Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book

People of the book by Geraldine Brooks | LibraryThing

Brooks, G., & OverDrive, Inc. (2008). People of the book: A novel. New York, N.Y: Viking. 9781429591065

Reasons for Reading : As I sought eAudio, I stumbled upon Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book. While I enjoyed listening to the book, I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish listening to it before it was due. Thus, I checked out the eBook and downloaded it to my Nook.

Summary: Australian rare-book expert Hanna Heath receives an outstanding offer: to analyze and conserve the Sarajevo Haggadah when it’s recovered in 1996 during the Bosnian War. The Sarajevo Haggadah is one of the earliest Jewish texts to have illustrations. Quickly, Hanna finds peculiarities about the book – a wing of an insect, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair, and missing clasps. While Hanna examines this priceless piece of history, the reader goes on a journey in reverse chronological order – making stops in 1940s Sarajevo, 1894 Vienna, 1609 Venice, 1492 Tarragona, and 1480 Seville, visiting the people who physically impacted the Haggadah.

What I Liked : Author Brooks spins and weaves a fascinating saga. These people of the book elicit a broad range of emotions from me. I liked that Hanna seemed to unite everyone in her work with the Haggadah and I appreciated that she spoke directly to the reader whereas the other sections of the story were told in the third person. Hanna did have values and adhered to them even when it hurt her. I pitied her when it came to her relationship with her mother and that she had no clue about her father’s identity. I learned much about Haggadahs and Jewish history in Europe.

What I Disliked : So, Hanna wasn’t the only one telling the story in first person. This was confusing to me and I believe Brooks did this to mislead the reader. Also, some of the characters that I imagine were supposed to be sympathetic were not. When I didn’t care about the characters, the book dragged. Sometimes, the details were gratuitous and Brooks seemed to come across as magnanimous in her “We’re all in this together” theme.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: The Kingston Trio – Where have all the flowers gone? – YouTube

Setting : Australia, Sarajevo, Germany, Vienna, Venice,  Boston, Tarragona Spain, Seville, Jerusalem

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The Gospel According to Mark

Mantegna's St. Mark |

MarkNIV archaeological study Bible: An Illustrated walk through Biblical history and culture. (2005). Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan. 9780310938521.

Mark was the second gospel I finished in the Read through the Bible Challenge. The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the four gospels. Also, this gospel is probably the oldest.  

Beth Moore recognizes Mark as the one who “wrote to tell the Romans what Jesus did” (Moore, 2002). I’ve long viewed Mark as the news journalist of the group. He relays the facts in summary.  

Below is the end of the Gospel. Earliest texts do not include these verses:

9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

   12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

   14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

   15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16: 9 -20)

For more on Mark and Bible-Reading Challenge, check out the following links:

The Gospel According to Matthew

St. Matthew | Bible Studies - Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

MatthewNIV archaeological study Bible: An Illustrated walk through Biblical history and culture. (2005). Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan. 9780310938521.

Matthew was the fifth book I finished in the Read through the Bible Challenge. The Gospel of Matthew is the first book comes of the New Testament and thus, the first Gospel (Good News) book I’ve read in this challenge.

Scholars normally give credit to Matthew the Disciple for the writing of this gospel and they consider this book one of the Synoptic Gospels. A Jewish tax collector, Jesus requested that Matthew (then Levi) follow Him as one of His disciples.

This gospel easily divides into four parts: I. The genealogy, birth, and infancy of Jesus, II. The life and ministry of Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, III. The life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and IV. The sacrifice, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Great Commission.

The gospels of the New Testament form the bedrock of the Christian faith. 
Of all the gospels in the Bible, scholars and Christians alike consider Matthew the most Jewish-centric. Bible laureate and Christian hedonist Beth Moore calls Christians, saying “Matthew wrote to show that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah” (Moore, 2002). For example, Matthew begins by listing the genealogy of Jesus through His earthly father-figure Joseph and traces it all the way back to Abraham, the Father of the Nations.Still and all, Matthew does tell of Mary’s immaculate conception of the Messiah and that Jesus extended the gift of salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike.

So many of the verses of Matthew remain with me, however I’ve selected the Great Commission:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20)

For more on Matthew and Bible-Reading Challenge, check out the following links: