August 2011

Bookshelf28 Aug 2011 11:24 pm

To Be Perfectly Honest – Phil Callaway

I didn’t expect to like this book – especially when I realized that Phil Callaway is a “Christian comedian.” It’s not that I dislike Christian comedians, I actually respect the difficulty they must face in treading that fine line between funny and family friendly. There’s a lot of pressure to be profane and a wealth of people who only respond to risque subject matter or the occasional curse word. I don’t envy that walk and, in fact, I’m pretty impressed at the stubbornness and perseverance. The truth is that it’s rare to find a comedian whose humor translates well to the written word.

With that in mind, I expected pages filled with bad puns and a rather disengaging gimmicky storyline. Shockingly enough the book has its fair share of puns, but between random pot-shot lines here and there, the real story unveiled a gripping reality that all the fruits of the spirit are intertwined. In fact, there are parts of this book that aren’t funny at all – and they’re not trying to be. This book about honesty reveals a man coming to grips with love, death, and forgiveness.

I’m not sure I’d like a Phil Callaway stand-up show, but I do have a healthy respect for the man revealed in the pages of this book, To Be Perfectly Honest.

[continue reading this post…]

Bookshelf16 Aug 2011 12:39 am

J.R.R. Tolkien – Mark Horne

Confession time. I’ve never read The Lord of the Rings trilogy all the way through. I know, I know. It’s absolutely crazy. Everybody and their mother have read those books. (Well, I’m not sure if my mother has read them, either.) I have read The Hobbit and at least some of the first book of the trilogy. (And I have watched the movies). I have fond memories of reading The Fellowship of the Ring while holding my son for his evening nap. And I’ve always meant to go back and finish the books, but never have.

Along those same lines, I didn’t know much about J.R.R. Tolkien before reading this biography. I knew of his relationship with C.S. Lewis (whom I have read a lot) and I knew the four key books of his career. That was about it. Having read this, I have a greater appreciation for the struggles he faced in mustering the confidence needed to write and get published. And gaining a clearer understanding of the vision that drove him to write is uniquely inspiring as well.

I did feel like the book was somewhat thin on details and what was presented was often repeated. Be that as it may, I’m glad that I read it and I suppose I have a renewed interest in revisiting those books. . . after I get through the other stack of books waiting to be read.

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf14 Aug 2011 10:55 am

George Washington Carver – John Perry

When I was much younger, I had a biography of George Washington Carver and, for some reason, I was curiously drawn to it. I must have read it at least a dozen times, whether because I felt inspired by it, felt a strange kinship with the Carver of the pages, or simply because I had been told it was my great-grandfather’s book. I even remember there being a few genaric tickets “hidden” in the back pages for which I concocted a complicated story explaining how they got there. Unfortunately, I don’t know where that book is anymore, but I was quite excited to come across a new biography on this symbol of innovation.

This time around, I’m certain it’s something of a kinship that draws me to Dr. Carver’s life story. While I certainly didn’t have nearly as difficult circumstances from which to rise above, we all experience difficult times. Carver’s attitude and persistence, which I can only hope to attain, is a clear indication that he had eternity written on his heart throughout his life, providing a healthy perspective on anything life had to offer – including the Great Depression.

But what really drew me into this biography, was the insight into Dr. Carver’s frustration over daily tasks, mismanagement, and the struggle to maintain focus despite being charged to split his efforts across several different tasks. Despite this frustration, Dr. Carver managed to keep his research moving forward, maintain his integrity, and find time amidst the distractions to fulfill his duties (for the most part). He did have his shortcomings and it really wasn’t until later – when the administrative pressure was off – that he truly blossomed and realized the potential of his research, but in that frustrating period of time – what I’ve called in my life “the time for marking time” – he developed character, routine, and laid the groundwork for what was to come. That’s a lesson I hope really settled in for me.

peace… love… bdg…