Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan
Published Oct 2nd 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Summary: A Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle
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 customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
Mr Penumbra’s is so much fun!
I knew going in that there was going to be a mystery element to the book, but I didn’t expect it to be this much fun. Who knew a bookstore mystery could be so compelling? Mr Penumbra’s is so whimsical and funny. It’s definitely a book that everyone, especially booksellers or bookworms could really enjoy and relate to.
I really enjoyed Clay — he’s a fantastic narrator. He’s funny and charming but most importantly, his friendship with Mr Penumbra is just wonderful. Having once worked for former Googlers, and being quite tech-savy, he’s really quite “modernized” in comparison to Mr Penumbra and the way the bookstore works. Having Clay work in the bookstore really allowed you to see how things have changed in our modern world and the things you could really do with technology.
I loved exploring Google. It was quite fascinating just thinking about the different gadgets they have and its capabilities like the scanning tool, which was really exciting and cool. I also really fell in love with the characters; I think they’re all wonderfully written and it felt that I could really see them existing in our real world.
Mr Penumbra’s is an adult book, but I think its an adult book that can be enjoyed even if you’re slightly younger. As someone who reads predominantly Young Adult, this is a book that isn’t daunting or difficult to get into if you don’t read much Adult fiction. It’s definitely one of those books that everyone can enjoy and appreciate regardless of age.
I devoured this book from cover to cover and I could definitely see myself re-reading this in times to come. I know there is a short companion book to this which follows Penumbra’s journey as a book-lover and how he discovered the 24 hour bookstore. I think it’ll be interesting to read about how this all started and learning more about Penumbra, so I’ll definitely check this book out soon.
Mr Penumbra’s is a must read for everyone who love books!