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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel » User review

A unique story that's hard to put down...

  • Jun 1, 2013
  • by
I had heard a lot about Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, and I finally got to the top of the library hold list. The people who told me about it were right... it's a very good read that's quite different than most novels I've experienced lately.

Bookstore starts off a little on the slow side, probably because the main character, Clay Jannon, is working a job that seems to be completely illogical. What's the purpose of someone working a graveyard shift in a 24-hour bookstore that never seems to sell any books? But it picks up as Jannon starts trying to figure out who the book borrowers are, and why the books they're borrowing appear to be nothing more than collections of random characters. There are a number of mysteries within mysteries to be solved, and they're all wrapped in a centuries-old society that no one has ever heard of.

On top of the story (which I thought was interesting with a number of things to consider), the dialogue style was perfect for pulling the reader into a one-on-one experience with Jannon's situation and thoughts about what's going on and what it all means.

I'd definitely recommend Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore with the warning that you might need some uninterrupted time before you start reading. I found it very hard to put down...

Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed

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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #43
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2012 (Debut Spotlight): Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is an old school mystery set firmly in tech-loving, modern day San Francisco. Clay Jannon (former web designer) lands a job at a bookstore with very few patrons and even fewer purchases. His curiosity leads him to the discovery of a larger conspiracy at play, one exciting enough to rope in his best friend (CEO at a startup) and love interest (works at Google). As Clay and company unravel the puzzles of Mr. Penumbra's book shop, the story turns into a sort of nerdy heist, with real-life gadgets, secret societies, and a lot of things to say about the past, present, and future of reading. Sloan originally self-published Mr. Penumbra as a short story through Kindle Direct Publishing, before expanding it to its current form with a traditional print publisher--a fitting trajectory for a fast, fun story that has so wholly and enthusiastically embraced the tension between the digital and analog books. --Kevin Nguyen

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