This week's bookstore stars are Jenny Ainge (left) and Sally Battson from The Next Chapter, 72 Brownston Street, Wānaka. They say, somehow in harmony, "We feel very lucky to have so many authors and artists on our doorstop and we particularly love to promote New Zealand titles in any way connected to down South such as Cristina Sanders and her novel Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant (set in the Auckland Islands), Ruth Shaw's fabulous runaway best-seller The Bookshop at the End of the World and Andris Apse's The Deep South." Their store is a thing of beauty, as befits Wānaka; there are only 16 shopping days till Xmas; get thee to The Next Chapter at once.

The weekly Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list, described by Steve Braunias


1 Straight Up by Ruby Tui (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Tūtira mai ngā iwi,
tātou tātou e
Tūtira mai ngā iwi,
tātou tātou e
Whai-a te marama-tanga,
me te aroha – e ngā iwi!
Ki-a ko tapa tahi,
Ki-a ko-tahi rā
Tātou tātou e
Tā-tou tā-tou e E!
Hi aue hei!

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 The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $38.99)

6 Becoming Pākehā by John Bluck (HarperCollins, $39.99)

“Accounts of warmongering by Māori (talk about the pot calling the kettle black) are endlessly recycled – the Musket Wars are popular in this line of argument – but nothing is mentioned about their peacemaking, which happened even more frequently. Accusations flow about bloodthirsty Māori back in a time when Europeans were still hanging, drawing and quartering offenders. We hear a lot about the warrior excesses of Te Rauparaha but much less about the peacemaking missions of his son Tamihana, who sought to heal the damage caused by his father’s campaigns in Canterbury…But are all Pākehā criticisms of Māori explained by a deepseated and deliberate racism?”: an excerpt from one of the most thoughtful books of the year.

7 A History of New Zealand in 100 Objects by Jock Phillips (Penguin Random House, $55)

An unfailingly interesting compendium of things.

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

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

A free copy of this really beautiful coffee table book is up for grabs in the weekly ReadingRoom giveaway. The book covers 56 gardens from one end of New Zealand to another. Barraclough told RNZ, “Gardeners are generally lovely people. There’s something about a person who dedicates their life and some of these people have, put decades and decades into gardens, that they sort of have a long view of things and they’re patient and kind and they share their gardens with people.” Quite right; to enter the draw to win a copy of this illustrated loveliness, email with the subject line I WANT A COPY OF THIS ILLUSTRATED LOVELINESS PLEASE in screaming caps, and attach a photograph of something really nice growing in your garden or on the porch or a windowsill. Entries close at Sunday midnight, December 11.

10 Ripe Recipes: Thought for Food by Angela Redfern & Sophie Merkens & Amy Melchior (Beatnik Publishing, $59.99)

A free copy of this awesome new cookbook – created by the owners of Ripe Deli in Grey Lynn, with a focus on salads and sweets including the store’s classic smoked eggplant hummus salad and vegan chocolate chip cookies – was up for grabs in this week’s ReadingRoom giveaway. Readers were asked compose a short poem (no rhyming; none, zero) about food. All the entries were truly dreadful – until, thankfully, an email arrived from Riemke Ensing. She wins a copy of Rice Recipes for her poem entitled “Recipe for rhubarb from Katherine Mansfield”.

Two sticks of rhubarb depending

on the money and who’s coming

to dinner. One local paper (out of date

will do). One gas stove.

Snip up the rhubarb and put in a saucepan.

Add a little water and bring to the boil

reading the news or items of interest.

Virginia’s written a review.

Turn down the gas to a pinch

and continue to savour the full flavour

of burning. Take off the rhubarb and cool

also yourself

with great goblets of clear water

flecked with goldfish.


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

All next week at ReadingRoom is devoted to the best books of the year as selected by a panel of expert, lol. The 10 best collections of poetry. The 10 best books of non-fiction. The 10 best illustrated books. And the 10 best works of fiction. Three titles from this week’s bestseller chart are included in that elite number; there are also three collections of short stories.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 Pounamu Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera (Penguin Random House, $30)

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

10 Poor People with Money by Dominic Hoey (Penguin Random House, $37)

Cover design of Hoey’s really good crime novel by Cat Taylor, who is surely the only book designer in New Zealand to have previously worked as – this is kind of ironic, given this particular book – a business analyst with Goldman Sachs.

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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