The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, By Lewis Buzbee
Sunday 18 January 2009
Lewis Buzbee has spent a life in books, as bookseller, book sales rep and writer. This is a loving memoir of all the bookstores he's worked, shopped or dallied away the hours in, and a history of bookselling going back as far as the great library at Alexandria, taking in the Chinese inventions of paper and block printing, Guttenberg's movable type and the influence of the 18th-century London coffee shop on reading habits. It is full of curious lore, such as that the word book comes from buch, the German word for the beech that book covers used to be made of; and that the original Shakespeare & Co in Paris closed down in 1941 rather than sell a copy of Finnegans Wake to a high-ranking German officer.
Buzbee is a well-read, likeable guide of impeccably liberal sentiments. (It's good to learn that, in the USA at least, booksellers rallied to Salman Rushdie's defence at the the time of the fatwa.) A book by a booklover, for booklovers, about loving books, this is a warm and cosy read rather than an exciting one. But sometimes warm and cosy is just what you want.
Arts & Ents blogs
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 2 Boy George: Bad karma
- 3 Rachel Canning: US teenager returns home after she tried to sue her parents for child support
- 4 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 5 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'