Interesting books coming out in August

So I’m a little bit later this month in writing about the books that look interesting to me. This time, my sources are those lovely emails you get from publishing houses and booksellers about what’s new this month in Australia. (These are not special emails, just the ones anyone can sign up to). Looking at my notes, I’ve got quite a mixed bag this month! There are quite a few Australian books and some non-fiction too. Just a quick disclaimer first – these are all books I have chosen; nobody has influenced me at all!

Drive By by Michael Duffy

From the publisher:

John Habib is the mechanic son of a Muslim Lebanese-Australian crime family in Sydney’s Western suburbs. His oldest brother is in a maximum security prison, his middle brother is becoming increasingly fundamentalist, and his younger brother Rafi is on trial for a murder he swears he didn’t commit. John has no reason to disbelieve Rafi but there are things going on in the family that he just doesn’t understand. Why has his brother taken control of the family away from their father? Are the police really trying to set up Rafi? And what is the compelling evidence they say will put him away? John sets out to prove Rafi’s innocence in the face of his predatory older brothers and some Lebanese-hating cops.

Bec Ralston is a good detective who doesn’t know why she’s been ordered to attend Rafi’s trial. She was previously thrown off the investigation for voicing the opinion that Rafi might be innocent. As the court case goes badly wrong, she finds herself torn between her loyalty to the senior police she respects and the truth.

Not since Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore and Truth has the world of criminals and police been so uncompromisingly and authentically drawn. This brilliant, fast-paced novel will seize you from its first page and not let you go till long after its explosive, mind-twisting conclusion.

My thoughts:

The cover instantly grabbed me – this is going to be a book that people talk about!

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

From the publisher:

When Juliet Montague’s husband disappears, so does she. As far as the conservative Jewish community in which she lives is concerned, she is invisible. She does her best to conform to their rules, but then on her thirtieth birthday she does something unexpected. Instead of the fridge she has scrimped for, she impulsively spends her savings on a portrait of herself.

It is the first in a series of portraits that punctuate Juliet’s adult life as she joins London’s lively post-war art scene and proves to be an astute spotter of talent. Yet she remains an outsider in both her worlds: a mother of two, drawn to a reclusive artist who never leaves Dorset, and unable to feel free until she has found her husband – a quest that leads her to California and a surprising discovery.

Absorbing, intriguing and richly evocative, this is the tale of one woman’s life and an unusual emotional journey, each stage hinged on a painting. It is a bravura performance by a highly talented young author.

My thoughts:

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Mr Rosenblum’s List, but the plot is interesting and Juliet sounds intriguing.

The Long Road to Overnight Success by Shane Jacobson

From the publisher:

After the film ′Kenny′ catapulted him to national and international fame, actor, writer, producer Shane Jacobson was told by people that he had a talent for acting. Which was great news as he′d been on the stage since the age of ten.

Working in musical theatre, stand-up comedy, radio, ads, and the occasional Boy Scout review, Jacobson had been in the spotlight and behind the scenes, he had learned how to make people laugh and how to move them and he had felt the allure of the spotlight. He knew this was what he wanted to do, but it would take him years to get there in between his many (very) odd jobs.

Success, when it came, was sweet, but so was getting there. Here Jacobson tells the story of his life in the droll, hilarious way which made him so appealing in Kenny and in films like Charlie and Boots. From a childhood spent among loving but stage-hungry ′carnies′ to an adulthood spent travelling, falling in love, learning to drive every vehicle ever made and generally distracting himself from a serious career path, this is a charming, truly Australian memoir.

My thoughts:

It’s Kenny! And the guy who made Top Gear Australia interesting, not to mention holding his own and then some with Jezza and Captain Slow (that’s Jeremy Clarkson and James May) in Top Gear Live. I think this will be very funny to read.

The Book of Woe by Gary Greenberg

From the publisher:

Since its first edition in 1952, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been regarded as the leading authority on mental-health diagnosis and research. But throughout the DSM‘s various iterations, debate has raged over which psychological problems constitute mental illness — homosexuality, for instance, was a mental illness until 1973, and Asperger’s gained recognition in 1994, only to see its status challenged nearly 20 years later.

By examining the history of the DSM and the controversies over its latest revisions, Greenberg challenges the status quo of modern psychiatric practice. He shows how difficult — even impossible — it is to rigorously differentiate mental illness from everyday suffering; and he sheds light on how the politics behind mental-health classification has caused diagnosis rates of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder to skyrocket.

Drawing on interviews with people on all sides of the debate, on historical examples, and on case studies from his own practice, Greenberg ultimately argues for a more humanistic approach to psychiatry. A combination of lively reportage and biting analysis, The Book of Woe will prove invaluable for expert and casual readers alike.

My thoughts:

This probably isn’t a book for everyone, but it intrigues me. DSM-V came out earlier this year amongst controversy and if you’ve ever read a mental health text, you’ve probably self-diagnosed yourself with a spectrum of disorders. I think this book will highlight how much we have to learn about psychiatry.

The Russian Tapestry by Banafsheh Serov

From the publisher:

Marie Kulbas, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is excited about her new life in the vibrant city of St Petersburg. But as World War I escalates she must farewell those dearest to her when her brother and her fiancé leave for the German Front.

Colonel Alexei Serov comes from a long line of professional soldiers. Leading his men is his birthright and his duty; his allegiance to Russia surpasses everything, including his obligations to his wife and family. His role is clear, until he meets Marie and suddenly emotions rise in him that he has never felt before.

As their world starts to crumble, Marie and Alexei discover a love that they will cling to in their search for a path to safety.

My thoughts:

I do love historical fiction books set in Russia. I think this book sounds like it combines love and a turbulent piece of history.

Do any of these books interest you? What’s on your radar for August?


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