06 May 2014

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore 5 stars

I saw this in my local used bookshop. The cheerful yellow caught my eye and the title was interesting. A twenty-four hour bookstore? Sounds interesting, but sometimes a book about books may not go over well. To the library I journeyed only to find that there was a waiting list for this title. What's a girl to do, but add it to her hold list and wait.

I opened the cover and started reading about a young man, in his twenties, jobless, hunting for work. Clay Jannon goes for a walk in his beloved San Fransisco in an attempt to find work... any work. He happens upon a thin little book store in the "pleasure district" with a help wanted sign. "Oh well, at least its work," he thinks.

Mr. Penumbra owns the book store and asks a question that changes Clay's world in a way he never expected, "What do you seek in these shelves?" Doesn't sound like much, but it starts Clay on an adventure that he never thought would happen.

This novel is wonderfully modern, taking place during the Great Recession. Many people are looking for work, any work, just to pay the bills. It also tackles the battle of e-books replacing "traditional books". There's a heavy dose of help from Google in this one, as well as their thoughts on immortality.

Ancient puzzles, obscure books from long dead authors, hackers. What more could a girl ask for?

Just a lovely cup of coffee. Seriously, I would love to tell you more of the plot, but htat would be giving too much away. You really should read about Clay, the night clerk at Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.

(Oh one more thing... the cover glows in the dark!)

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