I was at the bookstore the other day and while I saw a lot of the books everyone recommended, I picked up "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" by Susan Vreeland (who it turns out is a teacher in San Diego).
Its kind of like "The Red Violin" in that it follows the owners of a painting that may or may not be a Vermeer (the journey goes backwards in time so you eventually find out). The reason I love it is because, like in The Red Violin," the violin is in possession of people who are truly able to connect with it, so is the painting in "Girl in Hyacinth Blue." Each person has their own story and you see how the painting speaks specifically to them. I think its a great way to see how art/beauty/meaning is in the eye of the beholder. How art mixes with and reflects our own experiences, dreams, fears... our everything, back to us, if we but take the time to pay attention.