Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop

Readers tend to love bookstores as well as books about books.  Lewis Buzbee's The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is first and foremost a love story.  It is about reading, hanging out with readers, talking about books, learning about books, and generally living a book-based life.  On some level, my fellow bloggers, isn't that what we all aspire to?

I ended up tweeting about this book a lot as Buzbee knows how to turn a phrase.  Here's a selection of the quotes that I tweeted:

"Books are slow. They require time. They are written slowly, published slowly, and read slowly."
"From its inception, the English coffeehouse is one of the most innovative and democratic forums in Europe."
 "The difference between writers and authors, John Steinbeck once said, is that authors appear on the Today Show."
"The form and expense of the medieval book had as much to do with the shrinking tide of knowledge as with the church's censorship."
 "How do you press a wild flower into the pages of an e-book?"
"...complaining has never been a solid business plan."

I loved reading about the various bookstores that Buzbee has worked in.  I loved reading about the history of books--from the development of binding and paper to the itinerant bookseller to the marriage of the coffeehouse to the bookstore.  I enjoyed hearing Buzbee's optimism (in stark contrast to the usual gloom and doom stuff) regarding the future of reading, books, and readers.

I think the best thing about The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is the energy that Buzbee imparts--here is a fellow reader writing about something that defines him as a person, and that happens to be something I can relate to...the love of reading.

This is the book you want to give as a gift to other readers.  This is the book you want to take with you when you travel so that you can visit all the wonderful bookstores that Buzbee writes about.

All I can say is Read On!


  1. *sigh* This definitely sound like a bookworm's book. We do love to wax lyrical about how great books and reading are, don't we. At first I thought it was a fictional one, but I realize that it's actually non-fiction. Have you read 84 Charings Cross? It's another one that indulges in a lot of literary loving - basically a correspondence between an American writer and a London book clerk, and it's a fun read.

    1. I read 84 Charing Cross decades ago and watched the movie, both of which I loved. It's definitely due for a reread. The only part that made me squirm was how few of the books that Helen requested were even remotely familiar to me! A humbling book, indeed.

  2. This sounds like a super book. Indeed for us bookish folks it seems to be a must read.

    In addition to loving books I also love bookstores. Sadly in recent years due to the rise of Ebooks we have lost some great ones in my area.

    I also love those quotes.

    I will try to get to this one in the coming months.

  3. I loved this book, but had forgotten all those wonderful quotes. Definitely time for a reread!

  4. I'm one of those people who likes reading books about books, so this definitely appeals to me!

  5. I loved this book, too. So many great quotes. And you're right, as a reader of books, who doesn't love reading about bookstores, and books, and about the people who love both? Thanks for reminding me how much I enjoyed this book. :)

  6. Surprisingly, I have a hard time reading books about book shops or libraries. They make me impatient to explore the books themselves--maybe that's the problem. One exception might be Sixpence House, about the "bookshop town" of Hay-on-Wye in Wales. But I haven't actually read the book, though I have read about it. I know I would like to visit the town though!

    Your review makes me want to take a look at this one. Steinbeck's comment surprised me--I thought it would be the other way around! That is, authors have book spots on the Today Show, whereas "real" writers are home writing.

  7. This sounds wonderful. I am a lover of bookstores as well and would love to read more about them!