Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.
When I picked this book up at a local used bookstore as part of my required summer reading list for AP English my senior year, I had no idea how much I would enjoy this book. I adore books about books… but even better are books about books with historical fiction and mystery elements! People of the Book has it all!
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover/Audiobook, narrated by Edwina Wren
Rating: 5 stars!
Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity by an acclaimed and beloved author. This ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain. When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding-an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair-only begin to unlock its deep mysteries and unexpectedly plunges Hanna into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics.
When I picked this book up at a local used bookstore as part of my required summer reading list for AP English my senior year, I had no idea how much I would enjoy this book. The other two required books are Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, which I hope to begin soon, but do not have as high hopes for as this gem of a book.
I adore books about books, as is apparent in my love for The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and my wish to read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. But even better are books about books with historical fiction and mystery elements! People of the Book has it all, featuring an elaborate plot, twists and new mysteries added when you least expect it, and multiple “reveals,” which all serve to strengthen this amazing book.
I also love Geraldine Brooks’s writing style, especially during her “Hanna” chapters, which are very engaging and full of unique metaphors and similes that make the literary side of me squeal with joy! In fact, this paragraph is an excerpt from pages 6-8, which immediately became a prospective prose piece for the speech tournaments I compete in for next year (an excerpt from The Little Prince is the other selection I’m currently considering)
The cabin door finally opened, and the passengers oozed forward as if they were glued together. I was the only one still seated. I felt as if I’d swallowed a stone that was pinning me to my spot.
I’m so glad I bought this book! It’s a perfect one add to my small but ever-growing adult fiction collection, between The Thirteenth Tale and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger — two other adult favorites of mine.
Have you read this book? I’m looking at some other books of Geraldine Brooks’s as well to read this summer — any favorites of hers you’d recommend?