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


The Jacaranda House by Deborah Challinor (HarperCollins, $36.99)

Lydia Wevers’s review of Challinor’s best-seller set in seedy King’s Cross in 1964 will appear soon at ReadingRoom.

Auē by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press, $35.00)

The Tally Stick by Carl Nixon (Penguin Random House, $36.00)

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

The Silence of Snow by Eileen Merriman (Penguin Random House, $36.00)

The Telling Time by P. J. McKay (Polako Press, $34.95)

The author, in an interview with the Booklovers site: “Gabrijela, a young Croatian immigrant from Korčula, is at the story’s heart. Gabrijela is exiled to New Zealand in the late 1950’s holding close a secret. Thirty years later, her daughter, Luisa, sets off on her own covert adventure, determined to visit Yugoslavia and unpick the family’s past.”

State Highway One by Sam Coley (Hachette, $34.99)

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (Penguin Random House, $26.00)

Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff (Penguin Random House, $30.00)

Duffy! They tried to cancel him but he wrote better than any of them. Good to see the return of his 1990 book, a classic from its opening sentences: “Bastard, she’d think, looking out her back kitchen window. Lucky white bastard…”

10 Fake Baby by Amy McDaid (Penguin Random House, $36.00)

Three books, perhaps, are in leading contention to win best first novel at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand national book awards – The Swimmers by Chloe Lane, 200ft Above Worry Level by Eamonn Marra, and McDaid’s romp set in Auckland.

NZ Non-Fiction

Searching for Charlie by Tom Scott (Upstart Press, $49.99)

Number one for the sixth consecutive week; the only upcoming book likely to replace it at the top of the chart before Xmas is a cookbook by good old Chelsea Winter.

Raw & Free by Sophie Steevens (Allen & Unwin, $45.00)


Māori Made Easy by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $38.00)

Māori Made Easy Workbook 1/Kete 1 by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $25.00)

Vegful by Nadia Lim (Nude Food, $55.00)


Māori Made Fun by Scotty Morrison & Stacey Morrison (Penguin Random House, $25.00)

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

Hiakai by Monique Fiso (Penguin Random House, $65.00)

Sort of a cookbook.

Dark Side of the Brain by Lance Burdett (David Bateman, $39.99)

Reverend Frank Ritchie wondered why his review of Burdett’s book about mental health didn’t appear at ReadingRoom during mental health week and I said every week is mental health week and he said that was true enough.

10 Tree of Strangers by Barbara Sumner (Massey University Press, $35.00)

An interview with the author will appear soon at ReadingRoom.


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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