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

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,637360567 (3.93)676
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

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    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    The Books of Rachel by Joel Gross (StarryNightElf)
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    merry10: An imagined history of a 15th Century panel.
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    The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park (Smiler69)
  10. 22
    Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (CatyM)
    CatyM: 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.
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    A Delightful Compendium of Consolation by Burton L. Visotzky (Osbaldistone)
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    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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» See also 676 mentions

English (350)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (360)
Showing 1-5 of 350 (next | show all)
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. Medieval Jewish history is my passion, so I was disappointed in the scenes set in Spain. With all the wonderful things that happened during this Golden Age, why do so many authors insist on an inquisition torture scene? The relationship between the heroine and her mother also bothered me; I didn't see why it had to be so negative, how this improved the plot in any way. The scenes in Austria and Croatia were much more interesting.

Maggie Anton
www.rashisdaughters.com ( )
  Maggie.Anton | Jul 18, 2014 |
Interesting story about a book that was created in the 16th century. A book specialist has the job of authenticating it's contents. It was well done especially the parts of the past and how the book was damaged and it's travels over the many centuries. ( )
  janismack | Jul 9, 2014 |
Amazing. ( )
  reginacorley | Jul 8, 2014 |
Fantastic historical novel. It reminded me of James Michener in the way that the author, Geraldine Brooks, follows an artifact through time. Here, though, the story also follows the artifact through the repeated violent oppression of a people. The method that the author chose to follow the book is fascinating. The main character in the frame story is a conserver of ancient manuscripts, and as she's examining the Sarajevo Haggadah, she notices certain traits and minuscule items in the book that have accumulated in it through the years. The novel then follows each of those items to find its origin, as well as having the frame character speculate, often incorrectly, about the origin. I would love to give this book 5 stars, but it seemed to clumsily rely on sex to portray a deep intimacy between characters. I found the sex scenes a bit too much in the style of a pulp romance, and that detracted both from the quality of the story and my respect for the characters. Why would a devout Muslim woman and a devout Catholic woman in the 15th century fall into a lesbian sexual relationship? Why would a world renowned book conservator fall so quickly into a sexual relationship with a client? I'd much rather see those relationships blossom without the crutch of sex. For me, those inconsistencies knock it down to 4 1/2 stars. The best parts of the book were the historical sections, where we get a glimpse of the treatment of people of Jewish and Muslim faiths through the centuries through stories of individual lives. ( )
1 vote sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
As an archivist, I have to say, thank goodness someone writing about libraries/archives/museums actually sat down and learned a bit about how we do our work before writing about it. If I have to read another book in which pages are ripped out of centuries old documents or thousand year old scrolls are kept in a glass bookcase in a cave in Ireland, I'm going to scream. But Brooks actually seemed to know what she was talking about. The fact that Hanna was -far- too young to be that advanced in the profession (a fact I simply chalked up to her over-privileged upbringing granting her opportunities to take risks and get experience the rest of us can only dream of - rant for another day) aside, she read like a real conservator and I appreciated that.

The historical background stories were also interesting. In some ways, they were more compelling than Hanna's own dramas. I'm sure if Hanna herself were a real person, though, she would agree with that assessment.

I must admit I found the ending a touch rushed and implausible, but I'm willing to forgive it because I wanted more than anything for Hanna to find that signature and that's all that really matters. ( )
  addictivelotus | May 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 350 (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.
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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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