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People of the Book

by Geraldine Brooks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,156471689 (3.93)861
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)
  1. 164
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  2. 71
    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. 20
    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. 43
    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.
  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
    Melmoth by Sarah Perry (RidgewayGirl)
  11. 00
    The Gilded Page: The Secret Lives of Medieval Manuscripts by Mary Wellesley (darsaster)
    darsaster: Non-fiction examination of Medieval manuscripts and the people who created them.
  12. 00
    A Delightful Compendium of Consolation by Burton L. Visotzky (Osbaldistone)
  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. 00
    The Thief of Time by John Boyne (Booksloth)
  15. 00
    The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park (Smiler69)
  16. 02
    The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery by Enrique Joven (Osbaldistone)

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» See also 861 mentions

English (459)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (470)
Showing 1-5 of 459 (next | show all)
Can you really like a book where you really take a dislike to the main character/narrator? A qualified yes, but it does hurt. The parts that do not involve her were actually very well done. The parts with the main character, less so. And it's not just a matter of disliking her, the text there is often awkward. The sex scenes in particular were nearly cringeworthy and seemed to be included just to tick a box on the "includes spicy stuff" checklist. And that's not to say all main characters have to be sympathetic, they don't. But this one is just... I don't know, unpleasant in a different way.

The plot, though, is interesting and gives a little bit of insight into book conservation and does a reasonable job of it. Granted, that was my main interest in reading it, and I found all the relationship drama between Hanna and her mother (and father, for that matter) was superfluous. The drama of the forgery was a good plot mechanism to hold it together, but the main draw for me at least was the short stories that explain the little bits and bobs found in the binding. ( )
  llysenw | Jul 4, 2022 |
This was a very valuable read as it enlightened me to history that I either did not know or had forgotten. It was beautifully written and I appreciated the sections of different people or places where the important book was from or created. I liked the personal story of Hannah, who always knew herself but doubted her strength, passion and meaningfullness. I empathized with her when she feel into self-doubt about her work, as I have been there myself. I was at a flea market this past weekend and couldn't get away from the old books--they seemed to call me to them to discover how they became. Good story!

After reading so many reviews by friends, I just had to give this one a go! I am learning that I don't know much about European history though, which is embarassing. I am enjoying it so far! Like a mystery across the ages, all from a really old book. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
This is actually a really well written book but it's too heavy for me to read right now. I will return and finish at a later time. ( )
  Tosta | Apr 27, 2022 |
People of the Book is a wonderfully written book of historical fiction in which the author relates many events of the dark and unhappy history of the Jewish people while presenting an engaging account about a possible history of a noted artifact. The research is thorough and deep, yet Brooks presents it so well that the reader is drawn to the story line much more that to the incredible quality of the research.
I have read other books where the author loses sight of the idea that, above all, he must tell an interesting story and falls instead into impressing the reader with the depth of the author's research. Brooks avoids this pitfall and presents what amounts to a collection of short stories that tell of major events in world history. By creating characters as they face those events, Brooks presents human stories told in historical contexts and creates a wonderful novel. ( )
  PaulLoesch | Apr 2, 2022 |
This book was well-written and is interesting, but I am having a hard time finishing it because the violence is a little much for me - torture, rape, etc. I can't say I like it although if it weren't for those graphic parts, it would be very good. I am sure it is accurate in what was happening during that time, but I was unaware this was the period she was describing or I wouldn't have picked it up.

Finished it - it was pretty good except those parts mentioned above. All in all perhaps I should give it a 3 start rating, because I liked most of it. ( )
  Wren73 | Mar 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 459 (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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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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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.

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