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INTEGRITY: A Compelling Novel ~Anna Borgeryd

February 8th, 2016

“A compelling novel that brings the big picture of climate change, economic greed and runaway inequality down to a deeply personal level through the story of a relationship between a woman and a man.”  Dr. Vandana Shiva, Environmentalist and author

I could not put INTEGRITY down.  All 500 pages held my interest and it is proving to be an amazing educational tool because of the parameters of a real love story between and man and a woman who are honest and smart.  Great political truth telling.

It began as a screenplay and then expanded into a novel and is now translated into English. It is being shared on all the book sites and I am extremely pleased to say that Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.  tracked me down and asked me to review this book.  Due to a typo, 2 copies of the book were sent to the wrong address and then not returned to the Post Office or sender and Meryl Zegarek still sent me a third copy for review.  I love political books, environmental books,  and taking a good hard look at what the USA is doing from the outside worldview.  Our financial markets and strategies are working against what people want and many, many more of us are having our mortgages sold to people who do not care if we fall or the market fails, which it is destined to do. Greed is blinding.

I loved the students working on defining Hedge Funds and Naked Buys and how the system was intended to work for the betterment of our welfare and instead how it is destroying our future instead. GREED and ILLUSION explored. I loved the honesty of the student’s enthusiasm; the working through of their thinking, their process of gaining integrity in their relationships and in their presentations.   No wonder this book is becoming a “Cult Novel” in Sweden and now here.

Anna Borgeryd on Facebook
Anna Borgeryd Blog

From NC Review.com:  “Anna Borgeryd is a musician and filmmaker, has a Ph.D. in conflict management and is chair of the family business, Polarbro-d. She has been an advisor to the Swedish government’s Future Commission, and given a TEDx lecture on The Dawn of a New Economy  http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/The-dawn-of-a-new-economy-Anna;search%3AAnna%20Borgeryd. Named one of the most influential environmentalists in Sweden, Anna has just published her first novel, ‘INTEGRITY’-a love story between a woman trying to change the world, and a man trying to change with her.”

From the book cover:

“Vera is a nurse from Sweden who, while delivering a baby in the Colombian jungle, meets indigenous people with a wholly different outlook of life.  A traumatic experience forces her home, where the quest to put her life back together becomes tired up with her search for a more sustainable world.

“She meets the womanizing heir to a luxury travel company.  Could such opposites really attract?  And could they actually work together to find a fix for an economic system heading towards meltdown?

“An exploration of the interconnectedness of human life and an unexpected love story, INTEGRITY delves deep into the choices and emotions of a woman trying to change the world – and a man trying to change with her.”

I want everyone I know to read INTEGRITY.  I want everyone to read INTEGRITY. I want INTEGRITY to be a cult book here in the USA.  We all need to read this book.

Related:
How To Be Alive
When Women Were Birds
He, She, It
The Shock Doctrine


MY SWEET VIDALIA: A Novel ~Deborah Mantella

February 1st, 2016

With a character name like Vidalia, I knew I was reading a Southern novel and so I prepared for some fairly scary scenes and painful moments.   MY SWEET VIDALIA was the retelling of a classic Southern scenario of poverty; racism and ignorance with a few bright and optimistic characters that kept the book moving forward and offered some relief from the negative environment of the 1950s.

The writing was very good and the dialect was well captured.  I was glad that the book did not drag out into epic dimensions and Vidalia did find a redemptive quality in the end of the story to express and to prove herself to be compassionate and not so “dumb” as her background would lead you to believe.  Her capacity to grow and develop kept me reading all the way through.  Whew!  That was a relief.

I liked the story and felt the discomfort of being outside the events and not being able to cajole or persuade Vidalia to move on and let go of her trials.  How does one move someone out of such ignorance when they do not know any better?  In the beginning of the story, young Vidalia falls in love with a slimy fellow who plays on her naiveté, then marries her when she becomes pregnant and beats her growing baby out of her womb too early for survival.   Vidalia finds a way to keep her baby with her through the whole story and this “spirit child” becomes her support system.

On the cover of the book Susan Crawford, author of The Pocket Wife says
“ From its beautiful first words to its satisfying ending, MY SWEET VIDALIA is a unique, enchanting read.     Exquisite language, a cast of robust characters, and a solid and compelling plot keep readers captivated as Mantella straddles the thin line between poetry and prose, reality and either, fragility and strength.  With a deft and gentle hand, she navigates us through the travails of an impoverished young mother guided by her intrepid spirit child.”

I would place this story high up on the scale of good reads and a great weekend of escape reading, which took me back to my school days in the Deep South.  It was still a relief to leave these characters back in the 1950s and early 60s and find comfort in my more progressive environment of home.   I worked as a social worker in the South in the 70s and 80s and I am hard pressed to even think about returning for a visit.  I am sure my experiences prejudiced my reading of this story.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this well-written story for review.

From the cover:
“A transplant to the South, Deborah Mantella has lived and taught in various cities in the Northeast and the Midwest.  Now a resident of Georgia she lives outside Atlanta with her husband.  Mantella is a member of the Atlanta Writers Club, the Author’s Guild, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators.  This is her first novel.”

Deborah Mantella Website
Deborah Mantella Facebook

Related:
The Wonder of All Things
The Mapmaker’s Children
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter
Flight Behavior


HOW TO BE ALIVE: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps The World ~Colin Beavan – Author of No Impact Man

January 28th, 2016

“Colin’s work is about asking us to think about what makes us truly happy and what’s really important in our lives.” – Arianna Huffington

I was expecting a self-help book when I agreed to review HOW TO BE ALIVE for TLC Book Tours.  And yes, it is a self-help book and also one, which challenges the reader to know that as you help yourself you will also help others – you can change the world with one small step and repeat one small step strategies.  The author says: “That’s what this book is about – the quest for a joyous and meaningful life while living in a frightening, confusing world that needs our help.”

It is good to start this kind of living journey by knowing who you are and what is your life purpose.  The book is also a beginning workbook to assess those parts of your life and how they manifest.  Beavan also offers a free workbook one can download off his website – no lie, this is good stuff found here.  You probably will not be abandoning your cubicle after the first chapter but rather you will be writing down on paper the lists of happy moment in your life and remembering just how fabulous they felt.  How good you felt in various situations and experiences, which assist in your definition of self and how you could live a values driven life.

Early on in my life I embraced Voluntary Simplicity and a Green Lifestyle.  Our family uses bicycles and lived with only one car.  We walked the 50 minutes to school with the children and also to tennis lessons and soccer.  We grew lots of our food, shopped the farmer’s market and the free-trade store.  We worked at the food coop and did very little shopping. Our home had solar panels, and nothing toxic in the building materials.   I learned a great deal from HOW TO BE ALIVE even though I left the traditional work role early on and embraced alternative work early in life.   Actually, we live in a community that has a giant alternative life-style membership; lots of green living folks, and I still found more to learn and discuss from reading and working with this book.   Beavan also opened up my thinking about alternative folks in New York City and even in Texas – yes!  They do indeed exist.

Right in the middle of the book I discovered a quote from Kim Woodbridge, who is a blogging/Facebook friend from Philadelphia!   Delightful!

“Lifequester = Someone who tries to under stand her True Nature and uses that understanding to make a better life for herself and others.” (author)

There are lots of quotes from Religious leaders, political leaders, and famous souls and the writing is gently informative laced with great stories and examples.  There are good references and referrals to other projects and individual’s work.  I could have spent a month on this book alone; what a dynamic way to start the New Year without making resolutions and feeling better about one’s self with each section perused.  I would highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if one wishes to find more happiness and even more happiness for the whole world.  It will resonant and activate lots of tiny steps to leave the world a better place for all.

Colin Beavan
Colin Beavan Facebook

From the book, About the Author:
Writer and social change activist COLIN BEAVAN attracted international attention for his yearlong lifestyle-redesign project and the wildly popular book, No Impact Man, and the Sundance-selected documentary film that it inspired.  He has appeared on Nightline, Good Morning America, The Colbert Report, The Montel Williams Show and NPR, and his story has been featured in news outlets from Time Magazine to the New York Times.  A sought after speaker, he also consults with businesses on improving eco-friendly and human-centered practices.  He is the founder of the No Impact Project and a dharma teacher in Kwan Um School of Zen.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

“This is the book where self-help turns into helping the world – and then turns back into helping yourself find a better life. Fascinating and timely!” –Bill McKibben

Related:
Healing and Prevention Through Nutrition
Eat To Live
The Pocket Guide To Manifesting
Code To Joy


NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW: A Memoir ~Maggie Kneip

January 24th, 2016

“The Perfect Husband, His Shattering Secret; My Rediscovered Life”

McKinney PR, LLC (Larissa Ackerman | Claire McKinney PR, 41 Main Street Suite B, Chester, NJ 07930) sent me a copy of this book for review and it is quite the read about holding on to a secret for 20 years, denying a segment of a life and keeping a mythology alive.

“This is a book I just inhaled, I could not put it down… It will resonate with every woman who has something to hide – and that is most of us, myself included.” (Magee Hickey, News Reporter, WPIX-TV New York, cover)

Maggie Kneip was married to her dream husband and was the mother of 2 very young children when her husband collapsed and spent several years getting every cold that came along; having just one medical problem after the other. They finally got a diagnosis – AIDS.  When Kneip’s partner, before he was her partner, he had worked in Los Angeles and had explored the Gay lifestyle.  Now he was an editor at the Wall Street Journal and very highly respected and funny; giftedly bright.  He had tumors in his brain and an AIDS dementia, swollen legs, and a list of other problems.  Their son was less than a year old, and their 3-year-old daughter just could not understand.  He was dying and Maggie had to find a job and support her two children.

AIDS was a fairly unknown disease and the general population was very frightened, Maggie and the children were not carriers and did not have the disease, but they were discriminated against just the same because of the fear and the stigma.  The daughter shared about her Father at school and the other parents banded together to get her removed.  A conspiracy of silence began to keep the children safe from these attacks.  This silence left a big hole in the family until the family began sharing their story and Kneip began participating in creating awareness and support for other women on the AIDS journey. 20 years of silence.

It is a commanding read and quite an educational tool for informing and lessening the fear factor for others.

“Maggie Kneip was one of this country’s hidden women…who kept her husband’s deadly secret for more than two decades…Now she opens up for the first time in this stunning, beautifully written, and important book.”  (Joanne Lipman, journalist, editor, and co-author of Strings Attached – cover)

About the Author:

“Maggie Kneip is a veteran of the publishing industry, with more than two decades in publicity and marketing at Bertelsmann, Scholastic Inc., and Abrams Books.  She has performed as a singer at such Manhattan clubs as the Laurie Beechman Theatre and the Metropolitan Room.  Learn more about her at www.maggiekneip.com

Related:
Hidden Inheritance
Whistling Women
The Long Goodbye
The Bounce