Buzbee celebrates the unique experience of the bookstore - the smell and touch of books, getting lost in the deep canyons of shelves, the silent community of readers - sharing his passion for books and interweaving throughout the whole a fascinating historical account of the bookseller's trade.
fascinating.I had no idea how difficult it was. Book and bookstore lovers will enjoy.
a) how much bookshops and the publishing world interest you
b) if light on detail, nostaligc, genteel reminisces float your boat
Personally I can take it for about 150 pages before my eyes glaze over. A few wonderful biibliophile phrase do not a book make.
The history was well told but light and a bit dull (see a) but there were some interesting tales buried such as the printing of ulysees. The memoir is, well it's ok, no fun tall tales here, just some experiences that entwine the history. Although at one point he takes to listing great bookstores... Yawn.
Another problem for me it was written in an odd time for publising: 2004 and by a nostalgic, entrenched book lover. The 'stick head in sand' attitude with the future of books was intensely irritating and was only saved by a new and thoughtful postscript. I guess, though, this is not what the book is about. It is a celebration books and the places that sell them. Nothing wrong with that, it's just not for me
It is a book about books. As we know, books are magic and open doors.
The author talks about his experiences as a reader, a book store employee and a book seller. While he writes of books, somehow, I didn't hear the enthusiasm expected from someone who touched thousands of books.
Somewhat pedantic and unemotional, the author wrote of the history of books (I found this interesting), the sale of books and those who frequent the stores.
Little is mentioned about libraries.
The magic of books simply doesn't shine through in Buzbee's writing. But, I would recommend reading it because there are chapters that are very well written and informative.
I really enjoyed this. I especially found the history interesting. He intersperses his own experiences with the history information. The book was written in 2006, so e-books were really just taking off in popularity, so he only says a little bit about them, but not much. People who love bookstores would really enjoy this, I think, but also others who are interested in the history of books.
Buzbee combines everything bookish here, beginning with his own 'calling' to the world of books, at 15, reading 'The Grapes of Wrath' at school, and moving through his time as a bookseller and publishing sales rep to his current role as reader, writer and compulsive book buyer. On top of the autobiographical elements, Buzbee traces the history of the book and bookselling, from papyrus scrolls to roadside stalls, through developing bookshops, censorship and printing to the e-commerce of today. To cap it off there is a wealth of personal insight, from the author's favourite bookshops across the globe, lovingly evoked and fairly evaluated, to the simple joys of books - their texture and smell, the pleasure of admiring shelves and stacks of books, the slow contentment of coffee and browsing...
A magical little tome, definitely worth not only reading, but buying, rereading and passing down to the next generation of bibliophiles.
This is a book I enjoyed but I'm not sorry I borrowed it rather than bought it. He calls it a memoir/history but it often reads more like listening to a person talk informally about his love for books and bookstores. Some of his topics would have been more interesting and more memorable if he had taken the time to dig a little deeper and write an Anne Fadiman type personal essay developing his topic around a theme. However, it was a great book to relax with just before bedtime-it was very conducive to going to sleep. (That is not meant as a criticism, rather just an observation.)
For folks like us who love our books, Lewis Buzbee's The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is irresistible. Part memoir, part history, part love affair with these jewels of cardboard and paper, Buzbee leads us through his life in books from college bookstore clerk and stockboy to traveling salesman. A quick book - possible in an afternoon though this week didn't provide those couple of hours of uninterrupted time - Buzbee opens the door into the world of the bookseller. But it's his history of the bookstore from Roman scribes and bookbinders through the 21st century box chain vs. indy store clash, threaded in between his memories that kept me reading.
I'd suspect that those of us who love reading about books as much as we read books will be the most enthusiastic readers of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. My fantasies of being offered that high-paying job at Arcata's Northtown Books, reading and occasionally dealing with our local literate characters and customers, remains strong now that I've had the chance to pear into the bookstore's backroom.
Buzbee, a former bookseller, creates a book that appeals to the intellect and to the senses. He seasons his work with interesting tidbits about the history of books, and successfully conveys the sense of excitement that he feels when entering a bookshop—what beautiful, new book will prove irresistible?
Buzbee also makes a case for independent bookstores as a bastion of democracy and as exponents of freedom of thought. Quite a lot is covered in this small volume. Such is the power of the book.
Reviewed by: Sherrie
Between his bits of memoir, he has also incorporated the history of bookmaking and bookselling. He discuss the ancients who wrote on papyrus and parchment (originally lambskin), and rice paper.
It is a fascinating book if the reader has any interst in the subject.
Having moved on from the first chapter, I was glad I did. I found this a delightful book. It truly is both a history and a memoir. More than that, it is both a personal memoir, and a memoir of bookselling as a profession. He tells his own story alongside that of the history of bookselling, and makes both very interesting.
He includes one statistic that I find distressing, though. He tells us that at an average of one book a week (roughly my own pace, depending on the book, and the week) from the age of 5 to the age of 80, a person will read 3,900 books or a little over one-tenth of one percent of the books currently in print. Far too few, if you ask me.
In all, a nice rainy afternoon's read for any book lover.