Seeing the world in 1922, Hollywood icons, and a powerful example of forgiveness

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.

 The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery 

Torquay Postcard

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 NotebooksThe 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).

Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grant

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.

In the Presence of My Enemies

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.

One thought on “Seeing the world in 1922, Hollywood icons, and a powerful example of forgiveness

  1. Dear Julia,
    Its good that you read “In the presence of my enemies” by Gracia Burnham. This is just one part of the story that is just one tiny part of the iceberg. The actual truth of the group Abu Sayyaf is not about islamic struggle or anything. ITS ABOUT MONEY ! In actual truth, these bunch of guys knows nuts about Islam nor religion at all. They are just mercenaries with some basic military training & will do anything for CASH. The tragic truth that Gracia went thru was hell, not just from the Abu Sayyaf group but also the Philipines army too. The actual truth of ransom could have been negotiated thru a smaller sums but the “Greed” of all parties involved kept the captive days longer & more complicated as “Filtering” involves from top to bottom, both government & terrorist group plus some so called third parties too acting as negotiators. Its a damn degrading wolf in a sheep’s skin & the real victims are the hostages & the actual organization provided the payment.
    The hostages has become a product of exchange, the rescue troops had no intention of leaving any surviving hostages as their intentions was to hunt down the ransom money which was paid & in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf. It was alleged that about USD23 million was paid & only about USD7 million were transported. The rest is missing somehow, greed kills hostages & some of the Abu Sayyaf members.
    No body question the actual truth how & when Abu Sayyaf was born. The actual truth is, Malaysian & Indonesian government plus the CIA did involved with the association of Abu Sayyaf. It was well funded with a creation to fight the Soviet in Afganistan but when the Soviet pull out, these mercenaries began biting their masters as funds could have run low. Liberations for Southern Philipines ? No way josh ! Its somehow this group did was asking for pay day, that’s all. Prior to the kidnappings, these terrorist leaders was spotted in the capital of Sabah (Malaysia) closely linked with Malaysian politicians & reported that all of them (terrorist) do have proper Malaysian citizenship ID & travel documents.
    Rings some bells ?

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