Buzbee, Lewis 1957-
Buzbee, Lewis 1957-
PERSONAL: Born 1957, in CA; married; children: Maddy. Education: Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC, M.F.A.
ADDRESSES: Home— San Francisco, CA. Office— University of San Francisco, Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program, 2130 Fulton St., San Francisco, CA 94117-1080; fax: 415-422-6996. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Writer and educator. Chronicle Books, CA, sales rep, beginning 1986; University of San Francisco, Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program, San Francisco, CA, adjunct professor of writing, 2000—. Previously worked in the bookstores Upstart Crow, San Jose, CA, and Printers Inc., Palo Alto, CA, manager.
Fliegelman’s Desire (novel), Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1990.
After the Gold Rush: Stories, Tupelo Press (Dorset, VT), 2004.
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Lewis Buzbee is a writer whose first novel, Fliegelman’s Desire, tells the story of a disenfranchised man whose perpetual longings lead him to quit his job and go to work in a bookstore. Once there he meets Mimi, who, like Fliegelman, lives a life of vague, unfulfilled desires. When the two begin an affair, it sends their lives into a bizarre direction. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author “has a playful imagination and a charming way of animating the ordinary.”
Like Fliegelman from Fliegelman’s Desire, Buzbee also worked in bookstores and recounts his love of books in The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History. The author tells of his first fascination with books as an elementary student and his time working as a bookseller’s rep. He also delves into the history of bookmaking and bookselling from ancient to modern times. Allison Block, writing in Booklist, noted: “Both anecdotal and eloquent, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is a tribute to those who crave the cozy confines of a bookshop.” A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the author writes about “everything one would want to know about the modern business of bookselling.” A contributor to the Shapiro UGLi Booktalk blog wrote: “This charmingly honest memoir is a garden of personal joy and celebration where a book geek’s sensibilities and appreciation for the history of books and bookstores blossom in full color.”
Buzbee told CA:“A book report my sophomore year in high school [was what first got me interested in writing]. A cousin suggested The Grapes of Wrath, and when I finished the first chapter of that, I started my first short story.”
In response to the question “What kind of effect do you hope your books will have?” Buzbee said: “I suppose what I’d want most is what books have given me—a sense of the power of the written word and all the pleasure that comes with that, and a strong urge to get out of the reading chair and become engaged in the world. If someday I can write a book that’s strong and clear enough to get a teenager more engaged in the world, then I’ll be very happy.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Buzbee, Lewis, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 2006.
Booklist, June 1, 2006, Allison Block, review of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, p. 20.
Publishers Weekly, April 17, 2006, Penny Kaganoff, review of Fliegelman’s Desire, p. 184; April 17, 2006, review of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, p. 184.
After the MFA, http://afterthemfa.com/ (November 16, 2006), “A Post-MFA Done Good: Interview with Lewis Buzbee.”
Booksmith Bookstore Blog, http://booksmith.blogspot.com/ (November 16, 2006), brief profile of author.
Shapiro UGLi Booktalk Blog, http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/ UGLread/(November 16, 2006), review of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop.
The Book’s the Thing Blog, http://blogs.nsls.info/ thebook/(August 31, 2006), “An Interview with Lewis Buzbee, Author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop”; (November 16, 2006), review of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop.
Tupelo Press Web site, https://www.tupelopress.org/ (November 16, 2006), brief profile of author.
University of San Francisco College of Arts and Sciences Web site, http://artsci.usfca.edu/ (November 16, 2006), faculty profile of author.