The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in October

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Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief

Fiction Books

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

I am not going to ruin this outrageously funny book for you by telling you what happens this time round to Don. However Rosie and Don have been married for 10 months so expect the expected! Lots more lists, lots more misunderstandings, lots more laughs and even tears. Absolutely charming! Chris

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel delivers a brilliant collection of contemporary short stories that demonstrate what modern England has become. Mantel brutally and acutely writes about gender, marriage, class, family, and sex, cutting to the core of human experience. Unpredictable, diverse, and even shockingly unexpected, each story grabs you by the throat within a couple of sentences. A magnificent writer at the peak of her powers.

Amnesia by Peter Carey

When Gaby Baillieux releases the Angel Worm into the computers of Australia’s prison system, freeing hundreds of asylum seekers, she sets off a chain reaction. These prisons are run by US companies, and so the doors of some 5000 American institutions have also opened. And to some watching eyes, the secrets of both countries threaten to pour out.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Lila is wise in the ways of the world and she is about to embark on a new type of existence. From homelessness to a home, from wandering around in the world of hard knocks to a sheltered life in Gilead, from loneliness and mistrust to companionship and marriage to the Reverend Ames. All familiar names and themes from Marilynne Robinson’s previous prize winning novels. Lila questions everything as she tries to make sense of her new world just as the reader does. Chris

A History of Loneliness by John Boyne

Set in Ireland and a different sort of troubles. The Catholic Church is being brought to its knees over numerous allegations over child abuse. The cover up is distressing. John Boyne walks us through this utterly unbelievable time with the character Odran. His tragic life and his vocation to the priesthood. He is an innocent in many ways and sees the good around him. This is an amazing novel that Boyne has given us. Please do not be put off by the subject. Chris

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

The companion novel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry about Queenie the person he was walking towards. They had been friends, in fact she had loved Harold but something pulled them apart. Harold a quiet and ordinary man. Queenie feisty and not ordinary. But what does ordinary mean? A profound experience. Read in what ever order you want but please read. Chris

Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. The portrait that is painted in the years that follow is harrowing, piercingly insightful, always tender and deeply true. Colm Toibin’s Nora is a character as resonant as Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary, and Nora Webster is a novel that illuminates our own lives in a way that is rare in literature. Its humanity and compassion forge an unforgettable reading experience.

Non-Fiction Books

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty changed the way people cook and eat. Its focus on vegetable dishes, with the emphasis on flavour, original spicing and freshness of ingredients, caused a revolution not just in this country, but the world over. Plenty More picks up where Plenty left off, with 120 more dazzling vegetable-based dishes.

My Story by Julia Gillard

Here, in her own words, Julia Gillard reveals what life was really like as Australia’s first female prime minister. Refreshingly honest, peppered with a wry humour and personal insights, Julia Gillard does not shy away from her mistakes, admitting freely to errors, misjudgements, and policy failures as well as detailing her political successes.

The Menzies Era by John Howard

An assessment of Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister by Australia’s second-longest serving Prime Minister – a significant, unique and fascinating history of the Menzies era. John Howard, only ten when Menzies rose to power, and in young adulthood when the Menzies era came to an end, saw Menzies as an inspiration and a role model. His unique insights and thoughtful analysis into Menzies the man, the politician, and his legacy make this a fascinating, highly significant book.

More Fool Me by Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry invites readers to take a glimpse at his life story in the unputdownable More Fool Me. It is a heady tale of the late Eighties and early Nineties, in which Stephen – ever more driven to create, perform and entertain – burned bright and partied hard with a host of famous and infamous friends, regardless of the consequences. This electric and extraordinary book reveals a new side to Mr Fry. 

Also, Anyway… by John Cleese

Candid and brilliantly funny, this is the story of how a tall, shy youth from Weston-super-Mare went on to become a comedy giant. Punctuated with John Cleese’s thoughts on topics as diverse as the nature of comedy, the relative merits of cricket and water-skiing, and the importance of knowing the dates of all the kings and queens of England, this is a masterly performance by a master performer. 

The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb

For decades, feminism has argued the case for getting women into the workplace. Affirmative action, support schemes, paid maternity leave yet why aren’t women  better represented in the boardrooms and ministries of this country.  The answer may be they need a wife.   The Wife Drought is not a shout of rage, but it is asking us to sit up and listen. To think about flexibilty iin the work place for men and women.  A very informative read, lots of facts and figures and anecdotes about how Annabel herself has coped. Chris

Childrens’ Picture Books

Once Upon An Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Letters of the alphabet – make words – make stories. In this funny, thrilling and entertaining book Oliver Jeffers brings to life the alphabet in 26 short stories introducing some new characters as well as some familiar faces. Jan & Danica

A Bean, A Stalk And A Boy Named Jack by William Joyce

You might think you know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, but you might want to think again. In this fairy tale with a twist, it hasn’t rained in days and the king has dictated that something must be done – his royal pinky is getting stinky! A fractured fairy tale from William Joyce who brought you The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

Books for First Readers

Clementine Rose and the Famous Friend by Jacqueline Harvey

It’s a New Year and Clementine Rose is going to back to school. A new teacher who sets the class a new project and a mysterious guest at Penberthy House who never leaves her room gives Clemmie plenty to think about. Does the guest like children, who is she, why is she so secretive? We will have to read the book to find out! Jan & Danica

Books for Young Readers

Awful Auntie by David Walliams

The next heartfelt and hilarious new novel from David Walliams, the number one bestselling author! A page-turning, rollicking romp of a read, sparkling with Walliams’ most eccentric characters yet and full of humour and heart.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Our favourirte Demigod is back in an all new adventure! Giants are roaming the earth and forming an army. What is a band of young demigods to do but stand and fight? Will they be able to reach Athens before the great Goddess Gaea wakes? Read the book and find out! Ian

Books for Young Adults

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Darcy, a young writer, get the publishing deal of a lifetime. Only to find that she has trouble writing, and the boundaries between fact and fiction blur as she defers her first year of university and moves to Manhattan. Darcy’s life and her manuscript are revealed in alternating chapters. This book is the perfect blend of contemporary love story and fantastical thriller.

Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

How to avoid boarding school – Malley decides to take off with someone she’s met online. Richard, her cousin knows that she may be in trouble. He enlists the help of the one-eyed Skink. Undaunted by storms, crazy pigs and flying bullets they search the state for her. Searching for Malley is at time tense and other times laugh out loud funny. Jan & Danica

Childrens’ Non Fiction

Amazing World Atlas by Lonely Planet

With 300 fabulous photographs and lots of humour this is the atlas that will show the kids what the world is really like. With information on popular culture, sport and school life this is the atlas for children 8 and up. Jan

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The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in July

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief

 

Fiction Books

The Lie by Kestin Hesh

A complex political thriller full of suspense, set within the Israel security organisation. A rescue operation that will have you on the edge of your seats. So many lies, so many rationalisations for twisting the truth. But in the end what wins: love of country or family? Terror seems to have a certain equality. Chris

Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball

I was so engrossed in this book it wasn’t until finishing it that I truly digested what I had read. In many ways this is a modern parable about the moral fallacies we place on our systems of justice, but the skill and subtlety in which Jesse Ball tells the story gives it not just power but also emotional resonance. And by doing so Jesse Ball gets to the absolute core of what a crime story is and what it should mean when we read one. Jon

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

A Swedish crime book with a difference. Martha wants to rob a bank to escape her care home. Her team, the League of Pensioners want to get caught because they feel conditions are better in prison than where they are now. Very reminiscent of the wonderful One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. Of course everything does not go to plan, a delightful and immensely entertaining novel which should be read with a glass of cloudberry wine. Chris

Close Call by Stella Rimington

Liz Carlyle and her Counter Terrorism unit in MI5 have been charged with the task of watching the international under-the-counter arms trade. With the Arabic region in such a volatile state, the British Intelligence forces have become increasing concerned that extremist Al-Qaeda jihads are building their power base ready to launch another attack. As the pressure mounts, Liz and her team must intercept illegal weapons before they get into the wrong hands.

The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe by Romain Puertolas

An absolutely hilarious romp, like a farce but instead of walking in and out of rooms the main character does the same with wardrobes. A fakir is on a journey to pick up a bed of nails from IKEA but ends up on a tour to many countries. However it wasn’t until I had finished that I realised the more serious side of the story as the Fakir meets many people seeking a better life but instead were shunted from country to country. Extremely entertaining but with an edge. Chris

Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

A story about an experimental university in the North of England which wanted to educate thinkers to prevent totalitarianism and future wars. Oh but they were just young people thinking about sex and parties. The experiment goes wrong with some awful consequences. A wonderful read about post war Britain that nobody would recognise now! No mobiles no internet. How did they communicate and it really wasn’t that long ago! Chris

Non-Fiction Books

Ten Conversations You Must Have With Your Son by Dr Tim Hawkes

Every parent of a teenage boy knows there are certain conversations they must have with their son. But too often they put them off – or don’t have them at all – because they simply don’t know where to start. Internationally recognised in the field of raising and educating boys, Dr Tim Hawkes provides practical, accessible and invaluable about how to get these discussions started.

City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran by Ramita Navai

Reading this book reminded me of Stasiland and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, both wonderful examples of narrative non-fiction where the idea is conveyed to the reader in the style of personal stories. We get an understanding of modern Iran through the stories of young people living under repressive regimes. Reads like fiction, in fact at times I thought I was reading a really riveting crime novel! Chris

Asia’s Cauldron by Robert D. Kaplan

For anyone interested in our region you will find this a very interesting read. Kaplan has been named one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. He looks at the shift of power from Europe to Asia, particularly the South China Sea. He looks at the booming cities and the slums from Vietnam, to Malaysia, Singapore to the Philippines and of course China.  One of the questions that intrigued me was the contention that the conflicts of the future in this area will be driven by power and economics rather than humanitarian or ideological ideas. Intensely readable. Chris

Last Days of the Bus Club by Chris Stewart

In this latest, typically hilarious dispatch from El Valero we find Chris, now a local literary celebrity, using his fame to help his old sheep-shearing partner find work on a raucous road trip; cooking a TV lunch for visiting British chef, Rick Stein; discovering the pitfalls of Spanish public speaking; and, most movingly, visiting famine-stricken Niger for Oxfam.

Australian History in 7 Questions by John Hirst

From the author of The Shortest History of Europe, acclaimed historian John Hirst, comes this fresh and stimulating approach to understanding Australia’s past and present. Hirst asks and answers questions that get to the heart of Australia’s history. Engaging and enjoyable, and written for the novice and the expert alike, Australian History in Seven Questions explains how we became the nation we are today.

Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant by Owen Beddall

Everyone wants to be a flight attendant, or at least they want to know about the cushy lifestyle they lead – flying to exotic destinations, swanning about in five-star hotels, daytime lazing around the pool and night-time tabletop dancing with Bollywood stars. At last the lid is lifted. Come on board a real airline with a real flight attendant and find out what really goes on.

Pink Sari Revolution by Amana Fontanella-Khan

This is the story of Sampat Pal and the Pink Gang’s fight against injustice and oppression in India. Amana Fontanella-Khan delivers a riveting, inspiring portrait of women grabbing fate with their own hands – and winning back their lives.

Childrens’ Picture Books

Mr Chicken Lands on London by Leigh Hobbs

Mr Chicken is excited! He can’t wait to get on the plane  and go to London. Join Mr Chicken as he takes a unique look at the sights of London. A great new picture  book from one our favourite authors. Ian

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

You may be surprised to hear that Pig is a pug not a pig, and he is the greediest pug in the world. MINE is his favourite word and he won’t share his toys with anyone. One day that all changes. Has Pig learned his lesson? Have a read and find out! Danica

Books for First Readers

Do You Dare? Fighting Bones by Sophie Laguna

Danny and Duncan are two young convict brothers, who are in jail in Tasmania in 1836. As if life is not tough enough, a new boy arrives who is a terrible bully. Is escape their only option? Will they dare? A great action series full of history for boys. Ian & Danica

Nancy Clancy: Secret of the Silver Key by Jane O’Connor

The ever popular super sleuth Nancy Clancy returns in her fourth adventure. Nancy finds an old desk at a garage sale that leads her and Bree into another mystery that proves to much harder to solve than they expected. Ian

Books for Young Readers

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

If you loved ‘Wonder’ and ‘Out of My Mind’, then you have to read this book! Willow is a character unlike any other and she will capture your heart and not let go! We could not put it down! Danica & Jan

Friday Barnes: Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt

Friday Barnes – girl detective, 11 years old. When Friday solves a bank robbery she decides to put herself through boarding school with the reward money. What surprises her is that Highcrest Academy has a high crime problem. While trying to solve these mysteries Friday also has to deal with Ian, the most gorgeous boy in school, who hates her and loves nasty pranks. What is the point of high school? Jan

Books for Young Adults

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Set in Germany during the rise of Hitlers power, seventeen year old Gretchen Muller starts to question why Uncle Dolf (Hitler) has become her protector, father figure and taken her family under his wing. Desperate for answers and why her father took a bullet for Hitler, Gretchen embarks on a mission to uncover the truth. A mother who is very timid, a brother who can be cruel, and a forbidden love this book is an excellent historical fiction novel for young adults. Jan

Spark by Rachael Craw

One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer. The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death. Jan

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