The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop
Video Length 1:26
Who Should Read It
Aficionados of books, history, and/or reading!
Why Should We Read It
This memoir quite joyfully captures the innate pleasure of receiving, giving, and finishing a book of any kind.
What Will We Learn
Interspersed between the celebration of books is a fascinating overview of the economics of book selling through the ages.
"What stood out from the rest was a rather fortuitous purchase..."
Very recently, my wife wanted to meet some friends in San Francisco. Being the ever dutiful husband, I arranged to be available to drive her into the city. Love, however, is never so exciting unless there is also a furtive, secondary agenda. My secret objective that weekend: visit the Borderlands Bookstore, a shop specializing in Science Fiction selections (and horror and mystery). I am in no way a connoisseur of any literary genre, but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for anything remotely related to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I certainly picked up multiple science fiction titles on that day (all great reads, albeit none with lightsabers). What stood out from the rest was a rather fortuitous purchase of Lewis Buzbee's The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop.
"I'd like to think that it wasn't actually the cover that convinced me to buy, but rather its thick and unevenly bound pages."
I'm not exactly sure what drove me to consider even buying this book. I don’t recognize Mr. Buzbee's name, nor do I read memoirs in general. On the other hand, the cover sported a soft blue shade, a curiously enchanting title, and the promise of "a guided tour of the book business from the ancients to today." Show me someone who has never judged a book by its cover, and I'll show you someone who is blind. I'd like to think that it wasn't actually the cover that convinced me to buy, but rather its thick and unevenly bound pages (called a deckle, I later learned). The rustles of this book's pages between my fingers created just the right pitch and tenor. Whether that was due to the rough texture of the paper itself or through forsaken dark magic was inconsequential to me. The book felt right in my hands, and therefore must be mine.
"Reading this book is akin to tasting the nuances of green tea ice cream- subtle and surprising."
Inside The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is a different type of delectable experience. It is Mr. Buzbee's personal memoir/history lesson/love letter to books itself. He weaves and blends together all three strands of thought with artful musings and captivating observations. With him, I force myself to slow down the pace of my reading, partly so that I can fully appreciate the nuances of his prose, but mostly so I can extend the time with Mr. Buzbee in his reflections. With only 215 pages to digest, I know that I am bound to finish The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop sooner rather than later. Reading this book is akin to tasting the nuances of green tea ice cream- subtle and surprising. My wife would roll her eyes if she knew I said this about Mr. Buzbee. She would also comment that I have made that comparison with only one other author: Haruki Murakami.
"Twenty-five years have passed since those juvenile days, and my love of books remains undiminished."
I love reading, but I never bothered to reflect or to articulate why it is such a pleasure. For those who also love reading, no explanation is needed. For those who do not want to read, no amount of eloquence will engage their interest, much less convince them to try. Mr. Buzbee took the time to reflect, and his efforts is the treasure of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop in my hands, worth its weight in gold ($15.00 US). Through him, I suddenly remember the joys of my very first books- the Matt Christopher sports novels, the Hardy Boys mysteries, the Goosebumps thrillers- that preceded my Star Wars obsession. Twenty-five years have passed since those juvenile days, and my love of books remains undiminished. I've gone full circle by entering Borderlands Bookstore looking for a Star Wars copycat. Speaking of which, I better start looking for my wife.