Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is amazing! I flew through this book in a little under 24 hours and wanted to immediately read it again.  It combines elements of fantasy, mystery, and adventure and speaks to the bibliophile that lives in my soul.
Clay Jannon, an unemployed Web designer, takes a job working the graveyard shift at a 24-hour bookstore, owned by the strange Mr. Penumbra. The store has two kinds of customers — random passers and a strange group of people that borrow (never buy) from private collection of books, which Clay has been instructed not to read.  One night Clay succumbs to his friends pressure and discovers that the books are written in code. With the help of his roommate, a special effects artist; his best friend, a successful creator of “boob-simulation software”; and his romantic interest, Kat Potente, who works for Google in data visualization, Clay goes on a quest, in much the same fashion as in his favorite series The Dragon Song Chronicles. He solves puzzles and digs up secrets, that lead him to a place he never expected and a 500 year old secret society.  Sloan so seamlessly combines old technologies (books themselves) and new technologies ( computers and e-readers) that it gives the novel a sense of purpose and almost enlightenment.  And trust me I KNOW how cheesy and awful that sounds.  I myself resisted e-readers for a long time because I thought I would be losing something that only real books could give me.  Sometimes I still do. This book spoke of that struggle, and verbalized something that u didn't even realize needed verbalizing. And it was a fun read.  The characters are Uber likable and the storyline is paced just right, not too fast and not too slow Goldilocks.
If you are a bibliophile add this book to your reading list, you won't regret it.

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