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


Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief.
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The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed.  Get ready for action on a GIGANTIC scale!


Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

Beloved and bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith lends his delightful touch to EMMA, the next book in The Austen Project. Ever alive to the uproarious nuances of human behaviour, and both the pleasures and pitfalls of village life, beloved author Alexander McCall Smith’s Emma is the busybody we all know and love, and a true modern delight.


Lamentation by C.J. Sansom

The eagerly anticipated new Shardlake novel. Still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, Shardlake is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen.


The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

In the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die a decade after the crime. So when Orlando Merced finally succumbs to complications from being shot ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other evidence is virtually nonexistent. 


The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber

Peter Leigh is a husband, a Christian, and now a missionary. As The Book of Strange New Things opens, he is set to embark on a journey that will be the biggest test of his faith yet. From the moment he says goodbye to his wife, Bea, and boards his flight, he begins a quest that will challenge his religious beliefs, his love and his understanding of the limits of the human body.


South of Darkness by John Marsden

Thirteen-year-old Barnaby Fletch is a bag-and-bones orphan in London in the late 1700s. Barnaby lives on his wits and ill-gotten gains, on streets seething with the press of the throng and shadowed by sinister figures. Life is a precarious business. When he hears of a paradise on the other side of the world- a place called Botany Bay – he decides to commit a crime and get himself transported to a new life, a better life.  A riveting story of courage, hope and extraordinary adventure.

Non-Fiction Books

Australians: Flappers to Vietnam Volume 3 by Thomas Keneally

As in the two previous volumes of Australians Keneally brings history to vivid and pulsating life as he traces the lives and the deeds of Australians known and unknown. As another war grew closer he follows the famous and the infamous through the Great Crash and the rise of Fascism, and explains how Australia was inexorably drawn into a war which led her forces into combat throughout the world.


Gallipoli by Peter FitzSimons

On 25 April 1915, Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in present-day Turkey to secure the sea route between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east.  Peter FitzSimons, with his trademark vibrancy and expert melding of writing and research, recreates the disaster as experienced by those who endured it or perished in the attempt.


Margot At War by Anne De Courcy

Margot Asquith was a very unconventional Prime Minister’s wife. She was extremely outgoing and spoke her mind which  did not endear her to everyone. She lived in those years that ushered in  the decline of the upstairs downstairs regime. The first world war, Irish home rule, social reform  and suffragettes all contributed to a time of change. Although some things never change and Margot had to endure her husbands love of a younger woman who was her daughters friend. Like the Fishing Fleet this is social history with a real dash of what was going on behind the scenes in those very turbulent times. Chris

Family Food by Pete Evans

With two children of his own, Pete Evans knows how hard it can be to get a healthy and delicious meal on the table night after night. Family Food is filled with Pete Evans’ go-to recipes when he’s looking for something quick, tasty and nutritious to cook for his own loved ones, and these meals are sure to become favourites in your home too.


Abducting a General by Patrick Leigh Fermor

One of the greatest feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s remarkable life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on 26 April 1944. This is Leigh Fermor’s own account of the kidnap, published for the first time. Written in his inimitable prose, it is a glorious first-hand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War. 


Lists of Note by Shaun Usher

Humans have been making lists for even longer than they’ve been writing letters. They are the shorthand for what really matters to us: our hopes and aspirations; likes and dislikes; rules for living and loving; records of our memories and reminders of the things we want to do before we die. Just as he did with Letters of Note, Shaun Usher has trawled the world’s archives to produce a rich visual anthology that stretches from ancient times to present day.


Childrens’ Picture Books

The First Hippo On The Moon by David Walliams

First Hippo on the Moon is another hilarious, delightful read from one of our favourite authors.  Fans of the Slightly Annoying Elephant will love this new book. A must have for all David Walliams fans. Jan

The Book With No Pictures

This innovative and wildly funny read-aloud will be the Must Have book of the season. You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except…here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say…BLORK. Or BLUURF. Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.

Books for First Readers

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

Princess Magnolia is not your average princess, she has a secret, she defeats monsters as the ‘Princess in Black’. Will Duchess Wigtower discover her alter ego and ruin everything? This is a great first chapter book for readers who are gaining confidence. Danica

The Cleo Stories by Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood

Cleo is a little girl with a big imagination, and she has quite a clever way of working out any dilemma that comes her way. It is beautifully illustrated by Freya Blackwood, and will charm little people and big people alike. A perfect book to read together. Danica

Books for Young Readers

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

Greg, our hapless hero of the much loved Wimpy kids series is back in an all new adventure. This time he leaves the trials and tribulations of the school yard behind and goes on holidays. Of course nothing every goes smothly for Greg, his family are driving him nuis ….it looks like this trip is going to be a LONG Haul .

Ruby Redfort: Feel The Fear by Lauren Child

Ruby Redfort, everyone’s favourite detective, is back and she may be up against her hardest case yet. She has an ivisilbe foe, and how do you catch someone you can’t even see?! Ruby is up for the challenge, and the fourth installment of this beloved series will not disappoint.

Books for Young Adults

Laurinda by Alice Pung

Laurinda is an exculsive school for girls. Lucy Lam has just started as a scholarship girl, and she finds herself being courted by the most powerful girls in school ‘The Cabinet’. Everyone summits to them, even some of the teachers, but it might be time that someone stood up to them. Is Lucy up for task? Danica