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People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine…
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People of the Book: A Novel (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,327395482 (3.93)739
Member:Chatterbox
Title:People of the Book: A Novel
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Penguin Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 372 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Fiction, Paperback

Work details

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2008)

  1. 153
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  2. 61
    The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (mrstreme)
    mrstreme: Similar history of how museum workers scrambled to save pieces of art during wartime
  3. 50
    Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both well written, and both follow an art object from end to beginning, through the hands of those who once owned it.
  4. 20
    Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (Johanna11)
  5. 10
    The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman (VivianeoftheLake)
  6. 10
    Fugitive Blue by Claire Thomas (merry10)
    merry10: An imagined history of a 15th Century panel.
  7. 21
    A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (Ciruelo)
  8. 00
    The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park (Smiler69)
  9. 11
    The Books of Rachel by Joel Gross (StarryNightElf)
    StarryNightElf: Epic saga tracing the path of an object connected to those of Jewish descent.
  10. 22
    Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (catherinestead)
    catherinestead: A very different style of book from a very different genre, but an interesting commentary on the corruption/misuse of religious faith which complements this book's treatment of the same theme.
  11. 00
    A Delightful Compendium of Consolation by Burton L. Visotzky (Osbaldistone)
  12. 00
    The Thief of Time by John Boyne (Booksloth)
  13. 00
    The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus by Owen Gingerich (oregonobsessionz)
    oregonobsessionz: This one may be a stretch, but anyone who read People of the Book for its historic and "books on books" aspects would probably enjoy The Book Nobody Read, a nonfiction account of an astronomer who seeks to account for all of the first and second editions of Copernicus' de Revolutionibus.… (more)
  14. 01
    The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery by Enrique Joven (Osbaldistone)
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English (386)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (395)
Showing 1-5 of 386 (next | show all)
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks 4 stars
This is a fictional history of an actual, ancient rare book known as the Sarajevo Haggadah. A series of short stories about previous owners, caretakers and creators of the book are loosely tied to the conservation efforts of an Australian rare book expert called Hanna Heath. This book has been much reviewed and I’d like to thank everyone on shelfari who recommended it. As with the Cellist of Sarajevo, I found the back story of the real book as interesting as the fictional account. I especially liked Brook’s use of female characters in her history of the book. Given that women would have had subservient roles throughout much of the history of the book, I liked that she was able to give so many characters powerful roles.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
After about 2/3 of this book, I wasn't thrilled with it. While it was well-written and an interesting fictionalization of a real-life story, I just wasn't attached to anything about it.

Well, when I got to the chapter on the origins of the haggadah, it all came together. The passion, the heart of the mystery, was finally in full blaze. I started to care about this medieval artifact as something real, rather than thinking they were spending time on an unusually pretty book that they'd never know much more about.

And that made a difference too: the protagonist, Hanna, has to imagine much of the life and travels of the book, but she does get the answer to the main question: who made it, when, and where? There was real satisfaction in that.

In fact, the last third was so redeeming that I'd like to read more adventures of Hanna Sharansky. This is my first book by Geraldine Brooks, so I don't know if she's revisited Hanna. But I will be looking to see if she has or does eventually.

I wouldn't recommend this to someone who didn't show interest in it at first; it's dry for so long that I think all but the dedicated would lose interest midway through. But for those who stick around to the end, it's worth it. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
A sacred jewish book, a Hagaddah, is being restored and it contains minute clues to its history. A dessicated butterfly wing, a short cats hair that had been used in a brush to paint the illuminated manuscript, salt crystals from splashed drops from the sea. Each is linked with a back story, going back 600 years. An interesting premise. The idea reminds me of E. Annie Proulx’s “Accordion Stories”. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
My favorite Geraldine Brooks book. Different from any book you'll read, and well written. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
About an archivist and book conservator on an adventure and about the remarkable history of a famous illuminated manuscript, the Sarajevo Haggadah, which sits now in the National Museum of Bosnia. Except, perhaps, for the superfluous love story, an exceptionally rich and well-researched weaving of adventurous narrative and the intricacies of the history and preservation of books. I look forward to her next work. ( )
  deckla | Apr 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 386 (next | show all)
While peering through a microscope at a rime of salt crystals on the manuscript of the Haggadah, Hanna reflects that “the gold beaters, the stone grinders, the scribes, the binders” are “the people I feel most comfortable with. Sometimes in the quiet these people speak to me.” Though the reader’s sense of Hanna’s relationship with the Haggadah rarely deepens to such a level, Geraldine Brooks’s certainly has.
 
Brooks' novel meticulously, lovingly amalgamates mystery and history with the personal story of its heroine, rare-book expert and conservator Hanna Heath.
 
If Brooks becomes the new patron saint of booksellers, she deserves it. The stories of the Sarajevo Haggadah, both factual and fictional, are stirring testaments to the people of many faiths who risked all to save this priceless work.
added by DieFledermaus | editUSA Today, Susan Kelly (Jan 9, 2008)
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geraldine Brooksprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wren, EdwinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There, where one burns books,
one in the end, burns men. 

-- Heinrich Heine
Dedication
For the librarians
First words
I might as well say, right from the jump: it wasn't my usual kind of job.
Quotations
The words stuck to his tongue like...the ashes that had fallen in a warm rain after the last book burning.
I wanted to give a sense of the people of the book, the different hands that had made it, used it, protected it.  I wanted it to be a gripping narrative, even suspenseful.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Hanna Heath, an Australian rare book expert, has been offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artificacts in its ancient binding -- an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair -- she begins to unlock the book's mysteries, ushering in its exquisite and atmospheric past, from its salvation back to its creation through centuries of exile and war.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

In 1996, Hanna Heath, a young Australian book conservator is called to analyze the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book that has been salvaged from a destroyed Bosnian library. When Hanna discovers a series of artifacts in the centuries' old, she unwittingly exposes an international cover up.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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