Time Out Books: NZ Bestsellers

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For the month of June 2022

 

 

FICTION

 

1. 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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2. Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia)

Another strong month 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 dominated media including TV, radio and the front cover of Canvas magazine in the weekend Herald. This interview with Steve Braunias appears on .Reading Room.

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3. 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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4. Winter Time by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin/PRH)

After the unexpected death of his brother, a man returns from Sydney to the snowy, atmospheric MacKenzie Countryalso the setting for Fearnley’s award-winning The Hut Builder (2012). Always an outsider there, he confronts a changed (and pricier) home town, neighbourly nastiness (both in person and via social media) and a number of mysteries about the town and his own family. Read an extract from the novel here.

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5. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins)

A definite reader favourite, this novel is 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.

 

 

 

NON FICTION

 

 

1. 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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2. 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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3. The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin)

Ruth Shaw runs two bookshops in Manapouri in New Zealand’s far south. This winsome memoir includes book talk and stories about the people who frequent her shops, as well as adventures that include sailing and goldmining, pirates and drug addicts, and going AWOL from the military. Read an in-depth interview with Ruth at the Stuff website.

 

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4. A Gentle Radical: The Life of Jeanette Fitzsimmons by Gareth Hughes (Allen and Unwin)

A comprehensive biography of the late politician and activist, leader of the Green Party from 1995–2009, written by another former Green MP. Read a review by Holly Walker, yet another former Green MP, at Stuff.

 

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5.  So Far, For Now by Fiona Kidman (Vintage/PRH)

Kidman’s book of personal essays is a model of thoughtful, wide-ranging life writing, exploring personal loss and past homes, her Pike River advocacy, research for her books on Jean Batten and Albert Black, and both the solitary and public lives of a writer. Rachel O’Connor writes: ‘the collection pays tribute to a truly great marriage, the celebration and loss of which ripples across every page, but also reveals, both within and beyond that relationship, a woman of many parts.’ See her complete ANZL review here.

'I want you to think about what you would like to see at the heart of your national literature ' - Tina Makereti

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