Hedy reviews “People of the Book”

“People of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks  FIC BROO (also LARGE PRINT, CDBOOK, eAudiobook)

This is the first time in a very long time that I’ve read a book that’s not for an official discussion.  Geraldine Brooks will be visiting the Quad-Cities November 14, 2012, and I’m happy to say I’ve read: “The March” (about Louisa May Alcott’s fictional “little women’s” father going to the Civil War), “Year of Wonders” (about a plague in a village in 17th century England), and now “People of the Book” which is about a particular illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in 15th century Spain and all the people that came into contact with it into the 21st century.  The book begins in 1996 Sarajevo when a rare book specialist is called in to work on the manuscript.  What she finds takes the reader back and forth in time and place on a fascinating quest to discover the secrets of ink, paper, binding, stains, even a butterfly wing found amidst the book’s pages.  It’s a complicated plot with intricate overlappings and interweavings, not to mention a huge cast of characters.  “People of the Book” is a series of short stories all connected by this one unusual and ultimately extremely valuable manuscript.   I admire Brooks for tackling it at all and writing it so beautifully.  I also appreciate that she dedicates this book “For the librarians”.

In November and December the Library’s Contemporary Books Discussion group will discuss Brooks’s latest novel “Caleb’s Crossing” which is about the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College.  I’m looking forward to it, because I dearly love to discuss what I read.  If I’m at the Information Desk feel free to discuss any book with me.  The titles of what the Information Desk staff is reading are written on a small white board on the Ready Reference shelf behind us.

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