25 October 2007

"The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop", by Lewis Buzbee

For years I've fantasized of leaving my middling government career and having my own little indy bookstore. It's that thought that when you strip it all down, and think about what it is you truly enjoy doing and surrounded yourself by, it's my books. And then there's the George Eliot quote on my government gray metal filing cabinet, "It's never to late to be what you might have been." A bookstore guy. Yeah, that's what I want to be when I grow up!

For folks like us who love our books, Lewis Buzbee's The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is irresistible. Part memoir, part history, part love affair with these jewels of cardboard and paper, Buzbee leads us through his life in books from college bookstore clerk and stockboy to traveling salesman. A quick book - possible in an afternoon though this week didn't provide those couple of hours of uninterrupted time - Buzbee opens the door into the world of the bookseller. But it's his history of the bookstore from Roman scribes and bookbinders through the 21st century box chain vs. indy store clash, threaded in between his memories that kept me reading.

I'd suspect that those of us who love reading about books as much as we read books will be the most enthusiastic readers of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. My fantasies of being offered that high-paying job at Arcata's Northtown Books, reading and occasionally dealing with our local literate characters and customers, remains strong now

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