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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Plus- Wonderful
If you love to read this book will make you very happy. This work, part memoir part history, tracks one man's love for books parallel to civilizations development of books.

The author recounts the books that moved him, the places that moved him and the people that enriched his life. The reading life is a great life and Buzzbee marvelously weaves together a...
Published on May 31, 2006 by Jeffrey Demers

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What Did I Miss?
After reading the enthusiastics reviews about this book, I wonder what did I miss about it. As a book lover, I have read many books about books. And I have read them all with a positive prejudice, with a will to be enchanted, forgiving of any flaw as we do when listening a just average joke told by a loved one.

In this case, positive prejudice et all, I can...
Published on May 8, 2007 by Fernando Villegas


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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Plus- Wonderful, May 31, 2006
This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
If you love to read this book will make you very happy. This work, part memoir part history, tracks one man's love for books parallel to civilizations development of books.

The author recounts the books that moved him, the places that moved him and the people that enriched his life. The reading life is a great life and Buzzbee marvelously weaves together a solid narrative using this theme.

This work isn't elitist or a guidebook of what to read next. It is a simple, short and beautiful appraisal of the power of the world of books.
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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Lust, Book History, and Everything in Between, July 25, 2006
This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
From _The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop_:

"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."

This quote could have come from my own autobiography, were I ever to feel compelled to write one. How comforting to know I'm not the only book addict on this earth, even in this age of reality TV when the average attention span is all of three seconds long.

As someone who reads books about books compulsively, I'm always on the lookout for anything new in this genre. Often I'm disappointed by either lightweight content or lack of a really interesting style, but in the case of this book that wasn't a problem.

This is a book that's both charming in style and very rich in content, something that's all too rare. Books like this need champions to proclaim their glory to the world. They're little books, from the standpoint of having to battle the heavy-hitting bestsellers, but huge books if you are anywhere near as enamored by books as Lewis Buzbee. And, if you were attracted enough to look this one up on Amazon, I can only trust you ARE enamored and I hope you'll not just read this one but comment on it wherever you can. This book deserves as wide an audience as it can get, but it's largely by word of mouth that so many small press books achieve that. So, give it a read and proclaim it to all the world!

Don't make me beg...

As countless other readers will likely find, I identified with so many aspects of this book, from the author's musing on the My Weekly Reader book orders from his grade school days through his various bookstore jobs. His wonderful sidetrips into the history of the book itself made fascinating reading, adding so much to what could have been a fine stand alone memoir of book lust and bookselling. Absolutely wonderful stuff, and a must for all the book-obsessed.

Now comes my big decision, whether to hoard this book all to myself or set it free to delight my other bookloving friends. Though I'm torn, I think I will send it on. It pains me, but as Buzbee put it, "Reading is a solitary act, but one that demands connection to the world..."

So, humbly, I send my copy of this book forth into the wide world, with the full knowledge that another copy of this book is only a One Click finger twitch away.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surrounded By Books, December 7, 2006
This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
Reading Lewis Buzbee's The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop was like going home again. Like Buzbee, I grew up in San Jose in the sixties and seventies. His reminiscences of My Weekly Reader and Scholastic Book catalogs brought back forgotten memories. He recalls shopping for books at Valley Fair, Gemco, Rexall, and Little Professor. So do I. He began college at a small Jesuit university nearby. Me too. He applied for a job at The Upstart Crow in the Pruneyard. I did too. He got a job there. I, uh, worked at McDonald's instead.

Buzbee intersperses the history of bookselling and libraries with his own bookish memories. For me though, the specific memories of Bay Area bookshops was the highlight. He covers everything from the grungy used bookstores near San Jose State to the neighborhood libraries with their patios. Buzbee stayed in the book business after college. He worked at two of the best book stores in the area, then became a publisher's rep with Northern California as his territory. Although I did not go into the book business, my husband ended up working at bookstores all over Northern California in the eighties and nineties. I wonder how many times we've run into Buzbee over the years.

I had so much fun reading The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Buzbee describes some of his book quirks, such as going to the airport newsstand and not leaving until he's picked a book. There's always one gem among what looks like a hopeless collection of bestsellers and porn. Or of occasionally browsing the children's books in the Borders or Barnes & Noble, even if you don't have any kids to shop for. I've read some of the best books that way, the latest being Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin.

If you are the sort of person who thinks of Waterstone's when someone says London, of Feltrinelli's when you remember Rome, and Powell's when someone says Portland, you are the sort of person Lewis Buzbee wrote The Yellow-Lighted Bookstore for.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What Did I Miss?, May 8, 2007
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This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
After reading the enthusiastics reviews about this book, I wonder what did I miss about it. As a book lover, I have read many books about books. And I have read them all with a positive prejudice, with a will to be enchanted, forgiving of any flaw as we do when listening a just average joke told by a loved one.

In this case, positive prejudice et all, I can only give three stars to Buzbee stuff. What he tells about books in general, history and anecdotes, has been already told many times and mostly better. And what he tells of his own experiences, though with some interest here and there, is not interesting enough. I can feel Buzbee is a nice guy, a book geek as me, a man with which to sustain a talk anyday, a book lover, a colleague, but he lacks originality and his prose, adequate at most, is far away of what we can describe as charming and witty. Nevertheless, as so many reviews see this book in a very different way, I still wonder: what did I miss?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written homage to bookstores and books, January 2, 2007
This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
Booklovers, rejoice! Buzbee's latest work is a touching, breathtaking ode to books and bookstores. He writes with a fine, precise hand, waxing lyrical about the sensual pleasures of reading and browsing, treating books and their vendors with profound respect.

The first few pages draw you in instantly, as he opens the book with every booklover's favorite pastime: walking into a bookshop. The rest of the book is devoted to minute details about the book's history, from the earliest papyrus texts to the magical, rare bestsellers that sell millions. The best part, though, is when he steps out of history and sociology and immerses himself -- and, by extension -- his reader into the bookshop, whether its an old antiquarian rabbit hutch in Paris or the modern, glitzy temple to reading, the chain bookstore. Buzbee reverentially recounts his professional career as a bookseller and, subsequently, publisher's sales representative, without succumbing to overt sentimentality. And when he lists his favorite bookstores around the world, the reader may feel compelled to take notes.

I love that Buzee doesn't demonize chain stores, and instead points out that they have their rightful place in a booklover's life, that they have helped revitalize the book industry. I heartily agree with his contention that, in many cases, it's not the presence of a chain store that kills an indie shop, but rather the latter's unwillingness to compete in a rapidly changing business environment. I'm a huge fan of indie bookshops, but I like my weekend forays into Borders and/or Barnes & Noble. Buzbee gives both their due and doesn't apologize for it.

It's a joy to read, from first page to last, and just the right book over which to linger with a steaming cup of java in a warm cafe on a rainy weekend afternoon. Highly recommended. I can't wait to read his next book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars confessions of a bibliophile, March 12, 2007
By 
Shemogue (New Brunswick) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
This is a delightful memoir of the author's life-long obsession with books as reader, book owner, bookstore clerk and publishers' rep. Like the drunk who cannot pass a bar without going in, Buzbee is irresistibly drawn into every shop, stall or warehouse where books may be found -- a failing with which I empathize, being an unrepentant book addict myself. For instance, some years ago marooned in a Sicilian port town during a ferry strike, I spent my spare time compulsively hanging about the town's dimly lit bookshop. The books, jam-packed and stocked to the rafters, were all in Italian, a language I neither read nor understand, yet I returned there to browse, day after day.

Interwoven with Buzbee's personal story is a brief history of books - creation and destruction, suppression and dissemination -- from clay tablet to electronic e-book. It includes a riveting account of Shakespeare & Co shop owner Sylvia Beach and her cloak and dagger operation to secretly publish and distribute the banned James Joyce book, "Ulysses", & of Ernest Hemingway's role in smuggling copies of the book from Toronto to the US. Again it was Sylvia Beach and friends who emptied out her shop's entire contents one night in 1941 to keep it from the Germans who were coming next day to confiscate the books.

I particularly enjoyed the author's description of his childhood encounters with books and the first book (Grapes of Wrath) that set him on the road to bibliophilia. "It's a common story", he says, "fill in your own blanks". And so I did. I thought back over half a century to what set me on a similar road and how it influenced the course of my life in ways that went beyond books themselves. That's a lot to get from such a modest little volume.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Readers, September 24, 2006
This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
Ever feel like a nerd because you carry a book around, want to read instead of going to a party, love to spend hours in a bookstore? This book will change your perception, and you will feel honorable, prestigious even as a reader. It is a lovely journey into the heart of a bookseller, writer, and all around book affcianado who shares the his lifelong affair with the book. Beyond the memoir which makes any reader feel like a member of a select club, the history adds an intrigue and dimension to the seemingly dowdy act of reading. The details of the evolution of printing, binding, and selling books from the renaissance through the present I found well researched and fascinating. I finished The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop with a new appreciation and love for the art of reading; feeling connected to a venerable tradition I never really fully understood before. The author is a good writer too, with a light touch I admire. It is a delightful gem.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the love of books, November 3, 2007
This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
I love reading books. I love looking at books. I love smelling books. I love learning about people. I love helping people find a book that will grab them. I love getting book recommendations. Therefore, I love working at a book store. This book is a story of a man's love of all of the above and how he had originally thought he'd go into the business world but while in college he got a part time job at a local independent and never left the industry. It is about the lifelong relationships he built while working at the book stores he worked at and how learning and discovering new things were as important to him as they are to me. This is probably my most favorite book in the world because I can relate to it so very much. It made me laugh in parts and cry in others, I didn't want it to end and that is why I have a stack of books about books on my floor by my bed. I'm looking for the next great book that will bring me back to that yellow lighted bookshop.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining & Instructive Read That True Book Addicts Will Appreciate, November 12, 2006
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This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
Lewis Buzbee's "The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop" is a terrific read -- entertaining, instructive, witty and poetic. Best of all, it's easily relatable for bibliophiles, like Buzbee himself, who've never met a bookstore they didn't like.

His book is part memoir, part history (it says so on the cover), and his descriptions of the bookselling business -- from the ancient past to the present -- are the most concise and effective I've seen.

Here's a passage that true book addicts will appreciate: "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."

Who among us doesn't know that feeling?

Buzbee's book also introduced me to a Vincent Van Gogh quote I'm ashamed to admit I'd never seen, but which is now one of my favorites: "I think that I still have it in my heart someday to paint a bookshop with the front yellow and pink in the evening . . . like a light in the midst of darkness."

"The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop" belongs on every booklover's shelf. (Although if it ends up in the unread pile next to the bed, it won't stay there for long, I promise.)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of heaven..., January 16, 2007
By 
Elaine Krasny (Milwaukee, WI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History (Hardcover)
For bibliomaniacs everywhere, this book is a delight, especially to cuddle-up with on a cold Winter's day! It is a must-read for booklovers and/or booksellers.
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The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History by Lewis Buzbee (Hardcover - May 30, 2006)
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