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Kiwi readers" favourite books

Kiwi readers swayed by recommendations, film and television when voting for their favourite books

When it comes to voting for their favourite books, Kiwis prefer to read books that have been recommended to them and those that have been adapted for the screen.

More than half the books in the top 20 spots of the Whitcoulls Top 100 Books List, announced today, have been adapted in to film or television shows, including Me Before You (number 5), The Girl on the Train (number 13), theOutlander Series (number 7) and Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones (number 8). This trend looks set to continue with online streaming options becoming increasingly popular.

As ever, Harry Potter reigns supreme with the mega-bestselling series again claiming the number one spot. Lee Child comes in at number two with his 21st Jack Reacher novel Night School, in the same year that, coincidentally, Whitcoulls celebrate 21 years of asking New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books. Lee Child has featured in the Top 100 every year since its inception in 1996.

Joan Mackenzie, Whitcoulls Book Manager and the voice behind influential reading list Joan’s Picks says, “We’ve discovered some wonderful books in the last year and shared them with our customers, and large numbers of them have obviously agreed with us and voted them in to the Top 100.”

Recommended reads also feature strongly, with Whitcoulls Joan’s Picks titles often being favoured by Kiwi readers. These include: I Am Pilgrim (number 3), Lilac Girls (number 9), Big Little Lies (number 10), All the Light We Cannot See (number 12), Kill the Father (number 34) and The Baltimore Boys (number 61).

Nearly one third of the books voted in to the Top 100 are newcomers. Many of these are new releases, while some are perennial favourites, including The Edmonds Cookbook, which reappears at number 67 after disappearing altogether last year. The most popular author is Jodi Picoult, who has six individual titles in the Top 100; the most of any writer.

“We’re especially pleased to see the young poet Rupi Kaur – a huge success at this year’s Auckland Writers Festival – receive so much attention. Her book Milk & Honey (number 70) has resonated with readers around the world, and New Zealanders have equally taken her to their hearts,” said Mackenzie.

The Whitcoulls Top 100 Books List is always eclectic and expresses the nation’s diverse reading tastes; from blockbusters to home-grown talent and quirky international titles. Fiction always predominates, but not at the expense of quality non-fiction, with memoirs, health & wellbeing and personal development books among the favourites.

Mackenzie says, “In an age of social media, busy lives and many demands on peoples’ time, it seems that reading still holds a special place in our customers’ lives, and the passion and enthusiasm for favourite books is as strong as ever.”

This year, voting again broke all records with votes 8% higher than last year and online voting proving the most popular way for Kiwis to cast their votes. The Top 100 books are available at Whitcoulls stores nationwide and online at


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