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


1 The Author’s Cut by Owen Marshall (Penguin Random House, $36)

The short story! It’s everywhere these days. Dear old ReadingRoom has helped revitalise interest in the form by publishing a new story every Saturday; Bug Week, a collection of stories by Whanganui writer Airini Beautrais, won the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Jann Medlicott prize for fiction, and is at number 3 on this week’s chart; there are upcoming collections by Elizabeth Smither, Emma Neale, and Colleen Maria Lenihan; Huia are about to publish their latest collection of stories by Māori writers; a whole bunch of short story writers have applied for the 2021 Surrey Hotel-Newsroom residency (the deadline is tonight, Friday July 9, at 11:59pm); and, to make a long series of semi-colons reach a conclusion, the latest collection by a grand master of the form, Owen Marshall, has scorched into the number one position in this week’s chart. Recommended, heartily.

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

She had a short story published once in ReadingRoom.

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

As previously mentioned in the blather about Owen Marshall, above.

4 Rangikura by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press, $25)

The warm-blooded author wrote in her cover story for Canvas last weekend, “It’s hard to be an island girl when you live in Wellington, the city known for its bad and temperamental weather, notoriously harsh winds coming in off the violent Cook Strait or whatever. The weather is kind of abusive and manipulative, in the sense that living here, you start to get used to it and think it’s normal. Often, I’ll travel somewhere else and feel suspicious at the stillness, at the air around me, all warm and reasonable. In Wellington, we are lucky if we get about 20 reasonable days out of the year and on those days you’ll see the entire city squashed on to Oriental Bay, eating pink sherbet ice creams with an air of desperation.”

5 Loop Tracks by Sue Orr (Victoria University Press, $35)

From a review by Paddy Richardson, at good old ReadingRoom: “It’s a novel rich in reflection and debate over issues such as addiction, ageing, autism, abortion and euthanasia; should men have a say over abortion; should the government control how we should end our lives? Should we trust logic or emotions?…Loop Tracks is a remarkable novel, beautifully and sensitively written.”

6 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K. Reilly (Victoria University Press, $35)

She doesn’t have a bookcase.

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

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

9 Cousins by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House, $26.00)

10 Blood on Vines by Madeleine Eskedahl (Squabbling Sparrows Press, $34.95)


1 Labour Saving by Michael Cullen (Allen & Unwin, $49.99)

“Sometimes Cullen writes in personal detail. We learn of his childhood, his affair and subsequent divorce, his depression, and other health battles he has faced. But whereas something such as the enactment of the Local Government Reform Act gets a number of pages, these significant personal matters get no examination. I would have loved to have learned the texture of his fear and how he harnessed it, the smell of the rooms and the like. They would have given the book more humanity … It’s an honest, accurate work of history, despite its failings to inspect the more personal aspects of a serious New Zealand politician and his times”: from a review by good old Simon Bridges, at ReadingRoom

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

3 Tikanga by Francis Tipene & Kaiora Tipene (HarperCollins, $39.99)

4 Mental Fitness by Paul Wood (HarperCollins, $36.99)

Self-helper by an ex-con.

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

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

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

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

9 Kiwi Farmers’ Guide to Life by Tim Fulton (David Bateman, $39.99)

The stories of 25 farmers and their families. Fulton told Stuff, “There are some shearers in there, there is some agriculture scientists and a whole lot of people really.”

10 The Abundant Garden by Niva Kay & Yotam Kay (Allen & Unwin, $45)


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.

Leave a comment