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People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine…

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

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,430400472 (3.93)742
Title:People of the Book: A Novel
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Penguin Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 372 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Paperback

Work details

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2008)

  1. 154
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  2. 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.
  3. 61
    The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (mrstreme)
    mrstreme: Similar history of how museum workers scrambled to save pieces of art during wartime
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    Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (Johanna11)
  5. 32
    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.
  6. 10
    Fugitive Blue by Claire Thomas (merry10)
    merry10: An imagined history of a 15th Century panel.
  7. 10
    The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman (VivianeoftheLake)
  8. 21
    A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (Ciruelo)
  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. 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)
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    The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park (Smiler69)
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    A Delightful Compendium of Consolation by Burton L. Visotzky (Osbaldistone)
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    The Thief of Time by John Boyne (Booksloth)
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    The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery by Enrique Joven (Osbaldistone)

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» See also 742 mentions

English (391)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (400)
Showing 1-5 of 391 (next | show all)
great read following a Haggada back in time to the 1400s to the present when it is found in Syria. ( )
  lindaspangler | Oct 14, 2016 |
I thought the historical parts were good, but when the story switched to the modern it was at times tepid, especially the romance. ( )
  charlie68 | Aug 30, 2016 |
I appreciated the historical background throughout the stories, but didn't really care for the narrative or any of the characters. I found it hard to make myself sit down and read this book, and was excited to finish so I could move on to something else. I probably would have enjoyed a well researched monograph on the real Haggadah more. ( )
  aclaybasket13 | Jul 29, 2016 |
“People of the Book” takes us back in time through the pages of a book, literally. An extremely old book turns up in Sarajevo and the United Nations asks a neutral Australian book conservationist examine it. The conservator, Hanna, finds herself in a war zone under the watchful gaze of six guards. As she examines the book she discovers tiny physical clues. She researches the known history of the book and examines the pages with wonder. The clues don’t make much sense to Hanna, but Brooks takes the reader deep into how the butterfly wing, the cat hair, the salt crystals and the wine stain came to be in the book through the historical characters who put them there.

It turns out the book is quite well-traveled and has passed from Jewish to Muslim to Christian hands throughout the centuries as it traveled from Spain to Italy, Austria and Bosnia.

I loved learning how each clue came to be in the book, through its own story. It was like reading a book of short stories about a book.
  barefootcowgirl | Jul 29, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 391 (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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There, where one burns books,
one in the end, burns men. 

-- Heinrich Heine
For the librarians
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I might as well say, right from the jump: it wasn't my usual kind of job.
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 (2)

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.
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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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