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INTEGRITY: A Compelling Novel ~Anna Borgeryd

Monday, 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.

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

So Far Away By ~Christine W. Hartmann

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

So Far Away - TLC tour info

So Far Away is a book that needs to cross the path of anyone who still has senior parents alive and well.  It may not be so comforting to those who in the throws of senior caregiving, but then it just might be reassuring that one is not alone.

This is a personal story about the end of two lives and how they differed and how their child dealt with their wishes and worked to comply and understand how the system worked.  It is the personal story of the author.

It is a loving story and exhausting; without a great plan A, B, and C it is just the kind of thing which will occur and be repeated many, many times.

Her parents were divorced when she was 9 years old and Hartman and her 8-year-old brother lived with their father; their mother lived in an apartment a few blocks away.  They were well loved but with both parents working as Engineers, they had many hours a day on their own.  Working hard at schoolwork was their best endeavor between them.  This arrangement emphasized the differences between their parents, who were immigrants from East Germany, and stopped the constant fighting.

Hartman’s mother was disciplined, organized, plain and controlled.  She was trained as a technician and always wished she had more education so studied on her own.  She had a small heart episode in her younger adult years, so walked regularly and ate an extremely healthy diet.  It was during her older years on these walks that Hartman and her mother talked and became close.

It was during these walks, that her mother revealed that she was planning on committing suicide before her 70th birthday so that she could die with health, not become a burden to her children, and to have taken care of her “ things”.  She was studied and organized.  She did end her own life.

This knowledge became a psychological burden to her daughter, who became anxious about it, and with good sense began regular counseling sessions and group grief work.   During her doctoral studies she even lived with her mother, and they found a closeness and understanding that was extraordinary.

Her father on the other hand was a bit more undisciplined.  Yes, he had selected a Quaker retirement community / assisted living center and he purchased a condominium for when he was ready to downsize.  But an early stroke, one of three made the decisions for him.  He kept putting it off and not talking about his wishes, then had the first stroke, recovering enough to get into the condo only to have another massive stroke and lay of the floor undiscovered for several days.

The burden of care fell to the author as this stroke rendered a personality change into a person who was hard to control, excitable, anxious, belligerent and needed constant care.

The time line of her father’s story was often confusing, but in the end it did not matter; the ever present exhaustion and fatigue of the author fed into all the decisions she needed to make and the 4 days a week of driving to the centers to make decisions and support her father’s life.  He was unclear about what he wanted and then medical people ignored the personal directives because they were unclear.

All the “stuff” had to be decided again and again.  Her brother was helpful as he could be, but he had a family of his own and lived further away.

It is a beautiful life changing story and extremely personal.  I believe the author’s social work background provided insights; the book was not full of research or programs or even advice, it was primarily just her story.

I believe we will be seeing more of these books as the baby boom generations dives into this area of their lives.  I think death and taking care of seniors is going to be a huge issue;  as folks shoulder more and more of the burdens and less and less of the joy of this part of life and living.

There was no discussion of a financial burden as part of this memoir.

Will your parent be organized or disciplined?  Will your parent be willing to have the tough conversations?  Where will the care funds come from and who will be responsible?  Tough questions with no crystal ball on which to rely.

I am not going to rate this book on my scale because I think it is an important subject matter and folks will benefit from reading this personal story

Related Reading:
AARP Planning Guide for Talking with Parents (AARP)
The Long Goodbye
The Smartest Women I Know
The Art of Racing in the Rain

I did receive a copy of this book from Vanderbilt University Press and TLC online book tours, but received no financial remuneration for the review.

tlc logo

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Abundance Alchemy: Journey of Gold ~Evelyn Lim

Monday, March 21st, 2011


Every January my colleagues go on a retreat to refresh and renew their spirits and energies for the work ahead.  They also get together to break bread and share with others working in the same field.   This year was not so much about learning a new skill, but it was about how to support each other and listen to each other; so much of our time is spent listening and assisting the community we are employed by and we must make it our turn.

Not having an in- person community with regular financial support coming in and benefits, means that I must find this support and retreat myself.   In 2010, I chose to support myself by taking 6 days of silence, journal writing, and listening in 2-day increments.   I also added several phone calls to Davina at Shades of Crimson, to speak out about my explorations and to make connections – accountability.

I was quite saddened to not be able to attend the retreat this year.  I am a person of action so I began designing my own retreat and renewal process.  By being open to the subtle hints from the universe several wonderful opportunities presented themselves.  One was a vision board on Abundance Tapestry, which I completed, another was realizing that I was stuck, and the third was remembering that I had purchased Evelyn Lim’s recently published book.

The content of the book was not startlingly new material.  It was the old journey wrapped up in a new context.  It was created around the Alchemist’s journey of turning base metal into gold and reaping the rewards.  The book is written by someone who has obviously taken this journey through all the steps and depths necessary to find a level of success from which to encourage others.  The book is graceful in its language and approach; one still has to do the work, but it just feels like a worthwhile task to embark upon.

Lim has taken the 5Cs of Singapore and translated them into the 5 Cs of self-discovery and success.  Lim has reintroduced us to our center and our power source.

I chose not to read the book  straight through in one sitting, because I have studied much of this material over the years and have kept many of the ideas as part of my regular practice.  Instead I used the book as my daily provoke before my walk, meditation, and prayer workout.   The format of the book lends itself very nicely to this style of reading and study.  There is a great deal of encouragement to take action and plenty of examples shared in story and fable form.  Quotes did not just start each section, but were appropriately placed in the guide to maximize and illustrate the specific point being made or being referenced.

The day my 20th rejection letter from my job-hunting pursuits arrived, I was very discouraged and angry.  I was definitely guided into feeling the full pain of this situation, then returned to the present, and enabled to use it as a visioning opportunity.  It opened my eyes and ears; I was listening to my true self and not wallowing in the mire of failed expectations.   I will keep this book nearby, because I believe it will be an ongoing resource and reference.

A few of my favorite quotes :

“Desires seek expression.”

“The blueprints of what we wish to create first start with thought.”

“Abundance is pure love.”

“To think is to fall short in the experiencing. Your mind can only hold partial memory.  Because thought is linear, it cannot comprehend the multi-dimensional nature of reality.  A mind that is constantly occupied with thoughts is not free and open.”

“To be trapped in illusion is never to be free.  Freedom is found in aligning with the truth.”

“Abundance is pure love energy in motion.”

I give this book a 5 ladybug rating:

And will keep it close at hand for further reference.

Have you ever been guided to pick up a book and it has been just the right read for that moment in time?  Do you have a special book you keep close as a reference?  One you like to read in the middle of the night if you can’t sleep?

Looking forward to your delightful comments.

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Related Reading you might also enjoy:
The Work of Everyday
The Courage to Be Free ~by Guy Finley
The Wisdom to Know the Difference ~Eileen Flanagan
3 Books and a Quick Look