Time Out Books: NZ Bestsellers



For the week ending 22 May 2022





1. Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia)

Another week at the top for the winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize at the Ockham NZ Book Awards. A subversive, imaginative re-framing of the myth of the monster bird woman, Kurangaituku is also an audacious structural feat that can be read from the front or the back cover. Hereaka has ruled all media this week, including TV, radio and the front cover of Canvas magazine in the weekend Herald. This interview with Steve Braunias appears on Reading Room.


2. Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K. Reilly (VUP)

The winner of the Hubert Church Best First Book of Fiction at the Ockhams continues its strong run in the charts. Charlotte Grimshaw describes Reilly’s exuberant debut as part of ‘the great, joyous tradition of dramatic comedies.’ Read her full review here.



3. How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin/PRH)

The first novel by multimedia talent AKA Jessica Hansell is the story of three friends surviving a long, hot Auckland summer. This is not so much a novel, Angelique Kasmara writes in Kete, but ‘more novella in volume and a connector between the genre-dissolving anarchy of zine culture and more traditional literary work.’ Read her full review here.


4. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins)

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the U.K., this is an exploration of inheritance, desire and forgiveness, it’s the ‘blisteringly funny’ story of tall, blonde, and brilliant Martha’ set from the mid 90s to 2017, ‘as she navigates life with an undiagnosed mental illness, Josie Shapiro writes on Read Close.



5. In Amber’s Wake by Christine Leunens (Bateman)

A return to the chart for the latest novel from the author of Caging Skies—adapted into Taika Waititi’s film Jojo Rabbit. It’s set in 1980s’ Auckland, Cambridge and Antarctica, taking in the Springbok Tour, protests against nuclear testing in the Pacific, and the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. Read Stephanie Johnson’s review here.






1. The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Vintage)

Noelle McCarthy’s memoir Grand is currently reprinting, so a different memoir takes its place at the topthe memoir sensation of 2021, in fact. Grimshaw’s frank and challenging memoir is a ‘fascinating portrait of not only a family, but the writing process. How we magpie material (go and make a story out of it) and what we build from itand at whose expense?’ Read Rachael King’s full review here.


2. Fragments from a Contested Past: Remembrance, Denial and NZ History by Joanna Kidman, Vincent O’Malley, Liana MacDonald, Tom Roa and Keziah Wallis (BWB)

Five researchers, some from iwi invaded or attacked during the nineteenth-century New Zealand Wars, travel to sites of conflict and contestation to explore issues of loss and memory. Read an extract from the book at e-tangata.


3. NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women by Qiane (Qiane + Co)

An Illustrated Nonfiction finalist at the Ockham NZ Book Awards, this beautiful book combines photography and first-person testimony to showcase indigenous women making a difference in politics, healthcare, business, education, sport and the arts. Read an interview about the multi-year project with Qiane at te ao Māori News.


4. Tumble by Joanna Preston (Otago University Press)

The winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Poetry Award at the Ockham NZ Book Awards weaves myth, history and story. ‘The collection’s poems navigate the death of Aeschylus, a journey to the underworld and Viking raids, as well as the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes and the public persona of Margaret Thatcher,’ writes Sophie van Waardenberg. Read her full review here.



5. Super Model Minority by Chris Tse (Auckland University Press)

The buoyant third collection of poetry by Chris Tse makes a welcome return to the chart. ‘Its poems take inspiration and language from Chinese-American poet Chen Chen, Aotearoa artist and poet Sam Duckor-Jones, Carly Rae Jepsen, George Michael, the Cards Against Humanity game and a bounty of other artists and musicians. Amongst the poems’ cultural references are mall cops, Korean soap operas and Girls Aloud.’ Read Sophie van Waardenberg’s full review.


‘Inspiration is the name for a privileged kind of listening’ - David Howard

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