Book Nook: People of the Book

Sunday, January 08, 2012


It's been a while since I've done a book nook post, not for lack of trying, but because I have literally been such a slacker while reading.  With all of the craziness from the holidays and parties I was just too exhausted to actually read once I got into bed at night, (which is generally my prime reading time.)  That being said, I finished a wonderful book over the holidays that I can't wait to share with you all.  Many of the people who I work with are big readers and always recommend great books to me, this one being no exception.  Nicole recommended that I read People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, who incidentally enough is a New England resident on Cape Cod, right in my back yard! 



Brooks begins her novel by introducing us to Australian conservator Hannah Heath who takes on a job to restore one of the oldest surviving Jewish illustrated texts, the Sarajevo Haggadah, which has survived the Nazis, the Catholic church, and has crossed an ocean to be found again in war-torn Sarajevo. As Hannah examines the manuscript and takes various samples the story bounces between her present day investigations and the book's history (backwards to it's origins,) as it traveled throughout Europe. 

Though it takes a bit of time to get into the flow as it jumps between past and present, I really enjoyed hunting for clues right along with Hannah to find out the history of the haggadah.  I also loved finding out the bits and pieces of the story that are based on real historical events and people, such as Lola, a young Jewish freedom fighter in the book, who is based on real life Mira Papo. I'm not a religious person, but am kind of fascinated by religion's place in history, so be forewarned that large sections of the book involve religion during a very precarious time in history.  That being said, if you're like me and love a good historical fiction, you'll definitely enjoy this book. I'm really eager to read Brooks' other books as well! 

In other book nook excitement, I was really hoping to get some recommendations from you all about books to read this year.  I recently stumbled upon a list of the 1001 books to read before you die and was shocked at how many I haven't read!  I'm planning to start a project this year to see how many books I can read throughout the course of a year based on suggestions of my friends, family, and fellow readers and bloggers.  I'm asking for books that really impacted you, something of a "life changer."  For example, my two go-to books to recommend are always The Giver by Lois Lowry (I literally have read The Giver every year since I was in the 7th grade without fail, it's such a beautiful story,) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer, (possibly my favorite book ever.)  Also, it's soon to be released as a major motion picture, I can't wait! 

***I'd love to hear your recommendations for my year of reading, let me know what book changed your life! 


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