If you have not already seen this book then The Hare with the Amber Eyes is a must read for 2012. I chose it for our reading group before Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
The book centres around a group of 264 wood and ivory Japanese carvings called netsuke and is written by Edmund de Waal, a British ceramic artist who has created installations for the Victoria and Albert Museum, Chatsworth, Kettle's Yard and Tate Britain. These carvings were bought by one of de Waal's ancestors in Paris in the 19th Century at one of the most exciting times in the History of Art. It is not so much a detailed history of each of the minature sculptures but more of the history of the collection being moved around Europe and Asia as de Waal researches his family history and also includes some of the more frightening times of Europe's past.
The paperback includes photographs of some of the carvings, some family photographs belonging to de Waal and also a family tree of his ancestors dating back to the time when the family made their fortune in grain and banking. The family tree is a must to follow as you read the book in order to keep a track of who is who in the story (the family tree may not be available in the Kindle version). The hardback, illustrated edition contains many more interesting photos to guide you through the book.