Bibliography Challenge 2: Buzbee's The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop

For the most part, this was a wonderful read. Buzbee remembers his first experiences with reading and his early life in bookstores. He worked and lived around San Francisco, which he still does, and many of his illustrations of bookstore life in this city were interesting to read. He then moves on to an explanation of the history of book, which were at points bright and at others slightly tedious, which I don't entirely blame him for; those sections were just not my cup of tea, but maybe preferable to someone else. The history of booksellers and the story about Shakespeare and Co. were highlights. I was also interested to learn about how bookstores price books. According to Buzbee, out of 25.00, only 1.88 goes to the author, while a little over 11.00 goes to the bookstore. Obviously, the bookstore has more payments, or so Buzbee says, but I was surprised to see that the author gets so little.

He ends the short memoir/history with a fictive city planning venture: he creates a city of books. A few of the bookstores he knows from being an employee, but others are world famous stores, like Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, Tattered Covers in Denver, and The Strand in New York. No bookstores in Atlanta, but that disgruntlement will have to be saved for another post.

I found this book to be incredibly instructive and a beautiful ode to one man's experiences amongst the bookshelves.


  1. Thanks for the gorgeous review!

    I've had this book on the shelf for a while, which I save for my flight to Asia at the end of this month. It appeals to me at the first place because he's local. :)

  2. and that's so cool that you can just hop on a streetcar and go to some of the bookstores he mentions...Grrr...I can, er, hop in my CAR and go to Borders. Oh well, it's better than having no bookstores!


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