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

bookcover.phpThis is not a review, it’s a love letter.

I adore this book. Why? It has a likeable narrator in Clay Jannon, a mysterious bookshop, romance, puzzles, secret societies, a San Francisco locale (with a side trip to New York), and a sly sense of humor. The theme of Old Knowledge (books) vs. Internet knowledge gives the author the chance to slip in scenes at Google, a museum dedicated to knitting overrun by first graders, information about fonts, a character who made his fortune creating realistic 3-D versions of breasts, and a warehouse of artifacts that seems a cross between what I imagine Amazon’s warehouses to be and the warehouse from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The theme also allowed for scenes that reminded me of other books and movies, from Lord of the Rings, Canticle for Leibowitz, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Shadow of the Wind, and, strangely enough, O Brother Where Art Thou.

There are many good quotes for book lovers in this story. My favorite:

“Some of them are working very hard indeed. ‘What are they doing?’ ‘My boy!’ he said, eyebrows raised. As if nothing could be more obvious. ‘They are reading!”

This title was one of the winners of the 2013 Alex Award, given every year by the American Library Association to “ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.”

This book is fun. (Did I mention the cover of the hardback edition glows in the dark?). It’s the kind of book that made a reader of me, the kind of book that keeps me reading, the kind of book I write blog posts about because I want to share the joy.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.


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