A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge

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“In my experience when people once begin to read they go on. They begin because they think they ought to and they go on because they must. Yes. They find it widens life. We’re all greed for life, you know, and our short span of existence can’t give us all that we hunger for, the time is too short and our capacity not large enough. But in books we experience all life vicariously.” -Elizabeth Goudge {A City of Bells}

I only recently began reading Elizabeth Goudge, and I must say that I’m really enjoying her books. A prolific author, she imbues her stories with a certain dreamy prose that keeps my fingers turning the pages. While her narratives are charming, she somehow manages to address life’s difficulties and disappointments in a way that doesn’t rob her stories of their joyful aurora. Her characters have imperfections, their lives have sorrows, and the story may be predictable, but all are woven together into charming tales that resonance with peace & hope.

What I especially enjoyed about A City of Bells is the homage to books and reading woven into the story. It’s also a great choice for a Christmas story, as a large part of the book takes place in winter around Christmastime.

A young man with a handicap returns to his hometown in England in the nineteenth century and despairs over finding a fulfilling life for himself. At the same time, an Italian writer who lives nearby has suddenly disappeared. Their lives merge in an inexplicable way, bringing hope and joy to both. Jocelyn uses the writer’s abandoned home to open a bookshop, and at the same time, inspiration for a story begins to come to him. But Jocelyn wrestles with the question of whether his inspiration arises from his newfound life, or is somehow coming to him from the missing Italian writer?

Merry Christmas, dear friends! Here’s hoping that your day is filled with the love & peace that qualifies this season. Below are some links to articles that I’ve enjoyed lately, and I hope you will like them as well.

The curious comforts of “In the Bleak Midwinter” on The Economist.

Tolkien’s lost Christmas poem, shared on a blog and originally reported in The Oxford Mail. I found this thanks to Nicole’s Facebook page. 

Until next time,

Shelbi

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p.s. Both photos was taken yesterday while I was out running last minute errands and took a coffee shop respite. Today I’m still in my pajamas, coffee and Christmas books nearby, and about to commence my gift wrapping. 

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