Monday, July 16, 2012

What I've Been Reading

Biography:  Last week I found some great books at the thrift store including I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh and Richard Schneider.  This is the story of a prominent and wealthy Muslim Pakistani women who converts to Christianity in the 1960's.  It was extremely thought provoking and challenging.  (Although, quite honestly, I'm still working through some of her theology.)

What I learned:  Bilquis lived in a country where living as a Christian could - and did - get her in trouble.  However, she read her Bible and did what it said.  No matter the cost.  Do I do that?  Or do I say, "Yes, I agree but..." dragging my feet all the way.  Very convicting.

Mysteries:  I always like a good mystery especially one written with an British accent.  I've read several Agatha Christie books lately.  At Betram's Hotel contains the elderly, unassuming and apparently scatterbrained Miss Marple who rises to the challenge in the end and brilliantly untangles the mystery.  And then the Hercules Poirot mysteries - The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Appointment with Death, and Curtain.  In contrast to Miss Marple, Poirot is egotistically brilliant throughout and one expects him to solve it.  Which he does.  Every time.

Somehow I ended up reading the book containing Poirot's first case and then the book containing his last Poirot book.  (They're not numbered.  I just picked up whatever my library had on the shelf.)  In the first book, Poirot says very frequently, "I do not approve of murder."  I am assuming he says it all throughout his series. However, in an ironic finale to the series, Poirot's last act before he dies is do murder the murderer.      

What I learned:  Something I already knew and tell my girls all the time.  Every author writes from their worldview.  Even fiction.  Actually, especially fiction because it is more easily woven into characters without being preachy.  Figure out what it is and filter it through a Biblical worldview.  In Poirot's grand finale, Curtain, the end justified the means.  He doesn't approve of murder and therefore he has to stop it by committing murder.  His actions were justified because his motives were supposedly good.  That's not to say that every author espouses the values of their characters, but  it is a good caution nonetheless.

Historical Fiction:    The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Eleanor George Speare is set in a Puritan village in colonial Connecticut.  I was reading this to preview it for my daughter for next year.  It was a great book and I finished it quickly.  My daughter will be doing a literature study on it and I know she will have a hard time reading it slowly.  (Oh, maybe I should just tell her what happens...)

What I learned:   Don't judge a book by its title.  I think I had this book on the shelf once before and got rid of it because of the title.  That was foolish; I should have read it first.    

Misc. -  I'm doing a lot of history and science reading in preparation for school next year.  I'm also slowly working through A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot and Spiritual Disciples for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney.  I'm also reading aloud a Boxcar Children book to my six year old and The Fallacy Detective to my twelve year old.

Ah, reading.  One of the things I enjoy most about summer.  :-)


  1. We did the almost the same thing with the witch of Blackbird Pond-But we found out it is really good. Have you read The Bronze Bow by the same author? How's BBC? We're missing you here. Karis said she wants to call Maddy sometime-we'll have to work that out.

    1. Yes, I read the Bronze Bow years ago and really liked it. Michaela loves the book Calico Captive which is one of the reasons she picked The Witch of Blackbird Pond to do a literature study on.

      We miss you guys beyond belief!! I'll have to get Skype up and running again. I haven't used it in a couple of years. :-( Maddy wrote a letter to Karis last week and said, "Wow! Won't the mailman be surprised that he has to take this all the way to NC!." I took the opportunity to explain the mail system and that our mailman didn't deliver the letter himself. The letter still hasn't been mailed, though, as it was unconventionally stuffed and I need to redo it.

      Say hi to everyone.

  2. Wow, you are a reader! I do that too, judge a book by it's cover or title. That is probably why I've never read that book and wondered why it was even offered in "Christian" curriculum. Glad to hear I miss-judged it. :) I have a bunch of books on my book table right now too -- I hate that. I usually can only read one at a time, I'm so sequential. haha

    1. Well, I read when I have time. There are many months during the school year that I don't read much at all!

      The Witch of Blackbird Pond takes place in the Puritan days when witch hunts were all too common. In this story, a elderly Quaker lady lives by Blackbird Pond and falls under the suspicion of the Puritan community. When a sickness hits the village, she is blamed. But, in reality, their own prejudice led them to that conclusion and not anything that she has done.

      What books are in your stack?

    2. Oh, Hi Jenn. Sorry, I just saw your reply. I've been away from the computer a lot lately, working on our mud/laundry room - glad that's almost done. I see you found my new page of books at my blog so now you know what's on my reading stack. Now if only I could sit still for a while and actually read. Thanks for the explaination of the Blackbird Pond book. It sounds good.