The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop

A memoir, a history, by Lewis Buzbee.

The Yellow-Lighted BookshopIn clearing out my reading pile, I stumbled upon The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee. I read this book several months ago, then put it aside with a mental note to write up some comments in my blog.

I’ve been incredibly busy lately and not focused on what I’ve been reading. As a matter of fact, I’ve been having some trouble getting back into reading these days. My “To Read” pile is tall, but for some reason, I’m not impelled to read any of the books on it. And every time I pass a bookstore, I have trouble keeping myself from dropping in.

That’s why this passage from the first chapter of Buzbee’s work really hits home:

For the last several days I’ve had the sudden and general urge to buy a new book. I’ve stopped off at a few bookstores around the city, and while I’ve looked at hundreds and hundreds of books in that time, I have not found the one book that will satisfy my urge. It’s not as if I don’t have anything to read; there’s a tower of perfectly good unread books next to my bed, not to mention the shelves of books in the living room I’ve been meaning to reread. I find myself, maddeningly, hungry for the next one, as yet unknown. I no longer try to analyze this hunger; I capitulated long ago to the book lust that’s afflicted me most of my life. I know enough about the course of the disease to know I’ll discover something soon.

In The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, Buzbee, a former bookseller, writes about his life with books, taking detours along the way to discuss the history of books, printing, publishing, and and the book selling industry. Chapters cover the business of books — including the surprising (for some) truth about what an author earns on each book sold and the impact that large booksellers (think Barnes and Noble and Borders) and online booksellers (think Amazon.com) have on the industry.

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is a look into a life where books are more than just bunches of paper with words on them. Educational, amusing, insightful — the book will appeal to any book lover in a way that few other books can.

I highly recommend it.

What do you think?