Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Tell us about your new arrivals by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky at mailboxmonday.wordpress.com.

I probably should have made a New Year’s resolution to stop adding books until I’ve cleared off my to-read pile a little, but I didn’t. Here’s what I picked up this week.

Mailbox Monday – 1/14/19The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag
Published by Atria Books on March 5, 2019 (first published 2017)
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon or Audible
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It is 1793. Four years after the storming of the Bastille in France and more than a year after the death of King Gustav III of Sweden, paranoia and whispered conspiracies are Stockholm’s daily bread. A promise of violence crackles in the air as ordinary citizens feel increasingly vulnerable to the whims of those in power.

When Mickel Cardell, a crippled ex-solider and former night watchman, finds a mutilated body floating in the city’s malodorous lake, he feels compelled to give the unidentifiable man a proper burial. For Cecil Winge, a brilliant lawyer turned consulting detective to the Stockholm police, a body with no arms, legs, or eyes is a formidable puzzle and one last chance to set things right before he loses his battle to consumption. Together, Winge and Cardell scour Stockholm to discover the body’s identity, encountering the sordid underbelly of the city’s elite. Meanwhile, Kristofer Blix—the handsome son of a farmer—leaves rural life for the alluring charms of the capital and ambitions of becoming a doctor. His letters to his sister chronicle his wild good times and terrible misfortunes, which lead him down a treacherous path.

In another corner of the city, a young woman—Anna-Stina—is consigned to the workhouse after she upsets her parish priest. Her unlikely escape plan takes on new urgency when a sadistic guard marks her as his next victim.

Over the course of the novel, these extraordinary characters cross paths and collide in shocking and unforgettable ways. Niklas Natt och Dag paints a deliciously dark portrait of late 18th century Stockholm, and the frightful yet fascinating reality lurking behind the powdered and painted veneer of the era.

Mailbox Monday – 1/14/19The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on March 5, 2019
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery, Gothic
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
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Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature. To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn't hers, left on the page of an old diary: "Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me." Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

I also picked up one on Audible. It’s funny how easy “credits” make it to buy audiobooks.

Mailbox Monday – 1/14/19Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Narrator: Derek Perkins
Published by Harper Audio on August 15, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Anthropology
Length: 15 hrs 17 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon or Audible
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100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.

How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power ... and our future.

About Niklas Natt och Dag

Niklas Natt och Dag

Niklas Natt och Dag debuted as an author with the historical literary novel 1793, re-titled The Wolf and the Watchman. Natt och Dag himself has an undeniable connection to Swedish history, being a member of the oldest surviving noble family in Sweden. When he isn’t writing or reading, Natt och Dag enjoys playing the guitar, mandolin, violin, or the Japanese bamboo flute, shakuhachi.

Niklas Natt och Dag lives in Stockholm with his wife and their two sons.

27 Comments

  1. I’m with Patty in that the first two books sound good to me too.

    I haven’t read many books set in France and certainly not in this period and its historical fiction/mystery labels appeals to me so, yes, The Wolf and the Watchman sounds good.

    Then there’s The Stranger Diaries which though I don’t like the cover and from what little I know of the book I don’t think suits it, the Gothic label shouts READ ME.

  2. Hi Carol,

    I am not really a big fan of non-fiction, although I will pick up a book frome time to time, but only if I can skip between pages and chapters, to find the ‘interesting’ bits.

    ‘The Wolf And The Watchman’ is totally new to me, as is its author. It is seemingly another book in the ‘Nordic Noir’ genre, which I keep meaning to explore in more depth.

    Elly Griffiths is an author whose work I have been following on several fellow bloggers sites, with everyone having nothing but praise for the storylines she comes up with. To my shame, I have to admit that I have yet to read any of her books for myself, but that really is a case of too many great books and not enough time!

    Thanks for showcasing such an interesting selection and enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

    Yvonne xx

    1. I love a good historical mystery, so I hope The Wolf and the Watchman doesn’t disappoint.
      I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, about 12 last year, but I find them (usually, if I pick well) interesting. Sapiens covers a lot of territory and has a lot of good tidbits. I wish I had a better memory, because I tend to forget a lot of what I learn. I guess in theory I could take notes, but that’s not going to happen.

  3. I have Sapiens in book form, been sitting on my shelf for over a year now. I’m thinking it might be easier to read as an audiobook.

    I never clear out my tbr pile. I keep adding books. It gives me more to choose from … or makes choosing more difficult since I have too many choices.

  4. kay

    The first two books sound really good to me, especially The Wolf and the Watchman. I need to add it to my shelves!
    I’m ready Sapiens and it’s really interesting, though I’ve been reading a chapter here and there for the past few months. I tend to be slow with non-fiction!
    Happy reading!

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