Book Review: Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop

The Travelling Bookbinder: Book Review: Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop: Alba Donati

Warning: DO NOT read this book review: Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop if you have any notion of running away to the country on a bookish whim. Just don’t torture yourself with unrealistic dreams. BUT if you DO love books and admire tenacity, then read on.

Alba Donati left her job in publishing to set up a tiny bookshop in the village where she grew up…The following month there was a fire, and a matter of weeks later, Covid brought lockdown. Yet, with tremendous persistence, and the support of her immediate and worldwide community, the enterprise thrives.

Written in the form of a reflective diary, ranging through childhood memories of reading, family and village histories, literary tales are spun with the day-to-day realities of running a business in a small medieval town in the back hills of Tuscany.

‘A bookshop is a school,’ a window on the world, says Donati, knowing that in order to understand the world we must read, because authors choose to write about the curious and unexpected, even the darkness, as a way to comprehend the human mind.

Donati ends with a list of ‘all the things that make [her] feel good’, inspired by Umberto Eco, to keep memories alive, an exercise I agree with wholeheartedly.

There is also ‘A Manifesto for Aspiring Booksellers.’ Read it and dream.

Buy your copy, with a 10% discount, from Golden Hare Books, with this code: bookbinderbookreview23 valid until 30th April 2023.

The Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop, by Alba Donati, translated into English by Elena Pala,is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

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