Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: "Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel" by Robin Sloan

This was another book that's been sitting in my "to be read" pile for awhile that I finally got around to (a never ending process right?)

Clay is a graphic designer type who finds himself out of a job at the beginning of the recession.He wanders through San Francisco searching for jobs, and combs the internet with very little success.

There was a quote from Clay while he was job searching that I think goes through everyone's mind when they do it: "I kept at it with the help wanted ads. My standards were sliding swiftly. At first I had insisted I would only work for a company with a mission I believed in. Then I thought maybe it would be fine as long as I was learning something new. After that I decided it just couldn't be evil. Now I was carefully delineating my personal definition of evil."

He finally finds an ad that intrigues him. It's a help wanted ad for an overnight clerk position at a 24 hour bookstore. He goes and talks with Mr Penumbra who  tell his about the very simple rules that he has to follow to be a clerk. Clay says that he can follow those rules and begins work shortly after begins working.

The late night shift is mostly quiet except for an occasional wanderer, a stripper looking for a book after her shift ends at the sleazy club next door, but then there are his regulars. His regulars don't come in looking for ordinary books to buy. They actually aren't buying anything, they are actually borrowing. The books that they borrow are from a wayback section of the store that contain strange, kind of cryptic books. Clay snoops in a couple but finds them pretty nonsensical.

He realizes that this whole 24 hour bookstore with hardly any paying customers is just a small piece of a much larger puzzle. What follows is intrigue, travel, book burning, secret societies, love, new opportunities, secrets revealed and more!

I didn't like the Kat character, the love interest, really.  I know we're supposed to think she's cute and quirky and techy (kind of like a less abrasive Claudia from "Warehouse 13" if anyone watches that) but I was feeling pretty ho-hum about it.
*Slightly Spoliery* In regards to the immortality aspect. I kind of assumed they didn't mean physically. So when everyone was shocked that it wasn't some kind of magical potion  to live in your physical body I was roiling my eyes. Like really people?

I give this book a solid 3.5 stars. I love the whole idea of the 24 bookstore, even if it's next to a shady strip club.This book started kind of how I thought it would but then departed from what I expected completely, which was ok.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

1 comment:

  1. I have been quite interested in this book. Honestly I have been pushing out some reading this week.. and next two weeks when I visit my parents. I would like to squeeze this one in during that time!


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