Forthcoming adult book reviews: October and November 2014

» Fiction

Nightingale (Fiona McIntosh, Michael Joseph, November), 3 stars, reviewed by Joanne Shiells


Australia on Horseback (Cameron Forbes, Macmillan, November), 3 stars, reviewed by Dave Martus
Bibliodiversity (Susan Hawthorne, Spinifex Press, November), 3 stars, reviewed by Nathan Hollier
Kerry Stokes (Andrew Rule, HarperCollins, November), 3.5 stars, reviewed by Chris Saliba
Peacemongers (Barry Hill, UQP, November), 5 stars, reviewed by Chris Harrington
Something Quite Peculiar (Steve Kilbey, Hardie Grant, November), 3.5 stars, reviewed by Gerard Elson

Awards round-up: August

Among the local awards announcements in the past month are: the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards; the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) Awards, known as the ‘Rubys’; the National Biography Award; and the Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.

Shortlists have also been announced for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards; the New South Wales Premier’s History Awards; the Ned Kelly Awards for Australian crime writing; the Davitt Awards for crime writing by Australian women; and the Ngaio Marsh Award for New Zealand crime fiction.

Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Vintage) has been longlisted for the Booker Prize; Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (Granta) has been longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize; Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest (Hamish Hamilton) has been longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award; and Leah Ashton’s Why Resist A Rebel? (Harlequin) has won the award for Short Contemporary Romance at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) RITA Awards.

The winners of the Hugo Awards for science-fiction and fantasy have also been announced.

Top stories this week

wbnimage2014aug21This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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BOOK REVIEW: One Minute’s Silence (David Metzenthen, illus by Michael Camilleri, A&U)

one minute s silenceThis year marks the centenary of World War I, so we can expect to see a number of new titles commemorating this event from different perspectives. One Minute’s Silence concerns Remembrance Day as it relates to the Anzac soldiers who fought at Gallipoli, but it also asks readers to consider the young Turkish soldiers who fought bravely to defend their land. The title page shows a teacher in front of a blackboard looking up at a clock as the hands reach 11am, and the opening double-page spread shows a class of high school students looking bored. Thereafter, the narrator asks readers to imagine what it was like for the ‘twelve-thousand wild colonial’ boys as they landed on the shores of this strange, hostile land, and then to imagine the Turkish soldiers ‘from distant villages, hearts hammering’ as they stood in trenches ready to fire. Were they so different after all? The text in this book is minimal but searching, and the illustrations are outstanding. This is an ideal book for upper-primary to secondary school students, to discuss a time when people much like themselves faced terrible dilemmas.

Hilary Adams works in a specialist children’s bookshop in Sydney. This review first appeared in the Junior Term 2, 2014 supplement of Books+Publishing magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.

Bestsellers this week

where is danielDaniel Morcombe was last seen waiting for a bus on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland in 2003. The boy’s remains were found in 2011 and Brett Cowan was charged with the murder and found guilty. The memoir Where is Daniel? by parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe (Macmillan) details the disappearance of Daniel and the 10-year police investigation that followed. The book is in first place on this week’s bestsellers chart and highest new entries chart. In second place on the bestsellers chart is last week’s number one Private India by James Patterson (Century), followed by A Perfect Life by Danielle Steel (Bantam) and Life or Death by Michael Robotham (Hachette). In first place on the fastest movers chart is Optimism by Bob Brown (Hardie Grant)—Books+Publishing.

Top stories this week

wbnimage2014aug14This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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BOOK REVIEW: Deeper Water (Jessie Cole, Fourth Estate)

Deeper WaterThe premise of Jessie Cole’s second novel is reminiscent of her acclaimed debut novel Darkness on the Edge of Town: a car accident brings a stranger into the lives of a family living on the outskirts of a small rural community. This is no bad thing, as Cole’s first novel was brilliant, absorbing and haunting. Deeper Water is told entirely through the eyes of Mema, a sheltered young woman who comes across the slightly older and intriguing Hamish during a storm. His intrusion into her world—which includes a bereaved sister, fierce mother and disturbed best friend—propels Mema towards an awakening that forces her to consider her place in the world beyond the security of the farm. Cole creates vivid scenes of lush farmland and teases out interesting and rich characters with an impressive economy of language. Mema manages to be somewhat naïve and a social outsider but also observant and engaging. Glimpses of black humour and social commentary—a conversation about the value of email, for instance—are cleverly injected into the narrative. There is a sense of foreboding around Mema’s unpredictable best friend Anja, a slow burn towards catastrophe, which also echoes the mounting tension of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Jessie Cole is an impressive writer and Deeper Water is another fine and elegantly written novel.

Portia Lindsay is a former bookseller who now works at the NSW Writers’ Centre. This review first appeared on the Books+Publishing website in May 2014.View more pre-publication reviews here.

Bestsellers this week

The top three spots in this week’s bestsellers chart are all occupied by new entries. Richelle Mead’s Silver Shadows (Razorbill) is in first place, followed by Private India (James Patterson, Century) and A Perfect Life (Danielle Steel, Bantam Press). The new titles have ended the reign of The Fault in Our Stars (John Green, Penguin), which has dropped to fourth spot, while the film tie-in edition has dropped to sixth. Also in the bestsellers chart this week are local titles Big Little Lies (Liane Moriarty, Macmillan) in seventh place, Life or Death (Michael Robotham, Hachette) in eighth, and The Voice (Ray Warren & Andrew Webster, Nero) in ninth. The week’s fastest mover is The ABC Book of Children’s Cakes (Kathy Knudsen, ABC Books)—Books+Publishing.

Forthcoming children’s/YA book reviews: October 2014

» Picture books

On a Small Island (Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Fremantle Press, October), 4.5 stars, reviewed by Sarah Coull
The Wild One (Sonya Hartnett, Viking, October), 4 stars, reviewed by Natalie Crawford

» Young readers

The Cleo Stories: The Necklace and the Present (Libby Gleeson, illus by Freya Blackwood, A&U, October), 4 stars, reviewed by Natalie Crawford

» Young adult

Clariel (Garth Nix, A&U, October), 5 stars, reviewed by Holly Harper
Cooper Bartholomew is Dead (Rebecca James, A&U, October), 4 stars, reviewed by Bec Kavanagh
Nona & Me (Clare Atkins, Black Inc., October), 4 stars, reviewed by Meg Whelan
State of Grace (Hilary Badger, Hardie Grant Egmont, October), 4 stars, reviewed by Heath Graham

Children’s/YA book awards round-up: August

Among the children’s and YA book awards announced in the past month are: the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards; the WA Premier’s Awards shortlists, which includes a category for children’s books; the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards shortlists; and the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature shortlists. In the UK, the inaugural Booktrust Best Book Awards for children’s books have also been announced.