The Darlings & High Octane Women

Feb 21, 2012

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It is rare to find my tote or bed table with only one book because my curiosity is constantly being piqued by book reviews I find in the Sunday Book Review, in monthly magazines, discussed on television or mentioned by friends. In fact my shopping cart on Amazon is quite full, as I continue to add a new book or two every week. With that said, I recently finished two books – one fiction, one non-fiction – that I have a feeling many of you would enjoy.

First, The Darlings by Cristina Alger, her debut novel, was recently released on February 16th, and as someone who tends not to read fiction as much as I used to, this novel drew me in with the first few pages as it paints a foreboding scene that unfortunately hints at the drama yet to come for the Darling family.  Set in Manhattan during the financial crisis of 2008, the Darlings patriarch, Carter Darling, owns what seems to be an unimpeachable hedge fund, until the rug slowly, then suddenly, is pulled out from underneath his family and the cards come crashing down. 

Working in financial industries similar to the ones depicted in her novel, Alger out of college worked for Goldman Sachs, and while always wanting to be a writer, continued on to pursue her law degree instead. And while some may say, she wasn’t following her heart, when readers learned from the recent New York Times review of her book that she lost her father Fred Alger on 9/11 as he had his offices for his mutual fund company on the 93rd floor of the north tower, you can understand why she decided to forge ahead into the corporate world – to help maintain a financially secure life for her mother and her family.

However, along with the tenacity to move forward after such heartbreaking loss, is a woman who wouldn’t give up on her dream, and this novel, with its well-crafted prose, attention grabbing from one chapter to the next as you get to know numerous characters who all intertwine based on familial or monetary relationships, is a glimpse of the upheaval that occurred in the financial world and thus the economy of the United States in 2008.

My second recommendation was something that grabbed my attention immediately upon reading the description. And even though it is quite ironic that I am trying to find time to read a book about women who barely have time to balance their lives, I knew it would be worth it . . . and I wasn’t disappointed. High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout by Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter succinctly explains the unique attributes of women who are driven, inspired, independent, yet want to have it all. She debunks claims that mediation, yoga and massage are enough to relax women who are so driven they would simply use this time to run more ideas through their mind instead of relaxing which they desperately need to do. 

With insights, tips and suggestions on how to be more effective with the time you have, discover what rejuvenating activities actually will work for you and the validation that you should applaud yourself for your ambition, not feel guilty about it, High Octane Women was a refreshing, empowering and quick read that I highly recommend.

3 thoughts on “The Darlings & High Octane Women

  1. Both books sound right up my alley.
    I have been considering getting a Kindle, I think I will be more apt to reading books (as opposed to the mass pile of magazines I get in my mailbox each month). Do you buy books, hard or soft copy? Or do you get books from the library? Curious minds want to know.
    Have a fab week Shannon 🙂
    xoxo Carrie

    1. Great questions. When I was living on a tight budget, I lived at the library and fell in love with it as it did save quite a bit of money since I love to read. Now I shop primarily at Amazon and second-hand stores or recommendations from friends who pass me a book. Hardcovers are always nice to have if you intend to keep the book and build your library (which by the way, is one of my dreams. A room totally devoted to books – heaven!). Since I do buy from Amazon so much I am part of the Prime program which is I believe $79/year and you receive the books within 2 days without having to pay for shipping. Love this and find myself with piles of books everywhere waiting to be read. Happy reading!

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