs to know how much she matters to the world.”


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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