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

Book Review


Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)Book Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery

Book Series: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore #1

Released: 10/2/12 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Pages: 288  Price: $16.00 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

Source: I borrowed the audiobook from my library.



Book Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

I came across this book through a link on my library’s overdrive site that said ‘show me something different’. I’m guessing that it is meant for people like me who don’t quite know what they are in the mood to listen to or read.  The bright cover and short intriguing synopsis caught my attention so I added it to my wish-list and moved on.  By the time I got done browsing some other patron had checked it out and I would have to wait my turn.   Then earlier last weekend I saw that it had moved into the available column and decided to not let it slip through my fingers again.

I have to say this has to be the most charming little book I have read/listened to in some time.  Oh sure, plenty of great books out there but this one truly is charming.  It isn’t a very long book, in fact, I managed to listen to all but an hour of it in one afternoon of cleaning.  Perfect length for a shorter trip or even one day at work if you can listen to an audiobook.

The beginning of the story was very relatable coming off the last recession I believe many will be able to identify with the main character and his struggles.   Of course, it quickly takes a twist when a secret society is tossed into the mix and the mystery around all the strange books and characters that come to borrow them digs its claws into not just the main character but the reader as well.

There is a fascinating blend of technology and old-world ways that raise some interesting questions about our society’s dependence on the internet for solving problems.  Another question that struck me while listening to this book was if this was written by Google?  Google plays a pivotal role in the plot of this book, so much that it becomes a tad overdone at times.  But then again Google it has become a fairly standard phrase in our society while we try not to think about all the data they mine from our lives…  Still interesting to ponder the potential that the company has to shape the world around us.

Bottom line this was a fun book.  It made me smile and it made me think.  The mystery and message it delivers are well worth the few hours it took me to listen.  I will have to check out what other works this author has written since this book was published.  This one, though, I recommend.

My Rating: 4 Stars


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