1 Eddy, Eddy by Kate De Goldi (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

Number one for the fourth consecutive week and one of the year’s very best novels, alongside The Fish by Lloyd Jones and Down Upland Road by Murdoch Stevens.

2 The Last Letter of Godfrey Cheathem by Luke Elworthy (The Wairau Diversion, $35)

Interesting guy, interesting book. The author was born in India and comes from that Elworthy farming family.  He was educated at Christ’s College in Christchurch and spent much of his school holidays at Centrepoint – yeah, that Centrepoint. His novel is a put-on, a kind of hoax, written as a memoir of New Zealand writer Godfrey Cheathem who does not in fact exist. It takes the form of a letter that Cheathem writes from his cell in Paparua prison, and tries to explain the events that led to his imprisonment. Hm!

3 The Wrong Woman by JP Pomare (Hachette, $36.99)

4 Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers, $35)

5 Harbouring by Jenny Pattrick (Penguin Random House, $36)

6 How to Get a Girlfriend (When You’re a Terrifying Monster) by Marie Cardno (Paper Road Press, $20)

Paranormal romance, or, in the short and sweet publisher’s blurbology, ” A sweet rom-com for the interdimensional monster in all of us.”

Arresting cover.

7 How to Loiter In a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin Random House, $28)

8 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

9 Poor People With Money by Dominic Hoey (Penguin Random House, $37)

I think this guy is great, one of the most original writers in the country, someone in the spirit or continuum of New Zealand beatnik outsiders like Bill Payne or Peter Olds or David Mitchell; he said in an interview with Pantograph Punch about his debut novel Iceland (longlisted for the 2019 Ockhams), “I wanted the story to be easy to follow for people who don’t read, who don’t have education, or who have learning disabilities. I often think literature can be very elitist, and I didn’t want this book to be only read by academics. I wanted it to move fast and to throw the reader straight into the heads of the characters and their idiosyncrasies. Some of it probably comes from being a poet and rapper too; both art forms tend towards minimalism.”

Poor People With Money is told by Monday Wooldridge as a letter to her lost brother Eddy. From a review by Louise Ward, in Hawkes Bay Today: “Her chaotic adult life is an extension of her chaotic childhood which was full of love, violence, struggle and poverty… Hoey’s writing can veer from spare, raw prose to the most poetic pieces of whispering beauty. It leaves you feeling like Monday just kicked you in the guts and followed up by enfolding you in her strong, crazy arms.”

10 Te Koroua me te Moana by Ernest Hemingway (Auckland University Press, $29.99)

The Old Man and the Sea in te reo. Interesting choice, in the te reo series from AUP; I reread Hemingway’s famous 1953 bestseller earlier this year, and sometimes I thought it was kind of terrible, a humourless saga written in po-faced little monosyllables, too profound for its own good, simple-minded and patronising, but more often I thought it was kind of utterly beautiful, a moving story made very, very physical – the blue marlin, the fishing line, the little boat, every bit of it right in front of you because Hemingway takes you right there with the old Cuban fisherman on his ride to death.


1 Everyday Favourites by Vanya Insull (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

2 Blue Blood: The National Party in Crisis by Andrea Vance (HarperCollins, $36.99)

Danyl McLauchlan interviewed the author on Thursday, at Unity Books in Wellington; Tara Black, shortlisted for the 2022 Surrey Hotel writers residency award in association with Newsroom and Dick Frizzell, was there with her pen and her pad to preserve it for all times. She does a great Vance; her McLauchlan is even better; and the four small portraits of Blue Blood‘s cover shows what she can do with just one or two strokes – look at her Collins with that eyebrow, look at her creepy Key, look at her gormless Luxon, although her Bridges looks a bit like Winston Peters, lol. She also has a great ear, as per the dialogue, below. Best line: “Why was everyone treating Key like Bono?”

3 The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

The author is this week’s bookcase star, pictured above.

4 Yum! by Nadia Lim (Nude Food Inc, $55)

I’ve been signalling for what must be ooh I don’t know three months now that a review of Lim’s cookbook is due any minute from writer, comedian and gourmet Cori Gonzalez-Macuer – but I really think it actually is imminent, he’s been making positive noises about it, I have every faith in him. You never know.

5 No Excuses by Dave Letele (Penguin Random House, $40)

6 A Quiet Kitchen by Nici Wickes (David Bateman, $45)

7 The Boy from Gorge River by Chris Long (HarperCollins, $39.99)

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

9 I am Autistic by Chanelle Moriah (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

10 Grand by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin Random House, $35)

Entries are now open for the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for books published between January 1 and December 31; each entry costs money, so publishers have to be judicious about what they nominate, but of course Penguin will be nominating McCarthy’s memoir, published in March, when I speculated that it would remain the best book of any kind published this year – and here we are in August, and I am holding to that claim. You can never tell what whims possess the Ockham judges but Grand has got to be one of the favourites to win the non-fiction award.

Cool cover.

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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