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

1 From the Centre by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House, $40)

From a wonderful profile of the author by Noelle McCarthy, this week at dear old ReadingRoom: “Her house is up a driveway. Her son lives with his family in the big house in front, hers is tall and light with beautiful big windows that look out on her garden and trees. All of this is in From the Centre, a title that describes how she writes –  the shifting perspectives of character and non-linear treatment of time she started with her first novel Mutuwhenua, and perfected in the brilliant, dream-like Pōtiki, and Baby No-Eyes, a novel about racism and inter-generational trauma that starts with a whānau receiving back from doctors the body of a baby whose eyes have been removed postmortem without permission….Grace has her characters tell it all in an easy, colloquial way that’s very alive and often very funny.  She describes her method: ‘I sit myself in the middle of the story, move it back and forth around me…keep characters and ideas close, reach out to get what I need.’ She writes for herself first and foremost, she says. ‘I am the first audience’, with only one caveat: ‘If Māori readers did not relate to my writing, or if they rejected it, I would not do it.’”

2 To Be Fair by Rosemary Riddell (Upstart Press, $39.99)

Anecdotes by a district court judge who uses lots of exclamation marks.

3 Times Like These by Michelle Langstone (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Essays by an actor who has starred in both Power Rangers SPD  (as Dr Katherine Manx) and Power Rangers Jungle Fury (as Master Guin).

4 Aroha by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

5 The Forager’s Treasury by Johanna Knox (Allen & Unwin, $45)

6 A High Country Life by Philippa Cameron (Allen & Unwin, $45)

7 The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Penguin Random House, $38)

“If they keep going on at me,” joshed the author when she appeared at the Auckland Writers Festival, apropos her family’s objections to her memoir, “I’ll write volume two.” She might not have been joshing but in the meantime we wish her well at Friday night’s Voyager Media Awards, where she has been nominated for best reviewer, for work at the Listener and dear old ReadingRoom. Go Char!

8 A Richer You by Mary Holm (HarperCollins, $36.99)

9 Supergood by Chelsea Winter (Penguin Random House, $50)

10 Hiakai by Monique Fiso (Penguin Random House, $65)


1 Bug Week by Airini Beautrais (Victoria University Press, $30)

When the collection of short stories was first published, Victoria University Press printed 500 copies. It printed another 500 when the book was shortlisted for the fiction prize at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand national book awards. When it won, VUP immediately printed 1000 copies; that’s also sold out, and a fourth printing, of 1000 copies, is due soon. This is the book everyone wants right now; do yourself a favour and join the queue, it’s a terrific set of stories.

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

3 Back to You by Tammy Robinson (Hachette, $29.99)

4 Inside the Black Horse by Ray Berard (David Bateman, $34.99)

5 The Quiet People by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press, $37.99)

6 Cousins by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House, $26)

7 Spellbound by Catherine Robertson (Penguin Random House, $36)

8 Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press, $35)

9 More Favourable Waters by Marco Sonzogni & Timothy Smith (The Cuba Press, $25)


10 The Nine Lives of Kitty K. by Margaret Mills (Mary Egan Publishing, $34.99)

The 90-year-old author was at a book signing earlier this year when a woman called Jane approached her with a copy of The Nine Lives of Kitty K, and said, “Can you please make it out to Jane?” She spelled out her name as a courtesy but the author scowled, and said, “I may be old but I do know how to spell, thank you very much.”

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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