Monday Mailbox #10

 I had a lovely extended weekend full of reading but little work was done. Hopefully this week will be nice to me and I manage to hand in my assignment on Thursday. Any advice on how to write a historiographic analysis, do hit me up! I also had dinner with a friend on Saturday and we made that lovely feta and cherry tomato pasta that has been making the rounds on TikTok and it is indeed delicious, so I would recommend that. But for now, let's focus on our overflowing mailboxes!

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. It is hosted weekly over at Mailbox Monday and every Friday they do a round-up of some of their favourite, shared reads!

The Actual Star by Monica Byrne (Harper Voyager, 9/14/2021)

The Actual Star takes readers on a journey over two millennia and six continents —telling three powerful tales a thousand years apart, all of them converging in the same cave in the Belizean jungle.

Braided together are the stories of  a pair of teenage twins who  ascend the throne of a Maya kingdom; a young American woman on a trip of self-discovery in Belize; and two dangerous charismatics vying for the leadership of a new religion and racing toward a confrontation that will determine the fate of the few humans left on Earth after massive climate change.

In each era, a reincarnated trinity of souls navigates the entanglements of tradition and progress, sister and stranger, and love and hate—until all of their age-old questions about the nature of existence converge deep underground, where only in complete darkness can they truly see.

The Actual Star is a feast of ideas about where humanity came from, where we are now, and where we’re going—and how, in every age, the same forces that drive us apart also bind us together.

I absolutely loved Byrne's The Girl in the Road and so I can't wait to begin reading The Actual Star. I just know it's going to blow my mind so I'm wondering whether to save it for when I can fully savour it or use it as a way to inspire myself to keep going for the rest of this academic year. Thanks to Monica and Emily at Harper for giving me an ARC for this beauty!

The Husbands by Chandler Baker (Little, Brown; Sphere, 8/3/2021)

How far will a woman go to get a little more help from her husband?

Recently, Nora has started to feel that 'having it all' comes with a price, one her husband doesn't seem to be paying quite so heavily. She loves Hayden, but why is it that, however hard men work, their wives always seem to work that little bit harder?

When their house-hunting takes them to an affluent suburban neighbourhood, Nora's eyes are opened to a new world. Here, the wives don't make all the sacrifices. Here, the husbands can remember the kids' schedules, and iron and notice when the house needs dusting.

But when she becomes involved in a wrongful death case involving one of the local residents, Nora begins to suspect that there's a dark secret at the heart of this perfect world.

One which might just be worth killing for . . .

I really enjoyed Baker's Whisper Network so was very happy when Stephanie at Little, Brown reached out with the chance to read The Husbands. Reverse Stepford Wives meets Get Out? Sign me up!

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid (Random House; Del Rey, 6/8/2021)

Stories don't have to be true to be real...

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king's blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he's no ordinary Woodsman - he's the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it's like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they're on, and what they're willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

I requested this book on NetGalley because I saw Tasha Suri (author of the amazing sounding The Jasmine Throne which I also desperately want to read!) rave about it on Twitter. I can't wait to start reading this one, it sounds beautiful!

Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945-1955 by Harald Jähner (W.H. Allen, 6/17/2021)

Germany, 1945: a country in ruins. Cities have been reduced to rubble and more than half of the population are where they do not belong or do not want to be. How can a functioning society ever emerge from this chaos?

In bombed-out Berlin, Ruth Andreas-Friedrich, journalist and member of the Nazi resistance, warms herself by a makeshift stove and records in her diary how a frenzy of expectation and industriousness grips the city. The Americans send Hans Habe, an Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist and US army soldier, to the frontline of psychological warfare - tasked with establishing a newspaper empire capable of remoulding the minds of the Germans. The philosopher Hannah Arendt returns to the country she fled to find a population gripped by a manic loquaciousness, but faces a deafening wall of silence at the mention of the Holocaust.

Aftermath is a nuanced panorama of a nation undergoing monumental change. 1945 to 1955 was a raw, wild decade poised between two eras that proved decisive for Germany's future - and one starkly different to how most of us imagine it today. Featuring black and white photographs and posters from post-war Germany - some beautiful, some revelatory, some shocking - Aftermath evokes an immersive portrait of a society corrupted, demoralised and freed - all at the same time.
Bit of a different read from the ones above, but as a German this is a period in Germany's history I'm still not very familiar with! I'm also really intrigued at seeing the photographs and posters mentioned, and how they might represent the dramatic moral and emotional change the country went through.

So those are my reads! What's in your mailbox?


  1. Hi Juli,

    Having been married for more years than I care to remember, to an amazing man, I am really intrigued by the premise of 'The Husbands'. Getting an insight into what goes on behind other people's closed doors, is always an eye-opener!

    I am also strangely interested in 'Aftermath', maybe not one I could read from cover to cover, but perhaps dip in and out of and read the odd chapter from time to time. Is it really voyeuristic of us to want to look at posters and images of any country tor apart by war, especially when we never seem to learn from experience.

    Some really diverse reading this week - Look out Mount TBR!
    Have a great reading week and I hope the assignment goes okay :)

  2. Have to say, The Husbands is the one that reaches out and says Read Me! I'll have to look for it. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  3. Interesting covers.

    THE HUSBANDS is catching my eye.

    ENJOY your week and your books.

  4. I am curious about The Husbands. Enjoy your books and your week!

  5. The blurb for The Husbands did make me think of Stepford Wives.
    Have a good week and Happy Reading!

  6. The Husbands is going straight on my TBR. Where is this place where husbands notice that the house needs cleaning? :) I've had Whisper Network on my shelf for so long. I must push it up the pile.


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