This week’s bestselling books

Read Room

The best-selling New Zealand books of the week, as captured by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand Bestseller List and described by Steve Braunias


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

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

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

4 become European by John Bluck (HarperCollins, $39.99)

“This is a book I’ve been trying not to write for a long time,” says the author. “It should be easy, but it’s not. I started under the guise of a pseudonym, because some of my friends who will read it won’t stay friends. Then I decided not to worry about it. And besides, I have to be a personal story, as it is for many other troubled Pākehā who enjoy the privilege of living here and have spent a lifetime trying to belong in this country.”

The publisher’s blurbology expands on the author’s comments: “After more than 200 years of coexistence under the umbrella of a unique treaty, you might think things would be better than ever. In this perceptive and penetrating book, John Bluck argues that Pākehā and Māori worlds are increasingly drifting apart: today’s Aotearoa is a landscape of two predominant cultures, overlaid with so many others, fractured and more likely to erupt than Ruapehu But has it always been this way?

become European follows the life of the author, growing up as a Pākehā in a Māori village in the 1950s, illustrating what New Zealand used to be like, the history and shared experience that shaped it. The book also discusses the discomfort of being Pākehā today, and how Pākehā could live with their past and get used to bearing the name, until they find a better one.

“Looking at everything from failed models of bicultural harmony to what is likely to bring treaty partners together — or push them further apart — become European is a timely book for anyone wanting to understand Māori-Pākehā relations in Aotearoa, New Zealand today.

5 Love by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

6 New Zealand gardens to visit by Juliet Nicholas & Rosemary Barraclough (Penguin Random House, $55)

The best garden in Auckland to visit this weekend is at Albany Village Hall, which is hosting the 2022 Cactus and Succulent Society show. Entrance fee is $5; there are public sales; and more than 40 exhibitors will compete for the best cactus and best succulent. See you there!

7 Learn to be French (and fail) by Anna Bibby (Allen & Unwin, $45)

8 Kai by Christall Lowe (David Bateman, $59.99)

Julie Irving from Devonport was the lucky winner of a free copy of last week Kai in the weekly ReadingRoom book giveaway. Readers were asked to name the best meal they’ve ever eaten in their lives. Julie’s reply was of something I wouldn’t eat in a million years. She shared a recipe for lamb tails. “First pick some clean woolly tails…not too thin…put them over a stick and place them in the hot embers. Go out and help catch lambs. Return to turn your tail in the fire When you are done the tail will be well scorched and black all over and very hot… so be careful with the help of some sticks hold the thicker end and slide the blackened wool to the tip of the tail it will slide off easy. Enjoy!”

9 Mature Recipes by Angela Redfern & Sophie Merkens & Amy Melchior (Beatnik Publishing, $59.99)

Cookbook from the owner of Ripe Deli in Gray Lynn; it is very much Gray Lynn indeed; requested by the Herald in 2013 to name five foods that are beneficial to our health, she replied: “Coconut oil is fantastic for its antibacterial properties. What’s even better is that it’s good for the skin and hair. Eating just two Brazil nuts a day is a great way to get selenium in your diet. Kale has an abundant amount of magnesium and iron…Little simple things like adding apple cider vinegar to a little water is a great way to boost digestion.”

10 Family by Naomi Toilalo (HarperCollins, $55)

Pauline Douglas from Dunedin won a free copy of the Family cookbook two weeks ago in the weekly ReadingRoom book giveaway. Readers were asked to comment on something that appeared in Leeskamer that week. Pauline chose “Previous Selves”, a short story by Emma Hislop, about a couple in New Plymouth. She addressed the woman in the story, whose partner Drew had a creepy secret: “Don’t throw your pearls before the swine (Drew) or they’ll trample them under their feet and twist and tear you to pieces. Dear lady, your fragile qualities have been captured and manipulated by Drew; cut and run before you too are ripped to pieces.


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

Number one for 11 weeks, and definitely the best-selling novel of 2022; all credit to the author, the publisher and also to the team that created the eye-catching, artful cover. It was designed by TORO Studios and lead illustrator Raukura Riwaka, from a conceptual design by Te Tuhi Soutar and photographed by Siobhan Houkamau.

2 Carnival of the Axeman by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

3 accommodate by Jenny Pattrick (Penguin Random House, $36)

4 The doctor’s wife by Fiona Sussman (David Bateman, $37.99)

5 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K. Reilly (Teherenga Waka University Press, $35)

6 The pain tourist by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press, $37.99)

7 Eddie, Eddie by Kate De Goldi (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

8 Website by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers, $35)

9 The wrong woman by JP Pomare (Hachette, $36.99)

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

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