Sunday, March 2, 2008

POB ~ discussion questions 1-10

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)?

I ~ (pp. 3-13)

2. When I reached the words: "And then he handed me the book" (p. 13), I wrote this note: "Oooh, I wonder what that must have felt like, to know you are holding such a treasure!" If you click on Mary Zorro's link, you have the closest we can get here at Book Buddies to having the book in our hands: looking at it page by page. What do you think of those illustrations?

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 Mary Zorro found. Have you ever been dismayed at what's happened to an old book you have seen? Tell us about it.

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).
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?

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)?

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?

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 my Banned Books blog.

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