The best-selling books of the week

Reading room

This week’s best-selling New Zealand books, as recorded by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias


1 Eddy, Eddy by Kate DeGoldi (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

2 Poor people with money by Dominic Hoey (Penguin Random House, $37)

This is perhaps the most entertaining review of the year, of musician Tom Scott de Hoey’s novel about a woman who works in an Auckland bar and comes up with a dangerous scheme to make money: “Dominic doesn’t Couldn’t spell academia if he tried. He’s dyslexic. But he’s a shrewd storyteller. His superpower makes ugliness sexy. He writes for the marginalized. In our country of right-wing sheep farmers and raiding Working class rams, we need him to report live from the crime scene. He’s all we’ve got.

Great coverage.

3 the bad woman by JP Pomare (Hachette, $36.99)

4 Godfrey Cheathem’s Last Letter by Luke Elworthy (The Wairau Diversion, $35)

Suddenly there are wildly inventive new works of fiction on the bestseller charts – Dominic Hoey’s novel, Colleen Maria Lenihan’s collection of short stories (see below) and Elworthy’s novel passes off as a series of letters written from prison by ‘esteemed New Zealand writer Godfrey Cheathem’. No such person exists – it’s called fiction – but the author makes it all believable and very entertaining. The surprise hit of the year.

5 Kohine by Colleen Maria Lenihan (Huia Publishers, $25)

“Over 23 short stories that span the Tokyo Cosmopolis, Tāmaki Makaurau and the countryside of Aotearoa, the author presents a profound picture of grief. It is not grief that disfigures but grief fully abandoned and therefore understood by where joy comes – not an emotion but a consequence – and such amalgamation breeds the wry humor, possessed entirely by those who have experienced great pain and come out of it alive. The bestowal is therefore that rare trait possessed by even less: ferocious insight.

“… Kohine is a stunning taonga from a remarkably accomplished author who has given us a body of work that further places Te Ao Māori firmly at the forefront of literature in this country. He supports those who are on the margins, those who are in the shadows and who nevertheless emerge in the light; those scattered throughout the world who do not forget and will not forget who they are. This book seems to belong to them”: from an incredible review by Anna Rankin, finalist for best columnist of the year at the Voyager media Awards on Saturday evening, alongside Simon Wilson (the Herald) and ReadingRoom reviewers Philip Matthews and myself.

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

seven Accommodation by Jenny Pattrick (Penguin Random House, $36)

8 Return to Harikoa Bay by Owen Marshall (Penguin Random House, $37)

New news from the great master of form; I read the book this week, stunned and immersed in the little New Zealand worlds it manages to create. Quite a few are told by or about an older man, such as the superb “Koru Lounge”, in which a judge thinks back to his youth while vacationing in Crete. The story will soon appear in ReadingRoom. The whole collection is a class act.

9 Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Editors, $35)

ten How to hang out in a turf war by Coco Solid (Penguin Random House, $28)


1 Ross Taylor: black and white by Paul Thomas (Upstart Press, $49.99)

A review by James Borrowdale of Black Cap’s biography will soon appear in ReadingRoom.

2 Son of a good and lively man by The Crump Brothers (Penguin Random House, $38)

Ivan, Martin, Stephen, Harry, Erik and Lyall on Barry.

3 Everyday Favorites by Vanya Insull (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

4 Blue blood by Andrea Vance (HarperCollins, $36.99)

“So this is what Wellington’s political ring road looks like on the inside, and it’s pretty much exactly what you’ve always suspected: a chamber of horrors, one of the worst places in the civilized world, a sealed room marked NO ONE LEAVES HERE ALIVE. Blue Blood: The Inside Story of the National Party in Crisis by Andrea Vance is a descent into a circle of Hell where lost souls function to create, sustain and nurture a crisis. Here, then, is the marsh; and Vance is having fun emptying it”: according to my opinion on Reading room.

5 The bookstore at the end of the world by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $3.99)

6 Tools for the Top Padock by Kane Brisco (HarperCollins, $37.99)

It is a quality summary text, worthy of being reproduced in its entirety: “When Kane Brisco was at his lowest, he could barely look at his stock. He stood in the middle of a pen, the water flowing on his boots, trying to figure out how many days of rain he had endured without a break. Three weeks later, the ground had turned to concrete, split by huge cracks. Consumed by a myriad of problems, the weather the tipping overboard, Kane lost faith in his own abilities and didn’t know if he could survive financially. Every day felt like a disaster and, even at the end of the day when he was home with his family , his mind was always on the farm, worrying about his animals.

“Farmers have to make tough decisions on a daily basis while enduring a mountain of pressure on their own. Good physical health and strength can lead to better overall resilience, but often farmers are so concerned about doing what it takes to their animals they forget What Kane Brisco has realized is how important “farm fitness” is in coping with the daily challenges and unpredictability of life on the land.

“In Tools for the Top Paddock, Kane shares the experiences that made him almost quit farming, as well as the simple methods he developed to cope with the mental and physical stresses of life on the land. It offers advice for hard-working people, as well as how to develop the physical fitness needed to thrive in good times and bad.”

seven The Boy from Gorge River by Chris Long (HarperCollins, $39.99)

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

9 No excuses by Dave Letele (Penguin Random House, $40)

ten Yum! by Nadia Lim (Nude Food Inc, $55)

Colin L. Johnson