This week’s best-selling books | Writing

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The best-selling New Zealand books of the week, as recorded by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias

FICTION

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

Number one for the ninth consecutive week.

2 The Carniva of the Ax Manl by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

Novel told by a magpie, which reminds me of this gothic sighting told by Dick Porter of Havelock North in a 1993 issue of NotornisNew Zealand Birding Magazine: “At a farm near Bridge Pa, Hastings, I saw a lark being chased, killed and eaten by a black-backed magpie. The lark attempted to escape by diving steeply and landing in rough terrain about 10m away.The magpie charged at the lark, which then took off and crossed a nearby eucalyptus tree, with the magpie a few meters behind. headed for a car about 20m away and landed below. The magpie landed next to the car, and the lark then moved under the vehicle, and flew back towards the eucalyptus. magpie saw him go and resumed the chase. The lark flew into a flock of three other larks and two welcome swallows but still failed to shake the magpie. Seconds later the lark landed again on the ground near the car. This time the magpie landed, ran towards the bird, picked it up in its beak and knocked him once to the ground. The magpie then pulled some feathers from the Skylark and started to attack her. After about a minute, he moved the body about 5m, then ate more. The magpie fed for about five minutes before flying away. The magpie threw away most of the lark’s body, head, feet and wings, eating only part of the intestine and most of the muscle… The impression I got from this incident was that the magpie had selected this lark and nothing was going to stop catching it.”

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

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

5 Eddy, Eddy by Kate DeGoldi (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

6 Accommodation by Jenny Pattrick (Penguin Random House, $30)

seven Kawai by Monty Soutar (David Bateman, $49.99)

The hardback version.

8 Return to Harikoa Bay by Owen Marshall (Penguin Random House, $37)

9 Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Editors, $35)

ten Auē by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press, $35)

The great Manawatu will write at length on JC Sturm’s collection of classic short stories The Talking Cat House in ReadingRoom next week, when Talia Marshall takes over as guest editor. Talia also commissioned a stunning portrait of life in 1980s Auckland by novelist Kelly Ana Morey, and a moving portrait of lesbian writer Heather McPherson by lesbian writer Emer Lyons.

The cover of Auē was designed by Makaro editor Mary McCallum with imagery by Penny Howard.

NON FICTION

1 Wawata by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

2 Directly by Ruby Tui (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

The Black Ferns take on England in the sporting event of the year, the World Cup final, at a sold-out Eden Park on Saturday night; The shape of Tui inspired this fantastic column by Mark Reason, to Things: “Thank you, Ruby Tui. You have helped some of us fall in love with rugby again. You have reminded us of what a beautiful sport rugby is when it becomes a game of escape rather than collision. You recalled what it is to play with joy, vision, skill and bravery. You showed us that if you have the spirit, then you can pull your unicorn out of the deepest spiral of despair and reach that arc- in sky.

Tui’s memoir, told to Margie Thomson, is one of the best books of the year. In an excerpt at ReadingRoom, she described an event from her childhood: “I have a surprise for you, dad said one day. I was 11 years old. We were driving around in his van, and I just looked at him. And he dropped a bomb . “You have a sister. She is sixteen years old and she works at KFC. Do you want to go see her?” An older brother, just like I always wanted… We went to KFC and dad sat down and he made me wait in line to get served. And she was there behind the counter. I was so excited and nervous and shy and I didn’t know if she knew who I was, and I didn’t know what to say. I said hello, and she and dad had to talk because she seemed to know who I was, and she said hello too. I ordered what I ordered and she added a chocolate bar and a drink to the tray. No one had ever given me free stuff before I felt so cool.

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

Food.

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

Food.

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

6 Rooms by Jane Ussher (Massey University Press, $85)

seven Whānaukai by Naomi Toilalo (HarperCollins Publishers, $55)

Food.

8 summer dish by Sarah Tuck and Claire Aldous (SCG Media, $45)

Food.

9 salad by Margo Flanagan & Rosa Flanagan (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Food.

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

Book about a Kiwi finding a home in the south of France. From a story in Life and leisure in New Zealande magazine: “After first searching along the south coast, she took Chrystelle Baran’s (from Baran de Bordeaux Antiques in Auckland) suggestion to visit the Dordogne. Although she had never heard of the region, which she discovered later, is very popular with Anglo-Saxons. – Saxon holidaymakers, she loved. In the south-west of France, the region, with its rolling countryside, its hectares of walnut trees, its picturesque medieval villages and its 1,500 castles often perched precariously above the Dordogne River, was magnificent.back in Auckland, her estate agent took her on an early evening detour a few miles from her target area to the Dordogne Valley. This region in the north of the Lot, famous for its foie gras, duck, truffles and walnuts, took Anna “As soon as the agent parked the car in Martel, I knew that it was that, that was the village I wanted to live in,” she said.

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