Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is amazing. This book is another one that I had heard a lot of people recommend over the last couple of years, but I didn’t really know what it was about. The fact that it had “Bookstore” in the title was enough to make me want to read it. What book lover doesn’t love books about bookstores, right? But surprisingly, this book seemed to me to be way more about computers and technology than about books. It was perfect for me!

Clay takes the night shift at a bookstore after he cannot find a job doing computer work during the recession. There are two sections to the bookstore: the front, which sells normal books, and the back, which loans out books not found on any website. Clay’s job is to document everything about the borrowers of these mysterious books. These people seem to belong to some sort of exclusive club, and Clay isn’t allowed to even look at the books. Of course he doesn’t follow that rule for very long.

What ensures is an almost a cross between The DaVinci Code and an epic Dungeons and Dragons quest. I loved the cast of characters and the mystery/suspense. I loved how nerdy this book was with all of the talk of Google technologies. Like the book’s closing statement, this book was “the right book exactly, at exactly the right time” for me anyway.

Rating: 5 Stars

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Robin Sloan
October 2, 2012

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

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