1 Untouchable Girls by Jools & Lynda Topp (Allen & Unwin, $49.99)

2 Smithy by Wayne Smith & Phil Gifford (Upstart Press, $49.99)

3 Gangster’s Paradise by Jared Savage (HarperCollins, $39.99)

A free copy of the author’s latest bestselling chronicle of organised crime and the methamphetamine trade in New Zealand was up for grabs in last week’s free book giveaway. Because I was about to chair Jared at an event in the weekend at the Tauranga Arts Festival, I asked readers to send in a question about organised crime, or methamphetamine, or gangs, or policing, or any of those associated subjects, that they thought I should put to Jared at our session.

There were a lot of entries, a lot of good questions. I ended putting three to Jared at our event on Sunday. Sheryl wanted to know whether he had ever been “genuinely terrified for his life” when reporting on organised crime (answer: no). David wanted to know whether the handling of the 501 deportees could have been done better (answer: yes). Jeremy wrote, “I think it might be a myth but it’s often said that the father of John F Kennedy built his huge wealth from bootlegging. Has Jared come across any figures in the New Zealand underworld who he could imagine making the jump from pushers of drugs to legitimate business people?”

Great question! Answer: yes, said Jared, and in fact some underworld figures have already made the jump, into legitimate businesses such as …financial advisers. Good grief.

Huzzah to Jeremy for the query; a free copy of Gangster’s Paradise is his.

4 Bookshop Dogs by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $38.99)

Totally charming collection of stories about dogs by the Manapōuri bookstore owner and much-loved author of The Bookseller at the End of the World. Her new book Bookshop Dogs is sure to sell its socks off in the next many weeks; to get a taste, read one of her stories that was extracted in ReadingRoom on Wednesday. Thrillingly, happily, a free copy of Bookshop Dogs is up for grabs in this week’s book giveaway. To enter, share some kind of story about a dog – it might be charming, it might be terrifying, it surely ought to be at least interesting – and email it to with the subject line in screaming caps I LOVE RUTH SHAW AND I LOVE DOGS AND I WOULD LOVE THIS BOOK. Entries close at midnight on Sunday, November 5.

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

6 The Dressmaker and the Hidden Soldier by Doug Gold (Allen & Unwin, $37.99)

7 Meet You at the Main Divide by Justine & Geoff Ross (HarperCollins, $49.99)

Ugh. Meet you in Hell.

8 Summer Favourites by Vanya Insull (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

9 Our Land in Colour: A History of Aotearoa New Zealand 1860-1960 by Jock Phillips & Brendan Graham (HarperCollins, $55)

Spectacular digital colouring of 100 years of black and white photography; it’s surely the best illustrated coffee-table book of 2023, and would make an ideal Xmas present.

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


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

A return to the number one spot that it held for eight consecutive weeks.

2 The Penguin New Zealand Anthology edited by Harriet Allan (Penguin Random House, $45)

Nifty anthology of 50 short stories published these past 50 years.

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

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

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

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

7 Ocian’s Elven (Tarquin the Honest 2) by Gareth Ward (David Bateman, $34.99)

Two of the Hawkes Bay writer’s popular fantasy series are in the top 10 chart this week. Huzzah to the Great Wardini!

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

La Chidge’s latest novel recently got a good notice in the New Yorker: “In this suspenseful bildungsroman, Justine, a Catholic schoolgirl living in New Zealand in the 1980s, searches for a classroom thief, as the school’s suspicions shift from her to her best friend to a glamorous new teacher. Justine’s adolescence is colored by concerns both workaday and personal: a close female friendship, petty teen-age infighting, seizures that disrupt her recall, grief for her recently deceased mother. The novel occasionally jumps forward to 2014, when Justine, now an adult with a daughter of her own, tends to her dementia-stricken father. In these moments, Justine’s girlhood collapses into her present, and she appraises ‘shimmers in my memory’ and revisits the mysteries of her youth.”

9 The Hand of Glodd (Tarquin the Honest 1) by Gareth Ward (David Bateman, $34.99)

10 Te Awa o Kupu by Vaughan Rapatahana & Kiri Piahana-Wong (Penguin Random House, $37)

Nifty anthology of Māori fiction and poetry, including writers such as Tina Makereti, Anahera Gildea, Hana Pera Aoake, Nicole Titihuia Hawkins – and essa may ranapiri (Ngāti Raukawa, Highgate, Na Guinnich), who was awarded the inaugural Keri Hulme Award at the Pikihuia Awards for Māori writing on Saturday night. The award is worth $5000 and recognises a mid-career writer who represents the value of perseverance against the odds. essa is the author of two collections of poetry: ransack (Te Herenga Waka University Press, 2019) and Echidna (Te Herenga Waka University Press, 2022). Their work explores the takatāpui experience.

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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