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Steve Braunias

This week's bestselling books

We begin a new bookcase series every Friday with portraits of bookstore owners around New Zealand, debuting with the fabulous Louise Ward from Wardini Books. She is pictured in front of the New Zealand display at her Napier store (there's also a Wardini bookshop at Havelock North) which she runs with her partner Gareth Ward, whose latest novel just happens to be at number 3 in this week's chart. Both their shops are awesome; there are only 71 days til Xmas; head along at once.

The week's biggest-selling New Zealand books, as recorded by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias


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

Number one for the fifth consecutive week; the likeliest threat to its dominant position is The Axeman's Carnival, the new novel by Catherine Chidgey. Every book she writes is fully and gloriously imagined – this one's narrated by a  magpie, for heaven's sake. Rachael King's review will appear in ReadingRoom next week.

2 Eddy, Eddy by Kate De Goldi (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

3 Tarquin the Honest by Gareth Ward (David Bateman, $34.99)

Ward is one half of Wardini Books, the awesome bookstore he runs with his missus, Louise, who just happens to be this week's bookcase star (above, discreet in quite colourful hair). Ward is also a magician - he goes by the name of The Great Wardini - and an author. Plot synopsis of Tarquin the Honest: "On a perilous quest to recover The Golden Gauntlet for a mysterious patron, Tarquin and his band of unlikely warriors must navigate the terrors of the Sorrow Wood, battle zombies, giants, zombie-giants and an entire evil order of necromancers."

4 Harbouring by Jenny Pattrick (Penguin Random House, $36)

5 The Doctor’s Wife by Fiona Sussman (David Bateman, $37.99)

6 Poor People With Money by Dominic Hoey (Penguin Random House, $37)

7 Pounamu Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera (Penguin Random House, $30)

New edition of the classic 1972 collection of short stories. My copy was formerly in the school library at Mt Albert Grammar School.

8 Kāwai by Monty Soutar (David Bateman, $49.99)

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

10 Mila and the Bone Man by Lauren Roche (Quentin Wilson Publishing, $37.50)

Review in Hawkes Bay Today, by the clearly ubiquitous Louise Ward from Wardini Books: "We meet Mila in an opening scene in which she is coaxing her meth-addicted mother, Esther, back to some kind of health. They are in Northland, at the Croatian side of the family's abandoned home, a scene full of crumbling, neglected metaphor blanketed in love and hope…. The author was a medical doctor for decades and her interest in respecting the place of rongoā Māori alongside Western medicine is shared by Mila…Mila and the Bone Man deals with trauma, guilt and loss, but at the bottom of that Pandora's box is indeed hope, home and healing."

Catherine Chidgey and Patrick Evans like it a lot.


1 Straight Up  by Ruby Tui (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

From an outstanding column by Mark Reason in Stuff after Tui helped turn around a 17-0 deficit to Australia on Saturday, when the Black Ferns came back to win 41-17 in a sensational World Cup opener at Eden Park: "Tui spent the second half on Saturday night catching dreams. She has an almost telepathic relationship with Demant. The pair of them connected twice in the breakout that provoked Australia’s double yellow card and then there was the try of the round.

"The Black Ferns won a lineout just inside Australia’s half, moved the ball up in midfield and then switched back to the blind. Chelsea Bremner passed out the back to Demant who was flattened as she gave a soft pass inside to Tui who was ‘gone girl’. She had 50 metres to the line but Australia didn’t lay a hand on her.

"The Eden Park crowd stood to Tui. And so they should. It was a try to cherish. And the remarkable 30-year-old had every right to bask in the sunshine of the moment. But great players don’t do that. Great players wade through the middle of an Australian ruck like a ninth forward and smash the opposition No 8 to the ground.

"That’s what Tui was up to in the dying embers of the match. Every moment is precious. I’m not a fan of the cult of sports people as role models. Most of them aren’t up to it. Why should they be? But Tui certainly set our daughters an example on Saturday night."

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

An excerpt from Elder's new book, Wawata: Daily wisdom guided by Hina, the Māori moon will appear in ReadingRoom next week.

3 Simple Fancy by Margo Flanagan & Rosa Flanagan (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Latest cookbook by the Christchurch sisters. Includes recipes for Smoky Tomato, Caramelised Onion + Eggplant Flatbread, something I’d never eat in a million years (it's got eggplant, also kale), Lime Miso Noodles + Broccoli, also something I'd never eat in a million years (it's got broccoli) – but in an interview with the Otago Daily Times, they urged readers to use their recipes as a guide, and swap a vegetable for a vegetable, a fruit for a fruit, a grain for a grain. Swapping a vegetable for a meat is also surely permissible. Smoky Tomato, Caramelised Onion + Pork Sausage Flatbread and Lime Miso Noodles + Bacon Hock sound good.

They look like they'd be easygoing about it.

4 Miss Polly’s Kitchen by Polly Markus (Allen & Unwin, $45)

One notes that seven of the top 10 books in this week's nonfiction chart have been published by Allen & Unwin. Once they add te reo, whakataukī, and cricket to their portfolio, it's all over for every other publisher.

5 Yes, Minister by Christopher Finlayson (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

6 Māori Made Easy by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $38)

7 Everyday Favourites by Vanya Insull (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

8 Ross Taylor: Black & White by Paul Thomas (Upstart Press, $49.99)

9 Salad by Margo Flanagan & Rosa Flanagan (Allen & Unwin, $45.)

10 The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

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