On My Bookshelf: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Jan 18, 2013

Good morning!

A few months ago in my Fall Reading List, I shared that I had found this cool new book that I was really excited to read, Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Well, it was under the Christmas tree and I had it read in a few days!

I thought it would be fun to do a little review of it as a follow up to featuring it on my reading list, so here goes!
Amazon, Chapters Indigo, Good Reads
From the publisher,
        The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.
        With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.

I'm not going to reveal any of the big secrets, but just in case, my thoughts are after the jump!


I was SO excited to get this book for Christmas and dive right in! First thoughts? I really enjoyed it! 

It had everything it promised: typography, mystery, code-breaking, data visualization, adventure and it all works really well. There were parts that were a little fantastical, but nothing super unbelievable.

I found it to be a fairly easy read. Read it in a couple days over the holiday and was a little sad to see it finish.

It's a very 'current' book in terms of technology & the internet. There's talk of coding languages (some I recognized & some I didn't), buying fonts, Google, Steve Jobs, Facebook, Mechanical Turk, and tons of other tech things. I don't think you need to know anything about any of these things to enjoy it, but if you do have some experience with them it makes it a bit more fun.

I so so wish that Gerritszoon was a real font!! hahaha But after some googling, I discovered that it's probably based off of Palatino and/or Poliphilus.

It wasn't a book that completely engrossed me, but it was a really fun read and the answers left me satisfied. It was a great book and I would definitely recommend it, especially if the publisher's blurb intrigues you! I will give it 4/5 stars :)

What's on your bookshelf lately?

xo,
B

2 comments:

  1. Um, I kinda love the cover of this book. It's delightful!

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