Reading room

Top-selling New Zealand books this week, as recorded by Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias


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

Incredible news item from Italy this week: Richard Gere will testify against far-right leader Matteo Salvini, on trial for having blocked the arrival of a migrant rescue ship. Salvini banned the NGO Open Arms ship from docking on an island in Sicily as part of his strict immigration policy. The migrants were trapped on board for 19 days in poor sanitary conditions; some have thrown themselves overboard in desperation. Gere boarded the ship in solidarity with the 147 stranded migrants. Good guy, great actor (American Gigolo, Internal Affairs).

2 She is a killer by Kirsten McDougall (Victoria University Press, $ 30)

She is a killer is such a captivating page turner that 200 pages flocked to me before I even knew it. And the action hadn’t even started yet. It’s no small feat to keep a reader’s attention on 399 pages, but McDougall does just that by cleverly removing the tension and skillfully unfolding the narrative at a sneaky pace, all while keeping us on our toes. I never really knew where she was going to take us and it’s a thrilling thrill of a ride from start to finish “: from a rave review by Kiran Dass, published Thursday.

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

Well-known novel by well-known author Becky one thing or the other.

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

Ngaio Marsh’s crime writing awards to be announced this weekend, and Pomaré’s previous novel Tell me lies (at number 10 on this week’s list) was shortlisted for Best Mystery Novel, alongside The Murder Club by Nikki Crutchley, Strands by Brannavan Gnanalingam, The counting stick by Carl Nixon and Secrets of strangers by Charity Norman. Good luck to all writers, especially JP: this guy writes a better detective novel by far than any living New Zealand novelist.

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

Loop tracks sprouted just afternoon on a Friday, late 2016, at a fancy Japanese restaurant in Auckland. We were old friends having a rare catch-up… We talked about the shame and the rage and deception of our own teenage years, how girls in school sometimes disappeared, without explanation, for six months… Someone has mentioned 1978, when politicians shut down abortion clinics in New Zealand and the girls had to fly to Australia for legal and safe dismissals. Then a friend of mine said this. “I had to fly to Sydney. The plane was delayed on the tarmac. For hours.’ This is how a novel begins: a tingling in the spine, like a desperate electric short-circuit to the earth ”: from an essay on the author’s origins, published Wednesday.

6 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Victoria University Press, $ 35)

7 Double helix by Eileen Merriman (Penguin Random House, $ 36)


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

9 The author’s cut by Owen Marshall (Penguin Random House, $ 36)

ten Tell me lies by JP Pomaré (Hachette, $ 29.99)


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

The author, with the help of his daughters, recently published a “hilarious” Covid-parody of “The Sound of Music” on Instagram.

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

3 Sonny bill williams by Sonny Bill Williams and Alan Duff (Hachette, $ 49.99)

“Someone will write an authorized biography on SBW,” wrote a visionary in the Herald, “and it’s going to be a grotesque piece of buffoonery.”

4 Plate by Sarah Tuck (McKenzie Publishing, $ 45)

5 Dan Carter 1598 by Dan Carter (Upstart Press, $ 69.99)

“Good old Dan wrote a book. Well he helped write a book and his editor is delighted to announce that he is imminent. Richie McCaw, another cutie, wrote an introduction. Which reminds me. In my DomPost days I had a lot to do with TV commercials, oh how we loved to chat, and one of them remembered going to a hotel to interview Richie. His bedroom door was open and he shouted a cordial greeting followed by a Do come in, and there he was, bathroom door open, just at the last jerk point, then it’s a chase of water, and he comes straight out, brutally offering his hand. Ahh, I love this story “: from a” review “by Linda Burgess, in good old reading room.

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

7 After Tampa by Abbas Nazari (Allen & Unwin, $ 36.99)

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

9 Tikanga by Keri Opai (Upstart Press, $ 39.99)

Editor’s blurb: “The book we have all needed for decades – a unique explanation of the Maori world for Pākehā and for Maori wanting to learn more about tikanga. With simple lucidity and great expertise, Keri Opai shares the spirit and meaning of what it is to be a Maori in the 21st century, dispelling myths and misconceptions and providing a solid introduction to the Maori way of life. “

ten How to take a breath by Tania Clifton-Smith (Penguin Random House, $ 30)

Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson