Reading room

The best-selling New Zealand books this year, as recorded by Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias


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

Published in 2019, the best-selling New Zealand novel of 2020, and 2021, Atis a modern New Zealand classic, an event, something special. Her amazing essay published in ReadingRoom in November 2019 was crucial in generating public interest in his book. It started: “My sister married a Mongrel Mob member over 10 years ago. Rumor has it that she was wearing a red and black dress. I didn’t go because I wasn’t invited. . It’s not that my sister and I don’t. We love each other, it’s just that we’ve been living in separate worlds for a long time. She hurt it for a patched boy. I hurt her for a rugby boy. I spent many years watching my man play and cheering him on in his kit, then there were often scull races and someone sometimes spoiled the party by suggesting the girls to go out their breasts for boys. I don’t know what my sister’s man could do to make her encourage him, but I know that the day he called me to tell me he liked to read my novel Auē, he had just repaired his fence. He was happy with himself and he wanted to drink a cold beer. I heard things about this man that were hard to understand but I was like, my brother, I hope to have one with you someday … I thought about my sister and her life when I wrote the chapters of Auē about an anonymous but identifiable gang. “

2 In Italy, with love by Nicky Pellegrino (Hachette, $ 34.99)

The author took to Twitter the other day to post a photo of herself with her upcoming book and wrote, “And just like that I received my first shiny copy of my new 40s book / menopause. I wrote Don’t sweat it for all hot, moody, sleepless, brain foggy women. Coming in January. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he, too, took the bestseller charts by storm; his novel In Italy, With Love, has been number one for the past three months. She writes what a lot of people want to read.

3 Insect week by Airini Beautrais (Victoria University Press, $ 30)

Few people expected a collection of short stories to win the 2021 Ockham Prize for Fiction – I thought it would surely go to Pip Adam’s Nothing to see here, a work of genius – but there was no doubt about the skill and power of Insect week. In an interview with the author at ReadingRoom this year, I asked Beautrais, “Where is Insect week belong to #metoo? Can it be read, in part, as a #metoo text – aware of sexual politics, the damage of patriarchy etc. “

She replied, “That’s an interesting question. Yes and no. Much of it was written during the unfolding of #metoo. At the time, I was also facing personal trauma. As a ‘millennial aged.’ , I came of age in one of the hollows of feminism. It was very common for girls to say “Oh, I’m not a feminist”. I think we were conditioned to make excuses for all kinds of shitty behavior. I remember learning about STIs but not about intimate partner violence. I hadn’t really thought about emotional abuse until a counselor told me that was what I was describing to him. #Metoo felt like an indicator that things were turning and that it was no longer mandatory to keep quiet all the time or make excuses for the harassment or abuse. ”

4 The cousins by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House, $ 26)

First released in 1992 and made into a film this year, reigniting public interest in writer Wellington’s novel which tells the tales of three cousins ​​over generations. “They have the essence of the book, the essence of the characters,” said the author Noelle McCarthy during an interview with ReadingRoom this year. “And I think they did a great job.”

5 Tell me lies by JP Pomare (Hachette, $ 29.99)

I interviewed the author for ReadingRoom on the occasion of his father’s horse competition in the Melbourne Cup. It was not a happy occasion.

6 The last guests by JP Pomare (Hachette, $ 34.99)

From a ReadingRoom review by Craig ranapia from Pomare’s latest thriller: “Cain and Lina Phillips tell most of the novel. He is a former SAS soldier whose failed endeavor does not help in a difficult return to civilian life which includes growing questions. more focused on her role in the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan. She is a paramedic whose career is on the verge of exploding after a call goes tragically wrong. Both have secrets that come to light when they are not. not as good at cleaning up their internet history as they think…. The last guests marks a welcome step forward in the depth and complexity of the characters. Cain and Lina are intelligent, endearing though woefully flawed, people whose broken marriage is not a conspiracy or a collection of psychopathological junk. In any long relationship, sometimes you find yourself in a world of pain. “

seven Calm in his bones by Nalini Singh (Hachette, $ 34.99)

Based on a rave review at New York Books Journal: “Rai’s mother has been missing since Ari was a teenager. In the meantime, he became a wealthy and world-famous author after writing a thriller. He moved into a stylish apartment in Auckland. A car accident that hurts his head and breaks his foot sends him back to his father’s house. He is still recovering when Agent Neri comes to the door. Nina Rai’s body was found in her Jaguar, no far from their cul-de-sac. Nina was not in the driver’s seat. Presumably her own murderer kicked her off the road… Singh’s brilliant book hooks us from the start and doesn’t let go. “

8 Sympathy at a distance by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press, $ 35)

Finalist for the Ockham Fiction Prize this year, Sympathy at a distance takes place in the Buchenwald extermination camp during WWII. From a ReadingRoom review by Stephanie Johnson:Sympathy at a distance is an admirable and almost majestic book. The themes are grandiose, the characters bloody and authentic, the humor sly and the intelligent humanity unmistakable. “

9 Inside the dark horse by Ray Berard (David Bateman, $ 34.99)

In a wonderful piece of memory write published in ReadingRoom in April, the Quebec-born author wrote that shortly after arriving in New Zealand, “the TAB appointed me zone manager in South Auckland, overseeing 50 gambling establishments. At this time, writing reappeared. Stories about the people I have worked with. with the events I witnessed and comparisons to the places I left behind. Writing has become a daily habit. I have done character studies on people who lose money at gambling, desperate people, victims, witnesses and my colleagues, especially Polynesian women. Something in their life touched me and I started to reflect on my own childhood. My book Inside the dark horse is a compressed account of years of events I recorded in my diary, compressed into five days after a desperate act of a young man with no options. .

ten Loop tracks by Sue Orr (Victoria University Press, $ 35)

Based on a rave review by Paddy richardson of one of the best novels of the year, and a strong contender for the 2022 Ockham Prize for Fiction: “Charlie is 16 and pregnant. It is 1978 and New Zealand is timidly moving towards the recognition that abortion can be a woman’s right to choose. Auckland Medical Aids Center, New Zealand’s only clinic offering abortion, opened in 1974, but following the Contraception, Sterilization and Abortion Act of 1977. But the Sisters Overseas Service is helping girls to travel to Australia to have an abortion. parents use their savings and borrow a large sum of money to pay for a flight home to Sydney and an abortion at a Sydney clinic. But the plane was delayed for several hours. Charlie waits with other girls also booked in the same clinic. She gets off the plane. Orr’s portrayal of the motivation behind Charlie’s impulsive choice is both heartbreaking and utterly compelling. “


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

According to a review by Dr Lorna Dyall QSM, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Paoa, for the Mental Health Foundation: “Dr Hinemoa Elder is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. This book is written with aroha and encompasses the many facets of her life and experiences as a Maori woman, mother, teacher, researcher and most importantly a member of the following tribes: Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī, Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi, which are centered in the northern part of the North Island, or the tail of the fish caught by Maui.

“I have found the 52 whakataukī or proverbs included in this cheerful little book to read, as they encourage you to reflect on the wisdom of the elders, their observations of life, their spiritual connection to nature, the importance of our role. as human beings as a kaitiaki being – being both leaders and protectors of the care of future generations and of all species on Earth, the planet we all live on. “

2 Lost and found by Toni Street (Allen & Unwin, $ 36.99)

From an author profile at Woman’s day: “Lost and found shed light on the star fights autoimmune disease EGPA and she surrogacy trip with best friend Sophie Braggins, who gave birth to Lachie, son of Toni and Matt in 2018. She says, “It’s amazing to know that it makes a difference to others. I get messages every day from people who are going through similar things, who say that my book has helped them feel less isolated and alone. “

3 Super good by Chelsea Winter (Penguin Random House, $ 50)

Hot and cold food.

4 salad by Margo Flanagan & Rosa Flanagan (Allen & Unwin, $ 45)

Cold food.

5 Steve Hansen: The Legacy by Gregor Paul (HarperCollins, $ 49.99)

“Hansen is presented as” a deeply considerate, empathetic and compassionate human being, “which he was quite capable of being. He could also be a tyrant – a fact noted by the author but widely rejected, and more of once, as one of those things “: from less than a rave review at ReadingRoom by good old Scotty Stevenson.

6 Maori made easy by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $ 38)

Te reo made popular.

seven Bella by Annabel Langbein (Allen & Unwin, $ 49.99)


8 Vegetal by Nadia Lim (Nude Food, $ 55)


9 A life in the countryside by Philippa Cameron (Allen & Unwin, $ 45)

Food with a view.

ten The Abundant Garden by Niva Kay and Yotam Kay (Allen & Unwin, $ 45)