Posted by on January 11, 2011 in other things | 5 comments

 I was going to talk about some things I wanted to do this year, but then I watched this, and now I don't think I will! 

Okay, well, I'll talk about one little goal I have this year, mostly because I'm pretty sure this one won't be a problem to fulfill. I've been keeping a little bit better track of what I've been reading, thanks to GoodReads, and it turns out I read fifty-some books last year. That's not too shabby, but I can do better, both in number of books read, and keeping track. I've often been guilty of devouring a book and then, once I set it aside, completely forgetting half of what I read. So, part one of my goal is to enter all books in GoodReads and then rate it when I'm done and add at least a brief review. I'll also share longer reviews here of the titles thought were particularly good.

I've also decided to up the number of books I read this year to 65, which is really a suggestion from Michael of the Books on the Nightstand podcast (which, by the way, is excellent for all you book lovers out there. If you haven't listened, I suggest subscribing right away!) to read +11 in '11. I just rounded to 65 since I know I missed listing some last year. I decided that since my sister thinks I don't read enough non-fiction that I would make those 11 additional books non-fiction titles. GoodReads also added a nifty feature this year to help you set and track reading goals.

Another thing helping me read more is a new toy from Mr. HeyLucy (who sacrificed his own Christmas money, combined it with mine and insisted I get it), it's a nifty little Nook Color, and I've really been enjoying using it to read anywhere and everywhere. I don't buy many books, because our bookshelves are full, but I've always got a library book or three laying around, as well as constant requests waiting to be checked out, and I'm excited that I'll now be able to check out ebooks as well. I've read lots of books on my phone, so this bigger screen is really luxurious. And there are plenty of free and bargain books to download as well.

And now, how about a book recommendation? The last book I read in 2010 was The Bells , by Richard Harvell. It was a perfect way to end the year-with one that I think will be a favorite for a long time to come. 


The Bells begins in a small Swiss village, where the bells in the church tower are so loud they can only be rung by a deaf woman, who comes down from the hills and dwells in the belfry. She has a child, and the villagers and parish priest assume that the boy, too, is deaf. When the priest discovers that is is not the case, he is so angry  he takes the child and throws him into the river, certain that he will die. The boy is rescued by two passing monks, who aptly name him Moses and take him back to their abbey. There he becomes a prodigy of the strange choirmaster, Ulrich, who decides he must preserve Moses' beautiful voice. What follows is the story of his life as a castrati, abhorred in his native Switzerland, and exalted in the music capitals of Italy and Austria. I don't want to give any more of the story away, I will leave it to you to discover. 

I loved the way Harvell captured the physical feelings of pure, beautiful sound. His language is sensuous and beautiful. Even the most painful scenes reverberated with the feelings of hearing, not just with the ears, but the whole body. There are so many good passages, like this one from the beginning of the story:

"As my mother rang her bells, she tuned the fibers of her body as a violinist tunes his strings. There in her neck, she rings faintly with a part tone of the middle bell. There in her thighs, with another. In the bottom of her feet, I heard the strike tone of the smallest bell. Each tone, ringing in her flesh, was itself the faintest echo of the vast concert. I cannot remember my mother's face, but I remember this landscape of her sounds. And though I have no likeness with which I might recall her, when I close my eyes and hear her body ringing with those bells, it is as though I have a portrait in my hands."

I love the sound as memory imagery. The Bells is highly re-readable, which is high praise indeed. 

Please share any good book recommendations in the comments, I have 65 books to read this year!


  1. If you need suggestions for non-fiction, you know who to ask!
    I might need to put The Bells on my To-Read list.

  2. I've already been looking at your books on GoodReads for ideas. What's with all the chinese books? 
    I think you will enjoy The Bells, there were parts that were hard to read, but it was worth it.

  3. Congrats on the nookcolor! I got a nook as a lovely Christmas present also! i have spurts of reading. i have quite a few books but never seem to finish them all. i have decided to work on that this year also. read all of my current books and i love the idea of being able to keep track of them! then work on building up my nook collection. Best of luck to you and your reading. 🙂

  4. I have just purchased a Nook and our book club selection this month is the Bells by Richard Harvell. What I’ve read so far is enchanting but I’m trying to hold off buying it from until I know its not available as a free ebook. Is it possible to find this as a free ebook anywhere? Can you recommend any websites or libraries?

  5. Have you checked your local library's website? I just got my first ebook from my county library, I need to download and add it to my nook tonight. I ended up buying The Bells on my nook, even though it was a little pricey (I don't like to pay over $9.99 for any ebooks, it just seems like a ripoff to pay more!), but I had been wanting to read it for awhile, so I treated myself. 
    If you have a website or review a lot of books somewhere online (maybe GoodReads or Amazon?) see if you can join It's a site for publishers to share ARC (Advanced Readers Copies) of upcoming releases. I joined and have been able to get quite a few books. You look through lists of available books by genre or publisher, and then request what interests you. Then it's up to the publishers to approve or disapprove your request! There's a bunch of stuff to wade through, but I've found a few things that I think might be good. 
    You can also do a search in the nook store for 0.00 and everything available for free will come up. I haven't found a lot that interests me, except for some classics that will be nice to have. 
    Good luck! 

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