Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan -288 pages
Book Blurb:
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.
My Review: 3.5 stars
Very difficult to review this book because at times I was laughing out loud and flipping the pages furiously while at other times I was overwhelmed with the intricacies of the fonts and a mysterious codex vitae. The former outweighed the latter so this book still earned 3.5 stars. All in all, this is a love story about books and for that alone, I had to read it! I learned so much about the world of google , the internet, secret societies and I really liked the main character. He was a good guy caught up in an odd mystery. The book read like a movie script even offering the reader an epilogue with a follow up to what happens to all the supporting characters.
Quotes I liked:
- Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines--it’s hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits. That’s just a feeling, not a fact, but remember (I repeat): people believe weirder things than this.”

-“A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”

- “There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight.”

-“Neel takes a sharp breath and I know exactly what it means. It means: I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf.”

- “So I switch to my MacBook and make my rounds: news sites, blogs, tweets. I scroll back to find the conversations that happened without me during the day. When every single piece of media you consume is time-shifted, does that mean it’s actually you that’s time-shifted?”
-Tags: 2013, Fiction, Mystery

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