Saturday, March 8, 2008

POB Discussion Questions - by Zorro

Hanna ~ Sarajevo, Spring 1996 ~ (pp. 1-44)
1. We've met two main characters: Dr. Hanna Heath and Dr. Ozren Karaman (Muslim). What do you think of Hanna? What do you think of Dr. Ozren Karaman, "a thin young man in faded blue jeans" (p. 13)?
Hanna is a meticulous professional. She is very devoted to her work. Her relationship with her mother is so difficult, and they both seem to be responsible for the anger between them. In other areas of her personal life she has problems with other relationships. She discards lovers without making committment. She jumps in bed with Ozren on the day of their first meeting. Ozren is suffering from loss in the war - his wife and now he is loosing his son. I admire his saving the book.

I ~ (pp. 3-13)
2. What do you think of those illustrations from the original Haggadah?
Oh my, aren't they beautiful! I think that these hand illustrated illuminations are remarkable. With the Jewish laws about creating graven images, I don't know how they were permitted??

II ~ (pp. 13-25)
3. Hanna believes, "Change. That's the enemy. Books do best when temperature, humidity, the whole environment, stay the same" (p. 13). See what change has done to the actual Haggadah by looking at the UN photo . Have you ever been dismayed at what's happened to an old book you have seen? Tell us about it.
Yes, I have an 1866 Algebra textbook, an 1912 Life of Jesus, and a 1946 Children of Dickens, plus my mother's 1920 college yearbook. The Life of Jesus is loosing the binding and the binding is gone from the Children of Dickens. The pages are starting to loosen. I guess they were read by my mother and aunt so much that they are falling apart.

4. I love my books for what they SAY, not for their physical properties. Book collectors value a book for itself, the THING, not the words inside. I can see value in both views. Tell us what you value about books. Hanna says: "To restore a book to the way it was when it was made is to lack respect for its history. I think you have to accept a book as you receive it from past generations, and to a certain extent damage and wear reflect that history. The way I see it, my job is to make it stable enough to allow safe handling and study, repairing only where absolutely necessary. This here," I said, pointing to a page where a russett stain bloomed over the fiery Hebrew calligraphy, "I can take a microscopic sample of those fibers, and we can analyze them, and maybe learn what made that stain -- wine would be my first guess. But a full analysis might provide clues as to where the book was at the time it happened" (p. 17).
I do value my books for their content, but I don't have a hand written, hand illuminated Haggadah! The value of 'The Book' in this case come from its age and methods of preparation, and the history of how the book has been saved all these years.

III ~ (pp. 25-33)
5. "Kunta Kinte" (p. 28) ... do you remember (or know about) Alex Haley's 1976 book Roots, which became a 12-hour TV mini-series in 1977? Could we say this novel is about the "roots" of a book?
I do remember Kunta Kinte and Roots. All of America seemed to be watching this historical mini-series together. Yes, this novel traces the difficulties that 'The Book' went through from its beginning.

IV ~ (pp. 33-41)
6. Hanna believes that "if something can be known, I can't stand not knowing it" (p. 41). Can you understand that feeling? What were you thinking when Hanna implored Ozren to get a second opinion on Alia's condition and he becomes angry, saying, "Not every story has a happy ending" (p. 37)?
I agree with Hanna to some extent but I do think she was out of line when she took the information about Alia's condition for a second opinion. She had no right to take over this sensitive issue from Ozren. The parent's wishes should always be respected.

V ~ (pp. 41-44)7. "Bits of butterfly don't generally wind up in books. Moths do, because they come indoors, where books are kept. But butterflies are outdoor creatures" (p. 43). So how did bits of butterfly wing end up in the book?
We will journey back through time to see when and where 'The Book' picked up the butterfly wing.

An Insect's Wing ~ Sarajevo, 1940 ~ (pp. 45-90)

8. What did you think of Lola's adventures? Did it make sense to you when the young man told Lola, "The only true home for Jews is Eretz Israel" (p. 50)?

9. What did you think about Stela and Serif Kamal, the Albanian Muslims Lola met?

10. Why do you think the Nazis were intent on destroying Jewish books? Could something like that happen today? Before you answer, take a look at Banned Books blog.

1 comment:

Zorro said...

Now, I think I have edited my posts to get my answers all in one post. I did not get the numbers or the original post by Bonnie formatted correctly, but I am finished with all I care to do. I found out that a lot of my problems came from the browser (I guess), because when I changed to Firefox, I was able to work much more smoothly on the editing.