Booking Through Thursday this week asks us 'What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”
Many of my favourite books could fall into that category, most recently probably The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugresic. But overall, I think I would have to say my favourite book that no-one has ever heard of is 'The Tuscan Master' by Peter Adamson (the founder of New Internationalist magazine). It's a wonderful novel about a painter who was once the most promising artist in Italy. However he has grown up into what he feels is an unproductive middle age, working as a tour guide and seeing himself as one of the great overlooked artists. The novel is full of ideas about art and creativity, recognising and nurturing your own talents, but at the same time is wonderfully plotted and full of characters that leap off the page. It is also incredibly moving without being sentimental and is not to be read in public if you are likely to cry whilst reading! Ultimately it is truly life affirming. Unfortunately I think this book is now out of print (why oh why???) but try your library - it really is a must read for anyone interested in Italy or art.