The Greatest New Zealander, Palestinian Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Orientalism by Edward W. Said

    This book is a critical examination of Western attitudes towards the East, particularly the Middle East, and how these attitudes have shaped and continue to shape Western policies and perceptions. The author argues that the West has a long history of viewing the East as the "other," exotic and inferior, and that this view has been institutionalized through academic disciplines, literature, and media. This "Orientalism," as the author calls it, has served to justify colonialism and imperialism, and continues to influence Western attitudes and policies towards the East today.

    The 687th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Bone People by Keri Hulme

    "The Bone People" is a complex, emotional novel that explores the lives of three characters - a reclusive artist, a young mute boy, and his adoptive father - in New Zealand. The narrative delves into themes such as Maori culture, love, violence, and isolation while showcasing the struggle of these individuals as they try to form a family unit despite their personal traumas and societal pressures. The book's unique blend of prose and poetry, along with its blend of English and Maori language, adds to its depth and richness.

    The 790th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Faces In The Water by Janet Frame

    "Faces in the Water" is a chilling exploration of mental illness, based on the author's own experiences in psychiatric hospitals. The protagonist is a woman who is institutionalized after a suicide attempt and suffers through the dehumanizing treatment of the era, including electroshock therapy. The narrative is a surreal and fragmented reflection of her mental state, as she grapples with her sanity and the inhumane conditions of her confinement. The novel serves as a powerful critique of the mental health system and the societal attitudes towards mental illness in the mid-20th century.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh

    "A Man Lay Dead" is a captivating murder mystery set in a country house, where a group of guests gather for a weekend of games and entertainment. When a harmless game of murder turns into a real-life crime, Inspector Alleyn is called in to solve the case. As he delves into the lives and secrets of the eccentric characters, he uncovers a web of deceit, jealousy, and hidden motives. With a clever plot, intriguing characters, and a touch of humor, this book keeps readers guessing until the final twist.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Plumb by Maurice Gee

    In "Plumb" by Maurice Gee, readers are introduced to a small New Zealand town called Waimaru, where a tragic accident occurs, leaving a young boy dead. The aftermath of this event reveals the dark secrets and hidden tensions within the community, as the lives of various characters intertwine and unravel. With beautifully crafted prose and a keen exploration of human nature, Gee delves into themes of guilt, loss, and the complexities of human relationships, creating a gripping and thought-provoking narrative.

    The 4029th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Badjelly The Witch by Spike Milligan

    The book is a whimsical children's story that follows the adventures of siblings Tim and Rose as they search for their lost cow, Lucy. Their quest leads them into an enchanted forest where they encounter a host of magical creatures, including giants, a fairy, and an evil witch named Badjelly who can turn people into sausages with her magic wand. With courage and the help of their new fantastical friends, the children must outwit Badjelly and rescue their beloved cow, embarking on a journey filled with humor, whimsy, and the triumph of good over evil.

    The 4673rd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. A Mountainous Journey by Fadwa Tuqan

    "A Mountainous Journey" is an evocative memoir that chronicles the life of a prominent female Arab poet, detailing her personal and intellectual evolution against the backdrop of the tumultuous political landscape of the Middle East. The narrative weaves through her experiences of growing up in a conservative society in Nablus, Palestine, her pursuit of education and literary expression, and her encounters with the significant historical events of her time. The author's journey is marked by struggles with societal expectations, the loss of loved ones, and the constant presence of conflict, yet it is also a testament to resilience, the power of words, and the quest for personal and national identity.

    The 4742nd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

    Set during the New Zealand Gold Rush of the 19th century, this novel follows Walter Moody, a prospector who stumbles upon a secret meeting of twelve local men who are trying to solve a series of unsolved crimes. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the crimes, which include a rich man's disappearance, a prostitute's attempted suicide, and a huge fortune found in a drunkard's cottage, are all interconnected. The novel's complex narrative structure, which uses astrology to organize its characters and events, adds another layer of intrigue to the story.

    The 5487th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield

    The book is a collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human relationships and emotions, often focusing on moments of epiphany in the lives of ordinary people. Set primarily in the early 20th century, the stories explore themes such as love, loss, and the search for meaning amidst the mundane. The author's keen observations and subtle wit bring to life a range of characters, from lonely spinsters to disillusioned couples, each portrayed with a deep sense of empathy and psychological insight. Through her masterful use of language and narrative structure, the author captures the fleeting impressions and nuances of everyday existence, leaving a lasting impact on the reader.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. The Music Of Human Flesh by Mahmud Darwish

    "The Music of Human Flesh" is a poignant collection of poems that delves into the complexities of identity, exile, and the enduring human spirit. Through lyrical and evocative language, the poet navigates the landscape of memory and longing, reflecting on personal and collective histories. The verses serve as a meditation on the pain and beauty of existence, exploring themes of love, loss, and the relentless search for a sense of belonging amidst the backdrop of political turmoil and displacement. The work resonates with the universal quest for meaning and connection, even as it speaks to the specific experiences of those uprooted and marginalized by conflict.

    The 8130th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted? by Alan Duff

    "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?" by Alan Duff is a powerful and gritty novel that delves into the lives of a Maori family living in New Zealand. Set against a backdrop of poverty, violence, and racism, the story follows the struggles and triumphs of Jake, a young man desperate to escape the cycle of despair that has plagued his family for generations. With raw and unflinching honesty, the book explores themes of identity, love, and redemption, painting a vivid and haunting portrait of a community grappling with the consequences of a broken heart.

    The 8541st Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox

    "The Vintner's Luck" is a captivating novel that follows the life of a young vintner named Sobran, who forms an unlikely friendship with an angel named Xas. Set in 19th century France, the story explores themes of love, passion, and the pursuit of dreams as Sobran navigates the challenges of winemaking and the complexities of his relationships with both mortals and celestial beings. Through beautifully descriptive prose and rich character development, the book delves into the intricacies of the human spirit and the intertwining of the mundane and the divine.

    The 8682nd Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Live Bodies by Maurice Gee

    In "Live Bodies" by Maurice Gee, a small town in New Zealand becomes the setting for a mysterious and unsettling series of events. As the townspeople grapple with their own secrets and desires, a young girl named Alice discovers a hidden power within herself. As tensions rise and the lines between reality and fantasy blur, Alice must confront the darkness that lurks beneath the surface of her seemingly idyllic community. With rich prose and a captivating plot, "Live Bodies" explores themes of identity, power, and the complexities of human nature.

    The 8682nd Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Harlequin Rex by Owen Marshall

    "Harlequin Rex" is a captivating novel that explores the life of a man named Rex, who is born with a rare condition that causes him to have a clown-like appearance. Despite the challenges he faces, Rex embarks on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance, navigating through a world that often judges based on appearances. Through his unique perspective and experiences, the book delves into themes of identity, love, and the complexities of human relationships.

    The 8968th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Book Of Fame by Lloyd Jones

    "The Book of Fame" by Lloyd Jones is a captivating novel that delves into the lives of the 1905 All Blacks, New Zealand's first national rugby team. Through a series of interconnected stories, the book explores themes of fame, identity, and the impact of sport on society. It offers a unique perspective on the players' journey to international recognition, their struggles, triumphs, and the lasting legacy they leave behind. With its lyrical prose and rich characterization, this book is a celebration of both rugby and the human spirit.

    The 9035th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. The Shag Incident by Stephanie Johnson

    "The Shag Incident" by Stephanie Johnson is a captivating coming-of-age novel that follows the journey of a young woman named Emma as she navigates the complexities of love, friendship, and self-discovery. Set in a small coastal town, Emma finds herself entangled in a scandalous affair that challenges her perceptions of morality and forces her to confront her own desires. With richly developed characters and an engaging plot, this thought-provoking novel explores themes of identity, societal expectations, and the consequences of our actions.

    The 9178th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Stonedogs by Craig Marriner

    "Stonedogs" by Craig Marriner is a gritty and atmospheric novel set in New Zealand, following the lives of a group of disillusioned young people living on the fringes of society. The story delves into their struggles with addiction, violence, and the search for meaning in a world that seems to offer them little hope. With vivid and raw prose, Marriner explores the complexities of human nature and the consequences of one's choices, ultimately painting a haunting portrait of a generation lost in a haze of drugs and desperation.

    The 9178th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Slow Water by Annamarie Jagose

    "Slow Water" is a captivating novel that follows the journey of a young woman named Sophie as she navigates the complexities of love, desire, and self-discovery. Set in a small coastal town, the story unravels through Sophie's encounters with various characters, each with their own secrets and desires. Through lyrical prose and intricate storytelling, the book explores themes of identity, sexuality, and the power dynamics that shape our relationships. As Sophie delves deeper into her own desires and confronts societal expectations, she begins to question the boundaries of love and the true nature of intimacy.

    The 9235th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Tu by Patricia Grace

    "Tu" is a heartfelt novel that explores the life of a young Maori boy named Tu, who is raised by his grandparents in rural New Zealand. Set in the 1960s, the story follows Tu's journey as he navigates the challenges of growing up in a changing society, grappling with his identity, and finding his place within his community. Through vivid storytelling and rich cultural references, the novel delves into themes of family, tradition, and the enduring power of love and resilience.

    The 9323rd Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. Blindsight by Maurice Gee

    In a dystopian world where a mysterious disease has left people blind, a young boy named Theo possesses the ability to see. As he navigates through a society that fears and shuns him, Theo discovers a hidden underground community of others with sight. Together, they embark on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth behind the epidemic and restore hope to their shattered world. This captivating novel explores themes of resilience, acceptance, and the power of perception.

    The 9367th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

    In a war-torn village on a remote island, a young girl named Matilda finds solace and escape in the pages of a book called "Great Expectations". Taught by a mysterious and charismatic teacher, Mr. Watts, Matilda becomes enthralled by the story and its protagonist, Pip. As the conflict escalates and the outside world encroaches upon their isolated community, the power of literature and the transformative impact of storytelling are revealed, leaving a lasting impression on Matilda and those around her.

    The 9473rd Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Opportunity by Charlotte Grimshaw

    "Opportunity" is a gripping novel that delves into the lives of a wealthy New Zealand family, exploring themes of ambition, betrayal, and the pursuit of success. As secrets unravel and hidden desires come to light, the characters navigate a world of privilege and power, where choices made in the pursuit of opportunity have far-reaching consequences. With its compelling narrative and complex characters, this book offers a thought-provoking exploration of the lengths people will go to in order to seize their chance at success.

    The 9525th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. A Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins

    "A Novel About My Wife" is a captivating exploration of a marriage on the brink of collapse. Told from the perspective of the husband, the story delves into the complexities of love, desire, and the secrets that can unravel even the strongest of relationships. As the husband grapples with his own insecurities and suspicions, he becomes consumed by the mystery surrounding his wife's past, leading him down a path of self-discovery and ultimately forcing him to confront the truth about their marriage.

    The 9589th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. As The Earth Turns Silver by Alison Wong

    Set in early 20th century New Zealand, "As The Earth Turns Silver" is a historical novel that explores the complex relationships between Chinese immigrants and the European settlers. The story follows the lives of two characters, a Chinese immigrant named Yung, who works as a valet for a wealthy white family, and Katherine, the wife of the family's lawyer. As their lives intertwine, they navigate the societal prejudices and expectations of the time, while also confronting their own desires and secrets. Through their forbidden love affair, Wong delves into themes of identity, racism, and the struggle for acceptance in a changing world.

    The 9645th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. The Hut Builder by Laurence Fearnley

    "The Hut Builder" is a captivating novel that follows the journey of a middle-aged man named Boden Blackwood, who retreats to the remote wilderness of New Zealand to build his dream hut. As he immerses himself in the challenging task of constructing the hut, Boden's solitude is interrupted by unexpected encounters with the locals, each bringing their own stories and struggles. Through these interactions, Boden discovers the profound impact that human connections can have on one's sense of purpose and belonging. With beautiful prose and a deep exploration of solitude and community, this novel takes readers on a reflective and moving journey of self-discovery.

    The 9700th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.