Time Out Books: NZ Bestsellers

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For the week ending 5 June 2022

 

 

FICTION

 

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

Reilly’s warm, comic family drama won a Crystal Arts Trust best first book at the Ockham NZ Book Awards. ‘I wanted Greta & Valdin to be the title the whole time, but I pretended I didn’t for two years. I thought it would seem overly confident in the characters to just call it by their names, and I thought that people would call me a third-rate 21st-century Salinger knock-off.’ Read more of the fiction finalists’ round table here.

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2. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins)

Another strong week for a novel shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the U.K. This novel is no longer under the radar: it’s shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the U.K. The ‘blisteringly funny’ story of tall, blonde, and brilliant Martha’, it’s set from the mid 90s to 2017, ‘as she navigates life with an undiagnosed mental illness, Josie Shapiro writes on Read Close.

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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.

 

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4. Landfall 243 edited by Lynley Edmeades (Otago University Press)

There’s poetry here, creative nonfiction and visual art as well as fiction in the latest Landfall, New Zealand’s oldest literary journal. This issue features includes work by Vincent O’Sullivan, David Eggleton, Emma Neale, Janis Freegard, Tim Upperton, Erik Kennedy and Rebecca Hawkes, and celebrates Auckland writer Ruby Macomber, winner of the Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition. Read an extract from her essay at Kete.

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5. Slow Down, You’re Here by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson)

A much-anticipated new novel from Gnanalingam, this one set in Ōnehunga and on Waiheke Island, exploring a marriage in trouble. A ‘thriller that is unerring in its gaze and breathtakingly assured in its ability to show just how precarious our world really is,’ Clare Mabey writes in the Spinoff.

 

 

NON FICTION

 

1. Aroha by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin)

This compendium of one-a-week whakatauki (proverbs) was one of the bestselling NZ titles of 2021. Psychiatrist Elder (Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) discusses happiness, leadership and community. Elder talks about scientific and cultural knowledge in this interview.

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2. Voices from the New Zealand Wars by Vincent O’Malley (BWB)

The deserved General Nonfiction winner at this year’s Ockham NZ Book Awards is based around a series of first-hand accounts from Māori and Pākehā who either fought in or witnessed the wars here between 1845 and 1872. Read O’Malley’s Q & A on writing the book.

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3. I Am Autistic by Chanelle Moriah (Allen & Unwin)

Another return to the chart for this interactive guide to understanding autism, written for autistic people and their families, friends and workmates. Listen to Chanelle discuss the book’s kaupapa and success on Nine to Noon.

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4. How to be a Bad Muslim by Mohamed Hassan (Penguin)

A poetry finalist at last year’s Ockham NZ Book Awards, Hassan is now the author of a collection of rich, astute essays on identity, Islamophobia, surveillance, migration and language. Read an extract from the book here.

 

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5. Robin White: Something is Happening Here Sarah Farrar, Jill Trevelyan and Nina Tonga (Te Papa Press)

This is the first book to be devoted to Robin White’s art in 40 years, and includes 150 of her artworks, as well as ‘fresh perspectives by 24 writers and interviewees from Australia, the Pacific and Aotearoa New Zealand.’ Read an in-depth review by John Peoples at NZ Art Review.

 

'...we were there as faith-based writers, as believers in the mana of Oceania...' - David Eggleton

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