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People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
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People of the Book (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,457405466 (3.93)744
Member:sueellenshaw
Title:People of the Book
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Viking (2008), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 372 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Haggadah, Sarajevo, book conservators, mystery, multifaith

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
  4. 20
    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)
  11. 00
    The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park (Smiler69)
  12. 00
    A Delightful Compendium of Consolation by Burton L. Visotzky (Osbaldistone)
  13. 00
    The Thief of Time by John Boyne (Booksloth)
  14. 02
    The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery by Enrique Joven (Osbaldistone)
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» See also 744 mentions

English (396)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  English (1)  Finnish (1)  English (405)
Showing 1-5 of 396 (next | show all)
An interesting story and a mostly enjoyable read. Based on an actual book with a mysterious history, Brooks' story imagines the details of that history. Good pacing and mostly interesting characters made this book a bit of a page-turner for me. ( )
  ScoLgo | Dec 1, 2016 |
Not as good as her others. The parts about the past were interesting. Don't care for her writing in a modern day first person voice. ( )
  Juliasb | Dec 1, 2016 |
This has been on my shelves for a long long time and I think I was resistant because so many people told me I was going to love it and I am a bit contrary that way. I thought it was just fine - I liked the way it was constructed and the background stories to each of the conservation topics - the salt water, the cat hair - were interesting but I found Hanna's story a bit over the top. And I thoroughly disliked the ending - a drift dangerously close to romance territory. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
One of the main comments I made about this book (both to myself and others) as I was reading it was, "It's so good, and then something like THAT happens." Geraldine Brooks writes some beautiful passages about books as testimonies to the people who created and used them. As someone who reveres old things, especially books, these passages resounded with me. Likewise, the stories about the people who created the Haggadah, and the way they were linked to the remnants found in the book were intriguing, and a good way of tying multiple plot lines together.
However, just as things were getting REALLY good and I was into the story, a cheaply written sex scene or awkward encounter between a man and woman would happen. They are written like most romantic scenes in books, when you can almost hear the music swell and feel the camera zoom in for a close-up of the kiss. This was frustrating and distracting from what otherwise would have been a wonderful book.
The other problem I had with this book is how many plotlines were left unresolved. I was most interested in the segments that went back in time, to when the book was being created. The characters in this part were much more vibrant and interesting than those in the main storyline. And just as I was getting REALLY into the story, we went back to the present and never heard from those characters again.
Overall, the historical part of the novel is good, and I wish that Brooks would have focused more on the "people" who created the book in question, instead of letting the stereotypical Australian narrator get in the way ( )
  hylandk | Nov 2, 2016 |
Based on a true story, this is great historical fiction. As the book conservator works on a rare illuminated Haggadah, she finds tiny artifacts like a butterfly wing tucked into the book's pages, we flash back to different owners of this book through the past, and learn the story of the book's survival. This is a gripping way of showing a cross-section of the history of Jewish survival and persecution, and has many memorable characters along the way. ( )
  jgdinlibrary | Oct 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 396 (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 editionscalculated
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 (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.
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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