Time Out Books: NZ Bestsellers

For the week ending 20 March 2022






1. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins)

This sharply observed novel, longlisted for the 2021 Ockham’s, has just been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the U.K. 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.


2. Bug Week by Airina Beautrais (Victoria University Press)

Another return to the charts for the 2021 winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the Ockham NZ Book Awards. On Reading Room Steve Braunias calls it ‘a sharp, funny, tender, shocking and precise collection of short stories which delve in and out of sexual politics in New Zealand.’


3. The Library of Unfinished Business by Patricia Bell (Cloud Ink)

A debut novel exploring the after-life in a comical and disturbing heaven for Maurice, a small-town librarian killed in a car crash, and on earth for Andy, the secret-seeking daughter he leaves behind. Lynn Freeman interviews Bell about the novel for Standing Room Only on RNZ.



4. The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Pan Macmillan)

The late Keri Hulme’s Booker-Prize winner from 1984 is a provocative landmark novel that’s never been out of print. Read Kelly Ana Morey’s farewell to Keri here and Sarah Shaffi’s examination of ‘How The Bone People changed the way we read now’ at the Booker site.



5. Entanglement by Bryan Walpert (Mākaro Press)

Walpert is a poet and literary scholar whose first novel is a finalist for the $60,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at this year’s Ockhams. A ‘beautiful, stylistically adventurous and deeply philosophical work, Angelique Kasmara writes in her ANZL review. ‘Walpert has a screenwriter’s eye for foreshadowing and payoff, with the three narrative strands braiding together to form a Möbius strip, seams eventually dissolving.’  Read her full review here.





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

The third collection of poetry by Chris Tse soars straight to number one. A review is coming soon on this site (by Alison Wong). Hear Chris read from his new collection at the NZ Poetry Shelf site.


2. Actions and Travels by Anna Jackson (Auckland University Press)

Another new poetry release, but this one a wide-ranging discussion of how poetry works, from Ancient Rome to contemporary New Zealand. ‘You needn’t love all of the 100 poems on offer, but you will certainly find plenty to discover, enjoy or now read differently,’ writes Bryan Walpert in Canvas. Read his full review this Wednesday here on the ANZL site.


3. Rangikura by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press)

A finalist for the Peter and Mary Biggs Poetry Awards at this year’s Ockhams, Tibble’s second collection is bold and clear-eyed. Here ‘the personal is political,’ writes Kiri Piahana-Wong for Kete. ‘The protagonist occupies a world of clubbing, dressing up, drinking, fantasing, smoking, crashing, burning: “Casting our ships full of wish into the sky.”’


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

A finalist in the Illustrated Nonfiction category in this year’s 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.


5. Imagining Decolonisation by Biance Elkington, Moana Jackson, Rebecca Kiddle, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton, Amanda Thomas (BWB)

This landmark collection of essays was first published in May 2020, and almost two years on it remains essential reading on history, tikanga, law, politics, our Pacific relationships and envisaging the future. Radio NZ discusses its success at the Booksellers’ Choice Award’ at the 2021 Aotearoa Book Industry Awards here.

'Novels stand outside time, with their narrative structure of beginning, middle and end. They outlast politics, which are by nature ephemeral, swift and changeable and can quickly become invisible, detectable only to the skilled eye. ' - Fiona Farrell

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