1 On the Record by Steven Joyce (Allen & Unwin, $37.99)

A copy of Joyce’s new memoir was last week’s free book giveaway. Readers were asked to write something interesting about the former National minister. There were a few entries but none of them were interesting; and so I will offer it again, this week, with a simpler question: what government do you think will be formed after the election? Email it to with the subject line in screaming caps I WANT THE STEVEN JOYCE BOOK. Entries close Sunday, September 3, at midnight.

From my review: “The pages of On the Record have a sheen to them. The nine years of Key’s government were a golden nine years for the National cult, a time of progress, achievement, and, you know, roads. Joyce holds the receiver of On the Record close and breathes: ‘The Waikato Expressway…The Waterview Tunnel.’ They form the book’s sexiest pages, give it an erotic charge. The timing of Joyce’s book falls into beautiful step with the current election campaign, and National’s good showing in the polls. Here is one of its unsullied legends with a potent reminder of the last time National held power and the things it achieved.”

2 The Art of Winning by Dan Carter (Penguin Random House, $40)

3 Our Land in Colour by Jock Phillips & Brendan Graham (HarperCollins, $55)

I think this is the very likely the best – certainly the most popular – illustrated coffee table book of the year. Old black-and-white images from the colonial past, plus the early 20th Century, have been colourised by an expert; and they look fantastic.

4 From the Pilot’s Seat by Fletcher McKenzie (Penguin Random House, $40)

One of the year’s most popular reads: interviews with pilots, who tell stories of flying and, you know, landing. A free copy will be available in next week’s book giveaway, assuming I manage to get rid of that goddamned Joyce book this week.

5 Fungi of Aotearoa by Liv Sisson (Penguin Random House, $45)

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

7 Whakawhetai: Gratitude by Hira Nathan (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

8 Eat Up New Zealand: The Bach Edition by Al Brown (Allen & Unwin, $49.99)

Few Kiwis are as Kiwi as Al Brown, who offers over 150 Kiwi recipes in his latest food plan for a Kiwi summer.

9 Head On by Carl Hayman & Dylan Cleaver (HarperCollins, $39.99)

10 One of Them by Shaneel Lal (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)


1 The Bone Tree by Airana Ngarewa (Hachette, $37.99)

Number one for the fourth consecutive week!

2 Pet by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $38)

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

4 Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $38)

5 Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts by Josie Shapiro (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

The author was judged in the top 20 entrants for this year’s Surrey Hotel writers residency award, won on Tuesday by Emma Ling Sidnam.

6 Signs of Life by Amy Head (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $30)

Short story collection which also operates as a novel. From Sally Blundell’s review: “Head’s Christchurch is recognisably Christchurch. The brick print shop in Colombo St where Flick works briefly, the cushion shop, the streets of working class Addington named after British poets and philosophers, the portacoms and cranes, the casino, marooned in a sea of evacuated spaces like a ‘poker-themed spaceship’ – accurate snapshots of a city tipping between historical stability and flux … Her fractured map of her home town mirrors the unnerving disorientation caused by the earthquake.”

A sort of love story from the book, “Someone to Heart-Emoji”, appeared recently in ReadingRoom.

7 The Waters by Carl Nixon (Penguin Random House, $37)

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

9 The Witching Tide by Margaret Meyer (Hachette, $37.99)

10 The Deck by Fiona Farrell (Penguin Random House, $37)

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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