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)

The author is pictured above at her Auckland home. Spotted: books by Damien Wilkins, Patricia Grace, Liam McIlvanney, Alice Munro, Garrison Keller, Joyce Carol Oates, and King’s Penguin History of New Zealand.

2 She’s a Killer by Kirsten McDougall (Victoria University Press, $30)

Every review of the Wellington author’s latest novel has raved about it. They love the premise – a near-future in New Zealand, where climate change is an everyday burden, and rich “wealthugees” arrive looking to survive in comfort as the rest of the world goes to hell. I loved the action – there’s a tense, dazzling passage of about 100 pages or so in which two characters set out to plant explosives. A novel where something happens! Fantastic! But the book also concerns itself with imaginary conversations, and nothing happens. I have toyed with the idea of writing a critical essay with the brainy title “Interiority in recent New Zealand fiction”, in which I examine She’s A Killer alongside Sue Orr’s book Loop Tracks, where events lag while the author looks inside the mind of a character with some kind of Asperger’s; but I’m not that brainy. A review of She’s a Killer by Kiran Dass will appear next week in ReadingRoom. She raves about it.

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

“Um – if I’m honest I’ve never been any good at naming any authors on the spot. So obviously there’s the obvious one, which is Auē, which is by Becky, and I’m forgetting Becky’s surname right now”: from a notable story in ReadingRoom this week.

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

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

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

The author was recently photographed with her chicken.

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

The idea for the opening of the book – a 15-year-old girl is put on a plane by her mum to go to Sydney for an abortion – was based on a conversation the author had with a friend. In an essay that appears next week in good old ReadingRoom, Orr discusses the moral dimension of writers using other people’s stories.

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

9 Isobar Precinct by Angelique Kasmara (The Cuba Press, $37)

“She can speak well to all the major issues writers deal with: representations of race, gender, problematic story-telling — while knowing where the limits of her own knowledge lies…Her care and empathy for people on the margins shows in Isobar Precinct, which deals with the homeless, the disconnected, the struggling, and asks as its central premise, how can we make our world more bearable?”: from a portrait of the author by good old Amy McDaid.

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


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

The author took to Instagram to announce, “Writing a book was honestly never on my radar, but a couple of years ago I was asked to talk about my experience with surrogacy and I thought it was something that could be really useful. I quickly realised that writing about our surrogacy journey in isolation was impossible – it had to include why we needed to use a surrogate (my auto-immune disease, and ongoing battle to keep good health), and why we were so motivated to have a big family (the death of my three siblings).”

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


3 Sonny Bill Williams by Sonny Bill Williams & Alan Duff (Hachette, $49.99)


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

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

“This is a disgrace,” the author commented on Twitter, in response to a notable story in ReadingRoom this week. “A colossal waste of money from a more money than sense Government.”

6 Dan Carter 1598 by Dan Carter (Upstart Press, $69.99)

More sport.

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

8 How to Take a Breath by Tania Clifton-Smith (Penguin Random House, $30)

The author established the BradCliff Breathing Method in 2008, a physiotherapy treatment programme for breathing dysfunction. It aims to to reduce stress, improve sleep, think clearly and improve performance in sports and at work. “Your breathing,” she breathed, “is the conductor of the orchestra. If you’re not breathing well nothing will work in harmony.”

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

More vegetables.

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

Sport, and possibly some 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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