There are certain cornerstones in my week. One of them has been 'Desert Island Discs' on Radio 4. So I was rather disappointed this morning to find that it had finished its run. In its place was 'Reunion' and the subject matter was the 2004 tsunami.
I have to say that I've rather had my fill of disasters, tragedy and catastrophe and I turned it off before the programme got fully underway. So you may think that my book recommendation this week is also poorly timed.
'When the Dust Settles' is a memoir of a woman tasked with dealing with the aftermaths of disasters.
I received an advance copy of the book some weeks ago and devoured it. When I enthused about it to friends at the time, I had some strange looks. I'm pleased to say that now that the book has been released, it has received a flurry of good reviews and has been the Radio Four Book of the Week.
The book is brilliant, in my opinion, because far from dwelling on or detailing what are of course horrific and harrowing situations, the author clearly exhibits such empathy and insight that knowing she is at work in these places is strangely soothing, reassuring and uplifting.
It was good to hear from someone who is calm and compassionate, skilled and knowledgeable, who knows how to lead well. And it was frustrating to hear of the times when she had been thwarted because of people who felt they knew better yet had none of her years of experience or study. It's a beautifully written book. I hope you'll give it a try.