The People of the book

Hi Every one

Thank you so much for braving the chilly weather and coming out last night to discuss Geraldine Brooks novel The people of the book.

Geraldine Brooks has once again written a very through and thought provoking novel. She was inspired to write after reading about the Sarajevo Haggadah a mysterious codex.

One of the earliest Jewish religious volumes to be illuminated with images, the Sarajevo Haggadah survived centuries of purges and wars thanks to people of all faiths who risked their lives to safeguard it. In the hands of Hanna Heath, an impassioned rare-book expert restoring the manuscript in 1996 Sarajevo, it yields clues to its guardians and whereabouts: an insect wing, a wine stain, salt crystals, and a white hair. Hanna pursues its secrets scientifically, and finds that some interests will still risk everything in the name of protecting this treasure. A complex love story, thrilling mystery, vivid history lesson, and celebration of the enduring power of ideas
People of the Book is filled with unforgettable voices from the past, but it is Hanna’s voice—edgy, contemporary—that makes People of the Book a compulsively readable adventure story that transcends the usual boundaries of historical fiction. (Mari Malcolm)

I think I can speak for all of the group in saying that every one loved the book. It was fascinating and intriguing and so well researched. For a topic that could be overwhelming with information I have to say that it was beautifully written and a pleasure to read. Elaine commented that if you had read the book from back to front (starting with the last chapter and working back like a hebrew text) that the story would have evolved in order instead of starting at the end and finishing at the beginning. Lori thought that perhaps the cover could have been a little more inspiring and had hoped that it would have had a copy of the girl in the saffron scarf on it instead of the insect wing. On a funny note Rose found a wine stain on her book ! on the very section that discusses the wine stain in the Haggadah (we wondered if this had been deliberate?). We all loved the intricacy of description especially those of the illustrations and the processes behind the paint brushes and colors.

For more information about the actual events The New Yorker chronicles the original books amazing adventures.

For those of you who didn't make it or have already forgotten what we are reading next ... we will be reading Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. The meeting will be on January 3rd 2011 at 7pm. We have also decided to choose the books in advance for the whole year, which will hopefully reduce the amount of times that we are left with no books because of erratic ILL. So I will be coming with a list of 24 books for us to whittle down to 12.

I look forward to seeing you all there



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