Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “People of the Book” as Want to Read:
People of the Book
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

People of the Book

by
4.02  ·  Rating details ·  110,178 Ratings  ·  10,450 Reviews
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of March, the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war

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 i
...more
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about People of the Book, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Ann Dzuik You should definitely read People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. The amount of research evidenced by the cultural and historical details that so…moreYou should definitely read People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. The amount of research evidenced by the cultural and historical details that so enriched this book just astounds me. Brooks is a true master of fine literature. If you can find the book in audiobook form--I got it in CD book from my public library--do yourself a favor and "read" it that way. Hearing the difficult names pronounced added to my enjoyment of the book.(less)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBreaking Dawn by Stephenie MeyerThe Host by Stephenie MeyerThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Best Books of 2008
1,597 books — 6,911 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Best Historical Fiction
6,115 books — 24,234 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Amanda
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
A Review of People of the Book
(or, Why I Hate the Kindle)

Brooks's novel is a fictionalized account of the real Sarajevo Haggadah, a Jewish religious text noteworthy for its inclusion of an illuminated manuscript and for its survival through turmoil and the hostility towards Jews that has erupted time and again over the centuries in Europe and Eastern Europe. The novel is told from the perspective of Hanna Heath, an expert in book restoration, who is called in to restore the text for display. Wh
...more
Catherine
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 500-year-old haggadah is found in Sarajevo in 1996, 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 communities across E
...more
Brina
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Lyn
Jul 18, 2011 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.

Brooks uses the protagonist's research to tell the story of the book backwards from WWII to 1600s Venice to Moorish Spain. 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
...more
Hannah Greendale
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Leanna
Feb 06, 2008 rated it liked it
I try to avoid all things popular (e.g., I’ve never seen Star Wars or Titanic) because I know, after all the hype, I can only be disappointed. When it comes to books, though, I feel obligated to read what’s popular so I can participate somewhat intelligently in the conversation.

That being said, although I hoped Geraldine Brook’s People of the Book would live up to the buzz, I wasn’t too surprised when it did not. The book is good, but it is not call-up-all-my-friends-(or readers)-and-recommend-i
...more
Heidi The Hippie Reader
The story of an extraordinary book and the people who surround it.

And I did not enjoy it.

My reaction to this one was a huge surprise. I adored Geraldine Brook's Year of Wonders and I thought this would be an easy hit for me.

I think the problem is fairly simple- never connected with the main character. I loved Anna from Year of Wonders. I couldn't stand Hanna.

The small details of her work that she found so absorbing, I didn't enjoy.

I didn't like how she treated people sometimes. I thought she see
...more
PattyMacDotComma
5★

A new favourite! I love it when old stories sound right for their time, and Geraldine Brooksdoes that so well. This novel was inspired by the discovery of the real Sarajevo Haggadah, a book more than 700 years old, so Brooks had a lot of ground to cover and a lot of voices to invent.

Her central character (Hanna Heath, a rare book expert) says about herself:
“By linking research and imagination, sometimes I can think myself into the heads of the people who made the book. I can figure out who
...more
Mary
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic story. Don't be put off by the first bit when you meet Hanna, the main character: she is supposed to be kind of annoying. You end up loving her with a compassion that this author can magically instill in you for all of her characters, of which there are many. The book also spans many centuries and traverses many continents, so it's a bit complex. But wow: This account of the history of a little book takes you through the darkest hours of human history, including the Inquisition ...more
Annet
What I do is me, for that I came...

Still building this review.... bit by bit as thoughts keep coming...
This is grand book. Impressive. Intriguing. Tragic. Beautiful. 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 329 in my book:
A white hair
Seville, 1480
My eyes seep
...more
Elyse
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I could have sworn I wrote a review. I read this book the first week it was released....
I LOVED IT!!!
Jennifer
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-books
Geraldine Brook's latest is a treat for us librarians (as well as dedicated to us in the front!) as she traces the path of an ancient religious text that, although Jewish in origin, was saved and added to several times over by members of different religions and cultures throughout time. As usual, Brooks' prose is both incredibly readable and laudably literary, and her theme that the love of knowledge and books crosses all historical and cultural boundaries is well illustrated through her complex ...more
Sue
This is a wonderful story of a magical book, an illuminated manuscript begun in the 15th century and found in Sarajevo after the Bosnian War, a Jewish manuscript rescued by a Muslim librarian who could not bear to see such a treasure be destroyed.

Based on some fact and the author's talented recreation, we see the history of this religious piece over the years as some seek to destroy it and others work to save or embellish it. We move backward in time from the modern time to the Nazi era, to 19th
...more
Rachel
May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
I buy a lot of books. It's sort of sad, given that I am supposed to be budgeting and have completely (okay, almost completely) stopped buying clothes, but books call to me. I figure you can buy a paperback for $10, or you can go to a movie for $10 - one gets you a couple of hours of entertainment in a confined space, one gets you hours of entertainment wherever you want them. So, anyway, I went into this book planning to love it. I even caved and bought the hardbound, so anxious was I to start. ...more
Lisa Vegan
This is a marvelous book. I really enjoyed this author’s Year of Wonders and I think I liked this book at least as much. This is skillful and enthralling storytelling that’s also thought provoking.

This book is one of the most skillful renderings of a book that goes back and forth in time that I’ve ever read. Ditto for the writing of a historical fiction account, especially one that has part of its history in the very recent past.

This is a historical fiction story about the Sarajevo Haggadah. (A
...more
Stacy LeVine
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
SO DISAPPOINTING!!!

The protagonist is a rancid harpy about whom I don’t care a damn, and the mother’s more loathsome than the spawn! Brooks accomplishes nothing by opting for repugnant main characters. Moreover, the entire modern-day plot is offensively implausible (not to mention, totally derivative of ANGELS & DEMONS and THE DA VINCI CODE).

As to the historical fiction, I appreciate what Brooks is trying to do. Some of what she comes up with is interesting enough. I actually quite dig the s
...more
Lbsantini
May 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
I only got through the first 50 pages on this one. I'll try her novel The Wonder Years, but I found the narrator just too whipsmart. Also, there was a line or two that made me groan outloud. When Hannah is sitting on a plane next to someone who removes mines, she says to herself something like: "I thought about making a borderline comment like, 'business booming, eh?'" Yuck! Also, she "seduces" a guy by licking his fingers at a restaurant. All I could think was, "Who really does that?" It made m ...more
Julie Christine
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historical fiction buffs, fans of adventure/thrillers
I adored this novel! It contained all the elements of my favorite contemporary fiction: impeccable historical research, geographic locales that are as strong as the characters, characters who are multi-dimensional & believable, a plot that weaves multiple threads and themes in good pace and with precision. With this, Brooks moves into my favorite authors column.
Denae
People of the Book is a stunningly beautiful book about another stunningly beautiful book. It fictionalizes the true story of the Sarajevo Haggadah, a unique, 500-year old version of a book read at Jewish Passover Seders. It illustrates the story of how and why Passover came to be. People of the Book looks at the fascinating story of the Haggadah's travels through the years and creates a story from them. All of the characters are fictional and some of the chapters are admittedly entirely fiction ...more
Cheryl
Geraldine Brooks has a way of weaving through historical moments of cogent settings, to make powerful, real-life stories vivid through narrative. Most times I find her narrative peculiar and alluring, like the close narration in March, for example. In Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, she had me immersed in style and dialect and of the three novels of hers I've read so far, she managed to keep me invested in the setting and "situation"(i.e. war).

Bosnia was a focus in this book, and it ope
...more
Richard Derus
Jan 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Rating: 3* of five

This is the very first book about books I've ever read that left me hating people more than when I started it.

Hanna, what a terrible waste of a person. Sarah, her mother, my GOD what a cold, stoney bas-relief of a human being she was. Orzen, Werner, yechptui on all of 'em and the parts set in the past...! The Nazis, well, it's shootin' tuna in a 55-gallon oil drum (aka the Gulf of Mexico) to hate THEM, but the collaborators! On and on, back through the Western World's horrible,
...more
Meredith Holley
I think an alternative title for this book could have been something like Women and Love or What Women Mean When They Talk About Love. Something like that. It was so beautiful in this delicate, fine-art way, and I was so surprised at this book’s beauty, that I feel totally inadequate in trying to describe my reaction to it. It is that type of beauty I feel when I think about the improbability of our bodies being alive or of Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel or of microscopic images of ...more
Dolors
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
What is it that makes a book compelling?
This one, apparently, has all the necessary ingredients to make a novel difficult to forget.
I'd say it's historically well researched, it has masterly developed and believable characters and an interesting thread which holds all of them together.
"People of the book" is exactly that, the story of the different people who, through centuries and centuries, managed to create or to keep or to protect one of the most treasured books ever, an ancient Haggadah.
Th
...more
Debbie
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished People of the Book and I’m not sure what I have to say about it.

It’s rare for me to not have much to say about a book but I don’t think I do. This is a book that has been on my “to read” list long before I was a member of GR and even had a list to put it on. I think this is a book whose premise has always been attractive to me but as many times as I’ve seen it online or held it in my grasp at the bookstore I never brought it home to start the relationship. I’d read the first
...more
Connie
The Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated Hebrew manuscript, was saved during the Bosnian conflict by a Muslim librarian at the National Museum and placed in a bank vault. Hanna Heath, an Australian rare book specialist, is given the opportunity to inspect and conserve this beautiful book which dates back to 15th Century Spain. As she inspects it, she finds evidence that suggests the history of the Haggadah as it changes hands traveling from Spain to Sarajevo.

"People of the Book" moves forward in ti
...more
Tania
Aug 23, 2016 rated it liked it
It was here to test us, to see if there were people who could see that what united us was more than what divided us. That to be a human being matters more than to be a Jew or a Muslim, Catholic or Orthodox.

3.5 stars. I absolutely loved the historical fiction stories. It worked really well telling them in reverse chronological order, as it feels like you are slowly unfolding the suprises of the Sarajevo Haggadah. The people in these stories and the stories themselves were so diverse and interesti
...more
Perri
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brooks must have done mad research for this dense and beautifully written story. It's based on a real artifact from the 15th century-the Sarajevo Haggadah which is an illustrated Jewish prayer book created in Spain. Brooks writes an imaginary account of the book's travel through a wide but interconnected series of people from different ethnicity, status, and race. I think the author must have done her job when I'm googling fictional characters-they all seemed SO real.
The main things I love abou
...more
jo
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of european history, books, and religious history
i am not a great fan of historical fiction, but this book is interesting and inventive and lovely and i'm so glad i read it. it follows the story of a particularly beautiful haggadah, the passover prayer book (am i saying this right?), through various centuries and incredible journeys, in alternating chapters in which you see a contemporary book curator trying to unveil the history of this amazing object, just resurfaced in sarajevo (it's 1996 and the war is raging), then jump back in history an ...more
Nikoleta
Ένα όμορφο βιβλίο με θέμα το βιβλίο. Βέβαια αυτό το θέμα είναι το εργαλείο για να μιλήσει για το πραγματικό θέμα του, τις θρησκευτικές και πολιτισμικές διαμάχες. Το τέχνασμα που χρησιμοποιεί για να το πετύχει νομίζω ότι είναι εκπληκτικό. Η ηρωίδα του βιβλίου Χάννα καλείτε στο Σαράγεβο να συντηρήσει ένα μοναδικό στο είδος του εβραϊκό χειρόγραφο, σε αυτό ανακαλύπτει και αποφασίζει να ερευνήσει κάποια πολύ μικρά αλλά σημαντικά κατά την γνώμη της στοιχεία. Ένα μικροσκοπικό κομμάτι από το φτερό μιας ...more
MsAprilVincent
Mar 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, people interested in the history of books and bookmaking
Shelves: 2008
A book conservator is trying to find the human story behind a very rare haggadah as she is restoring it physically.

There really is a Sarajevo haggadah, and it really was saved during the bombing of Sarajevo in the 90s.

As someone who loves books, any books, and who appreciates the rare artistry and history of ancient books, I found the story to be very interesting.

I like how Brooks wove the history of the haggadah into the modern plot, going further and further back in time with each chapter.

S
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
CMLE Librarians E...: * July 2017: People of the Book 3 12 Jul 10, 2017 08:26AM  
Girlfriends Book ...: October 2016 book club pick 1 2 Sep 17, 2016 06:26PM  
Around the Year i...: People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks 9 51 Mar 01, 2016 02:11AM  
Does the book hold together? 27 470 Dec 15, 2015 09:44AM  
Bo'ness Library B...: 2015 August Thursday Bookgroup Book 4 19 Aug 05, 2015 03:05PM  
2017 Reading Chal...: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks 2 21 Feb 06, 2015 11:31AM  
  • All Other Nights
  • A Thread of Grace
  • Joheved (Rashi’s Daughters #1)
  • The Little Book
  • Tallgrass
  • By Fire, By Water
  • Ex-Libris
  • Portrait of an Unknown Woman
  • Remarkable Creatures
  • Grave Goods (Mistress of the Art of Death, #3)
  • The Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When You Can't Find the Words
  • The Widower's Tale
  • Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English
  • The Tenth Gift
  • Brat Farrar
  • A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books
  • The Secret of Lost Things
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
3,569 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issu
...more

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • West of the Tularosa
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Love and Ruin
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Siddhartha
    $10.95 $2.99
  • The Orphan Daughter
    $4.99 $1.99
  • When We Were Worthy
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Somebody's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • A Night Divided
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition
    $24.95 $2.99
  • The Cherished Quilt
    $8.99 $2.99
  • To Find a Mountain
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I'll Be Your Blue Sky
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Lotterys Plus One
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Buddha
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Falls (P.S.)
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Broken Pieces
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Love Held Captive (A Lone Star Hero's Love Story)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Girl Who Came Home
    $11.99 $1.99
  • When Jesus Wept (The Jerusalem Chronicles, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Man He Never Was: A Modern Reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Hired Man
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Crimes Against a Book Club
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Girls of the Great War
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Wish Me Home
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Every Tongue Got to Confess
    $10.24 $1.99
  • A Golden Age
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Serena
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Dreamland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Holy Fools
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Tampa
    $11.49 $1.99
  • The Beloved Hope Chest
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth Avenue Artists Society
    $11.99 $1.99
  • All That's Left of Me
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Palm Trees in the Snow
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Chemistry Lessons
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Last Flight of Poxl West: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Come Home to Me
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Year We Left Home
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Whip
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Written on the Body
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Broken Verses
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Happiness, Like Water
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Moo
    $6.24 $1.99
  • The Free
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Bookshop
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I Hate Everyone But You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • With Shuddering Fall
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Touching Spirit Bear (Spirit Bear, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • 223 Orchard Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • No One Is Coming to Save Us
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Brief Encounters with Che Guevara: Stories
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Small Great Things
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Journey's End (Gilded Promises)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Glittering Images (Starbridge, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
“A book is more than the sum of its materials. It is an artifact of the human mind and hand.” 141 likes
“Book burnings. Always the forerunners. Heralds of the stake, the ovens, the mass graves.” 39 likes
More quotes…