I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading this month and hope to keep it up, although I usually feel that way at the beginning of the year and find myself doing far less by mid-year. Since it is the last day of the month I’d thought I’d share a few thoughts about the books I’ve started this month as well as the ones I’ve managed to finish. Although I love reading books about Christianity (good ones to learn from them and bad ones to critique), this month I read quite a few books that have little or nothing to do with Christianity as well. For whatever reason this month seems to be a biography heavy month for me.
My parents gave The Grand Tour for Christmas, since they are well aware of my Agatha Christie obsession. My mother actually visited Torquay, England, with me several years ago because I was determined to see the town my favorite mystery writer was born in. I have dozens of Christie books and just before the holidays I had finished reading John Curran’s book Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks. The Grand Tour is made up of letters she wrote while on a ten-month voyage around the world in 1922. It also includes many pictures she took while touring South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Canada. It’s been a treat to read so far, although I haven’t finished it quite yet (I’m in the Hawaii section of her trip).
I am generally wary of reading about famous people. As a film lover I’m afraid that learning the truth about an actor or actress’s life will somehow spoil their movies for me. For that reason, I was nervous to read this, since Cary Grant is a movie icon and my favorite actor of all time. Once I started reading I couldn’t put this book down, and since I was reading it on my Kindle app on my phone that meant I couldn’t put my phone down! Dyan Cannon’s account of how she met Cary, how he wooed her, and then how their marriage eventually fell apart was at first beautiful, but ultimately a sad and tragic tale. Grant had many incredible qualities, but he was also a wounded man in many respects. What made me saddest though was that he thought he found God through tripping on LSD and continued to take LSD in order to feel close to him. Sadly, like many others the god he found wasn’t the one true God. The God who revealed himself to us through the Bible.
Gracia Burnham’s true tale of her capture, along with her husband, by Islamic radicals in the Philippines, is incredible. I’m just sorry I didn’t read it sooner. Gracia is unflinchingly honest about the hardship they endured and her personal struggles with doubt, feelings of depression, anger and more. That God has enabled her to view the Abu Sayyaf as people still in need of a Savior, and that the foundation she now runs partners with people who minister to prisoners in the Philippines at the very prison some of the Abu Sayyaf are incarcerated is a incredible example of forgiveness and love.