Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop has been very successful on the continent, so the publishers decided to release it in English. Thank you, Netgalley and Emeritus/Scribner for the chance of a review copy.

Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop: A Memoir

by Alba Donati, translated by Elena Pala

Under the Tuscan Sun meets Diary of a Bookseller in this charming memoir by an Italian poet recounting her experience opening a bookshop in a village in Tuscany. 

Alba Donati was used to her hectic life working as a book publicist in Italy—a life that made her happy and allowed her to meet prominent international authors—but she was ready to make a change. One day she decided to return to Lucignana, the small village in the Tuscan hills where she was born. There she opened a tiny but enchanting bookshop in a lovely little cottage on a hill, surrounded by gardens filled with roses and peonies.

With fewer than 200 year-round residents, Alba’s shop seemed unlikely to succeed, but it soon sparked the enthusiasm of book lovers both nearby and across Italy. After surviving a fire and pandemic restrictions, the “Bookshop on the Hill” soon became a refuge and destination for an ever-growing community. The locals took pride in the bookshop—from Alba’s centenarian mother to her childhood friends and the many volunteers who help in the day-to-day running of the shop. And in short time it has become a literary destination, with many devoted readers coming from afar to browse, enjoy a cup of tea, and find comfort in the knowledge that Alba will find the perfect read for them.

Alba’s lifelong love of literature shines on every page of this unique and uplifting book. Formatted as diary entries with delightful lists of the books sold at the shop each day, this inspirational story celebrates reading as well as book lovers and booksellers, the unsung heroes of the literary world. (goodreads)

My Review

This is a charming book. I suspect reading it on a kindle (app) does not do it justice, and as it’s a memoir, I think a few photos would be appropriate.

But Alba Donati’s words about the view from Lucignana, and her bookshop, should be sufficient. It is a glorious location, and a bookshop with facilities the literati and more avant garde reader will relish, not to mention book tourists!

Written as a daily journal, liberally peppered with the history of her family, and her own adventures prior to setting up the bookshop, each day ends with a list of books sold [sorry, you can tell I didn’t read the blurb!]. These fascinated me. I think the best part of this book is the opportunity to discover new things that you’d like to read or own, or give to a best friend… And there’s this bookshop in Italy you can order them from!

I think the only one I’ve read is What You Can See From Here, which I reviewed summer 2021. If that is typical of the rest, then I really ought to search them out. Many are famous, mind, and most English majors will have read them all. Italian, French and German majors who include literature ditto.

As the bookshop opened just before Covid-19 hit us, it gives a good flavour of the numerous set-backs it suffers. Details vary, as priorities change during lockdown, and the family and next-level relatives take precedence. I got a little lost towards the middle of the book, or else my attention waned. But I got interested again a little further on, possibly at the time of the civic vandalism involving trees.

If you like books, Italy or memoirs, you’ll enjoy this. A combination of the three would be better…

Book Review | Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop by Alba Donati: 'If you like books, Italy or memoirs, you'll enjoy this' #italy #books #literature #memoir #netgalley #diaryofatuscanbookshop Share on X

Book Review | Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop
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7 thoughts on “Book Review | Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop

  • 11 February, 2023 at 8:06 am

    This took my interest Jemima as Tuscany is my fay part of Italy 💜💜

  • 11 February, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    This sounds quite unusual. I like the sound of the lists. KL ❤️

  • 11 February, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    Charming reads are definitely something I’m looking for these days!

  • 12 February, 2023 at 3:45 pm

    Sounds like a book shop I would love to visit and stay a while!

  • 14 February, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    Tempted, definitely, TBR list already far too long, but I used to love backpacking around Italy and Sicily. –

  • Pingback:What Stars Are Made Of | #A2ZChallenge23 - Jemima Pett

  • 29 September, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book review of “Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop.” It sounds like a charming and captivating read, offering a delightful journey through both the picturesque Tuscan landscapes and the enchanting world of books. Your insights into the author’s writing style and the sense of escapism it provides are compelling. I appreciate your honest assessment of the book’s strengths and minor drawbacks, which helps potential readers make an informed choice. I’m now eager to pick up this book and immerse myself in the magic of Tuscany through the eyes of the protagonist. Thank you for sharing this review!

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