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



1 To Italy, With Love by Nicky Pellegrino (Hachette, $34.99)

News report, this week: “The Italian government is preparing to introduce contentious new restrictions requiring all workers, in both the public and private sectors, to have a Green Pass with effect from Friday [today]. The Green Pass is a digital or paper certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19. The Green Pass will be compulsory for all workers who will face hefty fines or suspension without pay if they are caught violating the new rules….Protests over Italy’s Green Pass had begun to fizzle out over the summer however…a large protest in Rome last weekend turned violent.”

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

3 The Last Guests by J.P. Pomare (Hachette, $34.99)

4 Double Helix by Eileen Merriman (Penguin Random House, $36)

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

I read Orr’s latest novel last week and thought the first 100 or so pages – a long set-piece involving a 15-year-old girl being taken by her mum to Auckland international airport to fly to Sydney for an abortion – was just about the best opening section of a New Zealand novel I’d read in years, simply world-class.

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

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

8 Wrens Under the Radar by Colleen Shipley (Colleen Shipley, $30)

Blurbology: “War is declared on Germany, and Betty’s fiance Fred enlists. Desperate to do her bit, Betty signs up with the Wrens, hoping to venture overseas. Instead, she finds herself on a top-secret mission in a farmhouse near Blenheim, along with seven other Wrens.”

9 Crazy Love by Rosetta Allan (Penguin Random House, $36)

“It’s ironic that my novel Crazy Love ends with Auckland City in lockdown 2020, because on the night of the book launch, New Zealand went into level 4 lockdown. Just as the speeches started, the emergency mobile alert buzzed through our phones, adding to the surrealness of the evening, knowing that within a few hours our entire country would once again be shut away inside the safety of our homes, and my years of work would be stuck in bookstores for weeks to come. Yes, I understand that dark place of disappointment these writers have felt, and many others whose books were also stuck during this time. And I’m grateful for the online spaces where these books are kept alive, such as ReadingRoom and the Academy of New Zealand Literature”: from the author’s candid article about mental health.

10 Unseasoned Campaigner by Janet Newman (Otago University Press, $27.50)

Poems about farming life, viz:

Until you send them on their way

to be killed, they grant the grace

of their company, draw you in with flared nostrils

that pause over the bones of their dead.


1 Lost and Found by Toni Street (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

2 Salad by Margo Flanagan & Rosa Flanagan (Allen & Unwin, $45)


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

4 National Identity by Simon Bridges (HarperCollins, $37.99)

5 Note to Self Journal by Rebekah Ballagh (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

Self-helper, viz:

Feeling anxious?

  1. Stop
  2. Take a deep breath
  3. Relax your shoulders
  4. This will pass
  5. Notice all the yellow things in the room
  6. It will be okay

6 After the Tampa by Abbas Nazari (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

7 Steve Hansen: The Legacy by Gregor Paul (HarperCollins, $49.99)

Likely to be eclipsed in next week’s chart by the new book by Dan Carter, reviewed in ReadingRoom this week by rugby expert Linda Burgess.

8 Crimetime by Mark van Leewarden (Quentin Wilson, $45)

From my feature about the former detective’s memoir, in the Herald: “Most of us only get one life, but undercover cops get two: their actual life, and their imagined life. Neither identity seems especially likeable in the new, very readable, and quite fascinating memoir Crimetime by ex-cop turned private investigator Mark van Leewarden. About 60 percent of his book is devoted to the year he worked undercover in Auckland, in 1979. He went by the name Mark Munro. He dealt drugs, got wasted, spent $5000 a week. It’s a portrait of old-school crims and an Auckland that no longer exists. But two qualities of his police work remain exactly the same in undercover operations that will be going on right now, right under the noses of the unsuspecting – deceit, and courage.”

9 The Accidental Teacher by Tim Heath (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Tim Heath’s nephew Matt Heath.

10 The Edible Backyard by Kath Irvine (Penguin Random House, $50)

More vegetables.

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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