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

by Geraldine Brooks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,974464658 (3.93)846
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)
Member:mrspeabody
Title:People of the Book: A Novel
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2008), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2008)

  1. 154
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  2. 61
    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.
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  5. 42
    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.
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    The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman (VivianeoftheLake)
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    Fugitive Blue by Claire Thomas (merry10)
    merry10: An imagined history of a 15th Century panel.
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    A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (Ciruelo)
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    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 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.
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  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)
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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 846 mentions

English (453)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (464)
Showing 1-5 of 453 (next | show all)
I found this book to be a pleasant surprise, given that it's basically about the history of a specific 15th Century Haggadah. A beautifully illustrated Jewish book was saved from potential destruction during the fighting in Sarajevo in the late 1990's. The history of this rare and valuable Jewish book is told looking backwards in time from a book restorer's interpretations of clues discovered during a restoration. The book conservator takes us back in time walking us through the books many travels and its history up through the present time. The author presents the story in a creative way, discovering a little clue today while restoring the book, and then taking us back in time telling the story of the individuals involved leading up to the clue being a part of the present manuscript. Geraldine Brooks covers periods over five centuries of European history, as well as representatives of the three great religions, but told in story fashion. Her unique approach made the story much more interesting than a straightforward scientific examination of the evidence would have been. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been 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, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—she begins to unlock the book’s mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its salvation back to its creation. review from Amazon
Based on a true story
  sundayat7 | Jul 5, 2021 |
Jew Christian Muslim & Haggadah; excellent. pub 2008; read 2018
  18cran | May 30, 2021 |
This book follows the story of an exceptional historic books through the centuries. I loved the substories from the past that explained how the book survived and was created. ( )
  DrApple | May 14, 2021 |
What an incredible book! As soon as I finished it, I wanted to re-read it to see how she accomplished such a feat. ( )
  Crae | Mar 6, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 453 (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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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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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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