So I may be exposing myself here a little but I think Come Sundown is the first novel I've read by Nora Roberts. I have heard of her, of course, but not read her. I came to this novel expecting it to be along a similar vein to other big name female authors whom I have read. I was surprised.
The novel is set in West Montana and revolves around ranch and resort owners the Bodine-Longbow family and especially manager/boss/ daughter/granddaughter Bodine Longbow.
The novel initially, after a shocking first chapter, was what I thought it would be in terms of 'chic lit' style. (I'm never sure what term I should use instead of that?!). However it quickly becomes much darker and much more of a 'thriller' in terms of style. The novel is not for the faint of heart - it features rape and domestic violence. By the end of the novel the threads of both stories have woven together and I spent a good part of the novel anticipating the worst for the central characters... I won't point out if I was right or wrong on that.
On the whole, this novel was probably too 'gritty' for me. I appreciate that Roberts has a massive following and I think she has cleverly woven the thriller and chic lit styles together in this novel which is an impressive undertaking. If you are a fan of both genre then this novel will really appeal.
I've been trying to keep up with the 100 days project this year. I tried to do the project a few years ago (when I was a lot less busy) and I didn't finish but I do feel like I generally do better on things when I am busy.
Lately I binge read, you know when you keep reading the book you started until you finish it at midnight?, One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus.
I really enjoyed reading this book it has some nice character and relationship developments and moves at such a pace that you keep reading 'just another chapter'. It's a YA novel and covers a lot of 'the' topics - drug use, parents, cheating, homosexuality, friendships, controlling relationships, being yourself...
Five students walk into a detention maintaining it was a set-up. One student dies and then it all unravels from there. Who did it and why and what will the leaked information do to all of them as the case builds?
Initially the characters appear as the typical American teen stereotypes but as the book unfolds they become more than who they appear to be. The book is told from 4 perspectives and transitions between each without unveiling the whodunit until the very end. There are clues along the way but you may or may not interpret them.
Mainly I enjoyed this because it was a mystery and as things became less and less clear cut the characters became more entwined and interesting.
Doing the 100 days challenge has been meaning I'm being creative but not in a 'completed projects' kind of way.
However I did find a morning to whip up a cute little DIY purse pack I bought a while ago from The Make Company. (When they closed the shop I may have also spent rather a lot of money on... 'this and that'!)
It was very quick to put together and I really like the final result. The friend I made them with said I should do one with embroidery on it - I love that idea so I'm going to have to order some more purse clasps.
Sometimes it's good just to get something made to scratch an itch.
When I read the blurb to Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant I requested it right away. Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.
Then when it arrived I thought, 'oh gosh I actually have to read this book and reflect on it and it could be a hard slog.' Thankfully I was completely wrong about the slog. What Sandberg and Grant have achieved is the perfect mix of narrative with good psychological research and information.
I underlined so many sections in the book and I read it fast. Then I started recommending it in conversations which is always a good sign that it is in fact a book you really, really think is worthwhile.
Essentially I feel like this book is a great read for anyone doing life. We are all faced with challenges and each of us needs the tools to both develop resilience in ourselves but also to be able to respond with compassion and intelligence to the people around us who are facing trauma. Intelligence may seem a strange choice of word but what I mean is to have actual real tools to journey with people we love who are in trauma, rather than just feeling the feels with them. This book provides both of these.
Personally I also felt there was a lot in the book for me to challenge me about my own attitudes to failing and making mistakes and what I can learn from them.
Straight after I finished reading this book a colleague from my work died unexpectedly and we were launched into an incredibly draining and difficult week (and season). Dealing with this as a teacher is a strange thing, there is the sadness, shock and grief that the staff have experienced and then you are also still dealing with children, their responses and their learning needs in the midst of it.
All this to say that this book is such a worthwhile read and it is very readable. I think that the challenge of a well researched book that is grounded in science is to hold the reader. Sandberg and Grant have also really made a wide net - the book could have been one woman's journey through her own grief and related only to losing a spouse but they have stretched the horizon so much broader than that.