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A world where physical books become obsolete and everyone has an entire library on one portable reading device is also a frightening possibility. How easy then for the next dictator to destroy our beloved texts. Smash one eReader and hundreds, thousands of books are permanently lost--far more efficient than book burnings. It's the impermanence of it all that scares me.

Not only that, I think that obsession with books, recognizing and identifying with others because you notice the Christopher Moore font on the book cover or the tell-tell cover art of a Tim O'Brien paperback, helps create a reading community that we're connected to and a part of. How many chance encounters, spontaneous conversations, or just the simple nod of respect to complete strangers with whom we briefly feel connected when we realize we're reading the same author on the same bus--how many of those moments are lost when we're all carrying around the same reading device that indicates no individuality or reading preference to those around us?

Will we feel as open to asking a complete stranger, "What are you reading? Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder View all 37 comments. This is an awful book. I expected great things from Brooks - March is a book I treasure - but this novel is a third-rate Da Vinci code, written with about the same amount of skill. The premise is captivating - a year-old haggadah is found in Sarajevo in , and the novel sets out to explore the book's journey across Europe in those intervening years. Along the way, the haggadah acts as an entry point into the tumult, crisis, and unspeakable violence experienced by Jewish c This is an awful book.

Along the way, the haggadah acts as an entry point into the tumult, crisis, and unspeakable violence experienced by Jewish communities across Europe. Yet the novel does not live up to the premise. The focus is not upon the haggadah or the people who have handled it between and , but rather upon the Australian conservator called in to restore it in Sarajevo. The details of where the haggadah has been are important because Hanna, the conservator, is writing an essay about its journey, and she'll gain academic and professional prestige from doing so.

Hello, cultural appropriation! For example: "why had an illuminator working in Spain, for a Jewish client, in the manner of a European Christian, have used an Iranian paintbrush? Clarissa's identification of this anomaly had been great for my essay. It had given me an excuse to riff on the way knowledge had traveled amazing distances during the Conveivencia , over well-established routes linking the artists and intellectuals of Spain with their counterparts in Baghdad, Cairo, and Isphahan.

Once Hanna's expertise about the haggadah is questioned, she gives up her work as a conservator of old, European and Middle Eastern texts, and instead starts saving Australian Aboriginal art from being destroyed by mining companies.

Children's Books, Cheap Kids' Books | The Book People

She has an assistant - he's Aboriginal, but it's Hanna who we're supposed to identify and sympathize with, feeling pleased that she's a white superwoman, saving people from themselves. There are other truly problematic issues of race in the text. The first character of color we encounter is a Rasta cab driver who smokes ganja and who won't drop her at Scotland Yard in case he gets caught for using drugs.

We meet a man - Raz - who is part African-American and part Hawaiian, and whom the protagonist observes "was one of those vanguard beings of indeterminate ethnicity, the magnificent mutts I hope we are all destined to become given another millennium of intermixing. Yep, that's right, she just called him a mongrel.

The History of Herodotus (Rawlinson)/Book 3

The depictions of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith are so broad-brushed i don't know what to think - it's like a child's paint-by-numbers for major world religions. And of course, in the tradition of Dan Brown, it's a love story. Within a few pages of beginning the book Hanna's sleeping with the Muslim curator of Sarajevo's major museum, and by the end she's overcome her aversion to the idea of a long-term relationship and is ready to be with him.

In conclusion: UGH. View all 21 comments. Jan 02, Brina rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , jewish-books. A tip from one of my daughter's teachers lead me to the works of Geraldine Brooks, a two time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for literature.

Being the non-fiction connoisseur that I am, I first devoured her memoir Foreign Correspondence. Deciding not to limit myself to only one of her books, I chose People of the Book, her fictionalized history of the Sarajevo Haggadah. Hanna Heath is a Sydney book conservator who has been chosen by the Sarajevo National Museum to rebind the city's famous Hagga A tip from one of my daughter's teachers lead me to the works of Geraldine Brooks, a two time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for literature.

Hanna Heath is a Sydney book conservator who has been chosen by the Sarajevo National Museum to rebind the city's famous Haggadah in anticipation of the museum's reopening. Spurred on by her research, Heath's travels take her to Harvard, London, Vienna, and back to Sarajevo later on in order to pinpoint the codex's travels. If the book only centered on Heath's quest in present day, it would still merit a five-star book of intrigue. How fortunate that this is not the case.

24 things I learned self publishing 3 books in only 6 months

Brooks intersperses Heath's quest to discover the haggadah's and her own history with chapters on each of the haggadah's stops over the last years. The pages are filled with vivid language each describing an epoch of the haggadah's illustrious history. Of course being fiction, Brooks ties up both Hanna's and the haggadah's loose ends with a relative happy ending. I grew more and more mesmerized with the books twists and turns, and the pages read quickly in the book's second half.

Where would Heath's quest lead next?

Read on and discover the haggadah's path through history. As someone who rarely reads fiction, I am delighted with my choice of both book and author as the one to lead me back to the world of storytelling.

Brooks' writing is first rate and I look forward to reading many more of her novels. I would highly recommend this book to anyone in search of a quality historical fiction novel. View all 28 comments.


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  4. The History of Herodotus (Rawlinson)/Book 3.
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What I do is me, for that I came This is grand book. From beginning to the end. I don't usually like books on war situations but this book received so many good comments and ratings from Goodreads I decided to go for it. I did not regret it. Each chapter is a time jump, to and fro in time. And starts with a quote, like this one, page in my book: A white hair Seville, My eyes seep sorrow; water skins with hole What I do is me, for that I came And starts with a quote, like this one, page in my book: A white hair Seville, My eyes seep sorrow; water skins with holes - Abid bin al-Abras Part of a review Miami Herald : "Stellar - compelling story.

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Brooks seamlessly moves from the miniscule - the tiny specks - to examine in human terms the larger events from the thirteenth century and into the twenty-first: the inquisition, the rise of anti-semitism, nazism and the holocaust, religious wars and forces exiles, in Bosnia, Venice, Barcelona and Seville. A sensitive story, crossing borders, crossing time lines Realistic and poetic at the same time. Will be back with more, probably in the weekend.

Highly recommended! I wanted to give a sense of the people of the book, the different hands that had made it, used it, protected it View all 25 comments. Jul 18, Lyn rated it really liked it. An exceptional novel about a rare book conservator from Australia who researches the Sarajevo Haggadda, an ancient Jewish prayer book.

The modern conservators narrative binds the vignettes together. A none too subtle vehicle to highlight the interwoven histories of Christians, Jews and Muslims - the People of the Book - the novel is also an allegory about learning itself and An exceptional novel about a rare book conservator from Australia who researches the Sarajevo Haggadda, an ancient Jewish prayer book. A none too subtle vehicle to highlight the interwoven histories of Christians, Jews and Muslims - the People of the Book - the novel is also an allegory about learning itself and people's struggles to keep the flame of wisdom alight.

Original, well researched and provocative, a reader will enjoy the textured characterizations and the personality brimming in each historical sketch. View all 4 comments. Jan 04, Hannah Greendale rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction. A Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain has been saved from the ruins of a bombed library. Hanna Heath, who specializes in the conservation of medieval documents, is hired to repair and preserve the ancient manuscript. Tiny artifacts found inside the manuscript lead Hanna on a quest to discover how the rare manuscript was created and who risked everything to ensure its safety for five hundred years.

The author capitalizes on Hanna's passion for her profession. Her work on the manu A Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain has been saved from the ruins of a bombed library. Her work on the manuscript is described with such alluring detail that the reader cannot help but experience the same hushed reverence as she does. When Hanna looks at the manuscript, she sees more than paper and ink. She sees the story behind the book's creation; she senses the hands of every person who made it, held it, cherished it.

What others see as blemishes or trash - a red stain, a salt crystal, a white hair lost in the folds of the binding - Hanna sees as clues to the people of the book. Hanna's story alone is strong enough to carry the reader through a captivating journey, but what makes this book so beguiling is the integration of multiple stories from various other characters spanning from to All of the varied narratives are masterfully woven together for optimal plot pacing.

In a way, the book reads like a collection of short stories, but a common thread - the ancient manuscript - ties everything together into one beautiful tapestry. While People of the Book doesn't offer the same richness of prose as the author's other novels, there are moments where dazzling language emerges.

Often this language is employed to give an intimate, artful description of the manuscript itself, such that People of the Book sometimes feels like a love letter to the act of slowly crafting a masterpiece: Blue: intense as a midsummer sky, obtained from grinding precious lapis lazuli carried by camel caravan all the way from the mountains of Afghanistan.

White: pure, creamy, opaque. That beautiful autumnal flower, Crocus sativus Linnaeous , each with just three tiny precious sigmas, had been a prized luxury then and remained one, still. Other times, the writing is vivid and immediate: [He] continued speaking quietly, in short, undramatic sentences.

Book III: Chapters 30–33

No light. A fractured pipe. Rising water. Shells hitting the walls. It was left for me to fill in the blanks. I'd been in enough museum basements to imagine how it was; how every shell burst that shook the building must have sent a rain of plaster falling over the precious things, and over him, too, into his eyes as he crouched in the dark, hands shaking, striking match after match to see what he was doing.

Fundamental themes woven throughout the book are as provocative and meaningful today as they were five hundred years ago: "I have spent many nights, lying awake here in this room, thinking that the [manuscript] came to Sarajevo for a reason. It was here to test us, to see if there were people who could see that what unites us was more than what divided us.