This week's bookcase star is John Summers, author of the newly published and very good essay collection, The Commercial Hotel. He is pictured at his Wellington home with Best American Essay collections ("A real handy way of getting a sense of the many different ways of writing an essay"), a lot of Alice Munro ("the greatest writer alive"), and Eammon Mara's 2000 ft Above Worry Level, "which contains one of my favourite entries in an important NZ genre: stories about adolescent money making".

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


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

“Crime novel”.

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

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

A trailer for Coming Home in the Dark, based on the Owen Marshall story which opens this newly published greatest-hits collection, was released this week and it looks fantastic.

4 All the Way to Summer by Fiona Kidman (Penguin Random House, $40)

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

Victoria University Press this week published the fourth or fifth edition of the author’s debut collection, Poūkahangatus.

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

“Crime novel”.

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

The author took to the Twitter machine this week to write, “A wonderful evening last night in Devonport, talking Loop Tracks with David Slack. Enormous thanks to Terrie Gray and Paradox Books for making us so welcome. And to so many people who came along – a room full of old friends on a wet Auckland evening… truly heartwarming.” 

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

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

Actually a crime novel.

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


1 She is Not Your Rehab by Matt Brown (Penguin Random House, $35)

Blurbology for the new self-helper: “Matt shares his own story and those of his clients: how they survived family violence and abuse, and how they were able to find healing and turn their lives around. He introduces the people and concepts that have helped him heal and gives readers the tools they need to begin their own journeys.”

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

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

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

5 Eat Well for Less New Zealand by Michael Van de Elzen & Ganesh Raj (Penguin Random House, $35)

Eg, slow-cooked butter chicken. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add oil and butter and gently fry onion until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Place chicken pieces in the slow cooker. In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, stock, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, salt and pepper. Add the onion, garlic and ginger mixture and stir to combine. Pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 3–4 hours. When the chicken is cooked through and tender, add cream, sugar and lemon juice and mix in. Check seasoning, and garnish with coriander. Serve with rice.

Not especially useful or budget-saving if you don’t have a slow cooker.

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

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

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

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

10 Kiwi Falcons by Steve Holmes (David Bateman, $39.99)

Hundreds of personal photos of Falcons.

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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