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People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

People of the Book (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,898374526 (3.94)704
Title:People of the Book
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Viking (2008), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 372 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Haggadah, Sarajevo, book conservators, mystery, multifaith

Work details

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2008)

  1. 153
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  2. 51
    The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (mrstreme)
    mrstreme: Similar history of how museum workers scrambled to save pieces of art during wartime
  3. 40
    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 (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.
  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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» See also 704 mentions

English (365)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (374)
Showing 1-5 of 365 (next | show all)
Fabulous! I loved the story, the fact that it is based on true events, & the writing style. I also enjoyed "Year of Wonders: a novel of the plague" by this author, and aticipate reading her novel "March" as well. ( )
  mfdavis | May 20, 2015 |
The narrative takes you right to the time and place and helps you feel what the characters are meant to feel. I loved this book. ( )
  CMiller600 | May 17, 2015 |
I dithered about whether to give this 4 or 5 stars. It's one of the better books I've read recently. The characters were all interesting and vivid and it spanned a lot of interesting history. The trouble was that all the research, the technical details of book restoration, the more or less obscure pieces of history, and other pieces of backstory, occasionally threatened to overwhelm the story itself. I enjoyed all of it, though, and am glad I finally got around to reading it. ( )
  Amelia_Smith | May 2, 2015 |
This is a framed story. The framing tale is that of Dr. Hanna Heath, a fictional character tasked with documenting and taking appropriate conservation measures regarding the Haggadah, one of the oldest illustrated Jewish works, after its rediscovery (the book had been rescued during the fighting in Sarajevo and kept in a bank vault). As Hanna discovers clues left in the book-- a fragment of an insect wing, salt crystals, a wine stain, and a strand of hair, she is concurrantly learning more about her own past through tumultuous interactions with her mother as they cross paths in various countries. Throughout the book chapters tell the story of how each of these items came to rest in the Haggadah, the creation of the Haggadah, and memorable events in its history that have left traces in the work.

As a bibliophile, a novel in part about bibliophiles is a joy to read. The care for old manuscripts as works of art, and the small international community that works with these pieces is a fascinating world to glimpse through Brooks’ novel, and the tale of the mixture of cultures, peoples, and conflicts that led to this work surviving some of the most unlikely conditions make for an interesting, quick read. An author’s note at the end of the novel details facts about the actual Haggadah and the research that went into the novel. ( )
  Ailinel | May 1, 2015 |
Every book has a story. ( )
1 vote | read4thefunofit | Apr 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 365 (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
First words
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 (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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