Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Just Finished

I've spent the last few days glued to a book. A book on my Kindle, actually. Never thought I'd say that.

It's called People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. A fun bit of historical fiction- something I haven't been able to enjoy in quite a while.  The titular book is the Sarajevo Haggadah, an apparently* famous Jewish prayer book that survived the Inquisition, the looting of the Nazis and numerous other attacks on the people of the Jewish faith through history.

The tale is woven well, though at times I wished I was holding a paper book so I could flip back and forth. The Kindle was a Mother's Day gift, and it has been extremely convenient. It fits well in my bag, and I don't have the guilty feeling that comes with using my work iPad for fun stuff.

The book has a good mix of history and fiction, though the sprinkling of Jewish and Muslim words sometimes made it hard to follow. I also felt challenged by the historical names of particular places, as Eastern Europe and the Middle East were not my strong subjects. However, having read a number of the Temperance Brennan books by Kathy Reichs (and being a fan of the lighter end of that genre in general), the investigative portions of the book were intriguing to me. The main character is a specialist in old manuscripts and was hired to examine and repair a Haggadah that had missing/hidden since WWII. As part of her process of examination, she extracts foreign objects-- fibers, scales, stains-- and each of those take the reader back in time to the place where that particle intersected with the life of the book.

I think this book has a bit of something for everyone, and I definitely enjoyed it. Surprising, after a long run of non-fiction books that didn't quite hit the spot, and fiction books that made me feel overly sensitive. Worth my time, and worth me offering up a review as well.

* I only say apparently because, as noted, I am not hugely familiar with Jewish history or E.European history

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~ Mary