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


1 Straight Up by Ruby Tui as told to Margie Thomson (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

From the game on Saturday night (still image of the World Cup Final as screened on SkySport):

From the celebrations the next day, at Britomart (I just happened to be passing and witnessed really beautiful scenes of joy and adoration):

From her childhood, being taught the haka by her Dad, as published in her book (Straight Up is actually a fantastic read, very personal, very honest, and very deserving of going to number one in the chart this week):

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

3 Simple Fancy by Margo Flanagan & Rosa Flanagan (Allen & Unwin, $45)

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

5 Kai by Christall Lowe (David Bateman, $59.99)

Last week we offered a giveaway of awesome cookbook Whānaukai by Naomi Toilalo; the winner is Pauline Douglas, of Dunedin. This week we are offering a giveaway of Kai by Christall Lowe – the best-looking cookbook of the year and maybe the best-tasting: recipes include mānuka honey muttonbird and pūhā, rēwena bread, oyster po boys with spicy remoulade, oven-cooked hāngī, burnt sugar steamed pudding, and taste-explosion custard and rhubarb-filled island donuts. Simply email, write the subject line in screaming caps as I WANT THIS YUM COOKBOOK PLEASE and describe the best meal you have ever eaten in your entire hungry life. Entries close Sunday November 20 at midnight.

6 Whānaukai by Naomi Toilalo (HarperCollins, $55)

7 Learning to be French (and failing) by Anna Bibby (Allen & Unwin, $45)

8 New Zealand Gardens to Visit by Juliet Nicholas & Rosemary Barraclough (Penguin Random House, $55)

Some 56 beautiful gardens photographed and revealed from Northland to Southland, including Broadfield Garden in Christchurch, created by David Hobbs; Ōmāio Garden, in the Far North, owned by Liz Morrow;  and Carolyn Ferraby’s Barewood Garden in Marlborough.

9 Cult Trip by Anke Richter (HarperCollins, $37.99)

Excellent book on cults and communities. From my review in ReadingRoom: “Richter’s work is thorough and compassionate. In her Acknowledgements, she thanks the great names of New Zealand investigate journalism for their help – Nicky Hager, Lynley Hood, Jared Savage, David Fisher. She puts herself in the story for the best reason: she belongs in the story. She describes herself as a “semi-professional sex cult tourist” and she’s wary of farming survivors for their stories. Cult Trip is a brittle, sensitive book.”

10 Together by Cherie Metcalfe (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Over 70 recipes including pancake tacos with avo, egg and salsa; Chickpea, spinach and feta sausage rolls; Za’atar lamb with smashed olive and caper dressing; and raspberry cheesecake blondie.


1 Kāwai by Monty Soutar (David Bateman, $39.99)

Historical novel set in New Zealand before the arrival of Cook; number one for the 10th consecutive week.

2 The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

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

The author spoke with RNZ presenter Māni Dunlop at the Verb writers jamboree earlier this month; the busy pencil of Tara Black caught the conversation.

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

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

6 The Pain Tourist by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press, $37.99)

Synopsis: “A young man wakes from a coma to find himself targeted by the men who killed his parents, while someone is impersonating a notorious New Zealand serial killer.” You have to credit Cleave: the guy comes up with the thrilling goods, time and time again, thrillingly.

7 By the Green of the Spring by Paddy Richardson (Quentin Wilson Publishing, $37.99)

Historical novel set during World War I, on Somes Island in Wellington harbour, where men of German and Austrian heritage were held prisoner. “Around 200 men were imprisoned and housed in rotting quarters built in the past century to house quarantine patients,” wrote the author in a fascinating story backgrounding her novel. “They were guarded by a motley collection of ex-convicts. In charge was Assistant Commander Stan Rogers, who been raised to his lofty position with a staff of 30 beneath him from his position as a carpenter in the Petone Railway workshops. Above him and overseeing it all was Major Dugald Matheson, a past master at Wellington College…It seemed to me that Matheson was inept, out of his depth. At the beginning of his time on Somes, he’d tried to ingratiate himself with the men and he’d lost their respect which he attempted to regenerate through bullying which became increasingly brutish. But was he simply an inept bully or was there something more to his cruelty? It seems to me that much of his own behaviour – and the brutish treatment of the men by the guards that he condoned – bordered on sadism.”

8 The Doctor’s Wife by Fiona Sussman (David Bateman, $37.99)

A definite contender for best crime novel of the year. Synopsis: “Nothing in pottery teacher Stan Andino’s regular existence prepares him for the moment he discovers his wife naked, except for a black apron, bleaching a stain from the lounge carpet that only she can see….Then a body is discovered at the bottom of Browns Bay cliffs by an young autistic man….Who is lying, and who telling the truth when there are multiple potential murder suspects?”

9 Tarquin the Honest: The Hand of Glodd by Gareth Ward (David Bateman, $34.99)

10 Pounamu Pounamu by Whiti Ihimaera (Penguin Random House, $30)

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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