Very, very different from anything I've ever published here before... Let me explain. This text is different, more formal than most things I write, therefore the English will be off in some places. It's not my native language, and this is not beta'ed.
I have just finished a book called 'People of the book' by Geraldine Brooks. I found it in a bookstore, and that's pretty cool because English books aren't omnipresent around here.
Anyway, the book was awesome. It's about the Sarajevo hagaddah. A hagaddah is a Jewish religious text about Pesach, the Passover story. The Sarajevo haggadah has been around since the 15th century, 'experiencing' all kinds of adventures. The writer created her own story around it, with parts of reality woven into it. Yes, I know it sounds weird, but the thing I liked most about this book was how it combined Islam, Judaism and Christianity peacefully, but not without regarding the brittle relationship those religions have to each other. Since I am studying Hebrew at the moment, the Jewish part of the story really interested me, and since I grew up in a mostly Christian country that part interested me too, though less. Last thing, since I grew up in a neighbourhood with many Muslims, that part of the book attracted me, too.
In short: it's a great book. If you are interested in Hebrew texts, in the history of books, I can recommend it.
Before the A/N gets longer, I will stop this. Enjoy, and I am anxious for your reviews...
This text is different, more formal than most things I write, therefore the English will be off in some places. It's not my native language, and this is not beta'ed.
Books have a power far beyond that of letters arranged in such a form the words make sense. Books have the power to chill us, enlighten us, make us cry. They can tell us the stories of fictional characters, but they can make it sound so realistic, so utterly familiar it can move us to tears.
They have existed for such a long time. Since ancient time, books have been a way for people to remember, to write down whatever needed to be written down, what people felt should never be forgotten. Books have served all kinds of purposes, starting out as Holy Books for prayer and studying, for only the special could read and write. But by this time, when most people have received the gift of education, books are much more than that. They teach us, yes, but more than that they make us relax. They make us forget our present problems and they take us back to other places, other times; a life with someone else's problems or someone else's luck.
A story needs not be written down for people to remember it. The tales of a people, a group of individuals with their own traditions, are more often than not told by words, passed on from generation to generation by talking. It has a romantic side, this way of storytelling: it tells us of times long past, when people did not have modern devices to spread their word: when people travelled to make their beliefs known, when people could be murdered for telling just that. And those times have not yet passed. There are still places where there exists no religious freedom, no freedom to say what you want to say.
But books, books can enchant us with the tales they tell. Books have an importance in the world's history. How many books have been burnt over the centuries, because they contained forbidden thoughts? How much knowledge has died with those books? Here, I agree with the famous quote by Heinrich Heine, who commented on the burning of Jewish books under Hitler's reign: "Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings."
And the accuracy of this quote is painful – these words, said before any Nazi camps came into being, are dead on.
So what I say is, cherish books. In this era of technology and internet, cherish the written word. Don't forget the stories they tell, the incredible histories that are hidden beneath the cover. For they have an influence over us, human beings: a larger influence than we could possibly imagine. Do not forget that.