After living, breathing, and falling utterly in love with all of the Joe Ledger books and Ray Porter's narration for the past couple of months, and then moving on to being scared out of my wits each night by Hell House only so that I could hear more of Ray Porter's voice, I needed something light (while I wait for the next Joe Ledger book to be released, of course..).
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore fit the bill in more ways than one. I am hitting on 56 years old, and tend to be a bit geekish, and while some have said this book seems geared towards young adults, I found it absolutely delightful. Some passages actually made me laugh out loud. Ari Fliakos' narration of the book was spot-on and flawless. Really glad I found this book and I now have a new narrator to keep an eye on. Well done!
I loved this story, historic, fun, whimsical with an old timey bookstore without many patrons run throughout the night. The story leads our hero back and forth from the world of ancient book clubs trying to decipher immortality to Googlers basically trying for the same outcome. There's no bodies but plenty of non-violent thrills. A pleasure to hear.
Avid reader and high school English teacher. Kindle, book, audio - if they could implant books directly into my brain, I'd probably sign up.
First off, I simply love books about books - and this is one of the best I've read in a while. The characters are quirky enough to be interesting without being unbelievable or off-putting.The story propelled me towards the end, which I was reluctant to reach - always a good sign, in my opinion. It's not a difficult listen - you can get distracted in the middle of chapter three and still know what's going on. Mostly, it was fun. I even downloaded it for my nine-year-old son - also the sign of a good book.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
Any book that successfully combines mysterious bookstores, cryptography, a secret society, Google, typefaces, meaningful numbers ($2,357 is brilliant!), and a museum of "Knitting Arts and Embroidery Sciences" gets high praise from me. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is definitely that book. Clay Jannon is an out-of-work art school graduate who finds a job on the night shift in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Mr. Penumbra (a partial shadow, between regions of complete shadow and complete illumination) is interesting in his own right, but his store full of books from the Waybacklist stored on dusty, multi-storied shelves is where curiosity gets the best of Clay and he begins his adventure. He is aided at every turn by his techie acquaintances, but Sloan uses plenty of humor along with the technology so even those of us over thirty get it.
This is a well-told, fun story, one that made me think a bit and I even learned a few things. I learned that Aldus Manutius was a real Italian printer and publisher who helped develop italic type, and the use of the comma and semicolon. I learned that Griffo Gerritszoon is fictional. I also learned that Robin Sloan is a very clever writer who can tell a good story. My only regret is that I listened to this as an audiobook (Sloan does have a cameo on the audio version) and didn't read the hard cover with the glow-in-the-dark dust jacket!
The strange mix of fictional corporations, historical characters, and fonts with bizarrely overwhelming mentions of GOOGLE GOOGLE GOOGLE annoyed me. Leveraging all of Google's power was a quick way to illustrate some of the efforts, but lauding their cafeteria, management structure and general nerd culture to the degree and pages he devoted to it was unnecessary. The resolution also angered me for reasons I can not describe without "spoilers".
The characters, other than his caricature of a "quirky nerd girl" girlfriend, were likeable. The mystery wasn't really that mysterious, but the natural way the story was told made it feel more friendly and enjoyable.
He does an excellent old man voice.
It could be properly Wes Anderson-ed up to be enjoyable, but it would really depend on the director.
Who is accomplished enough to claim a critic's eye? Who is as masterful as those who have written for the rest of us to read? When I was a young man, I believed I knew what was better than something else. Now, I am in awe of everything. Now I realize that the older I get, the less I know.
This was a fun listen for younger listeners. But, for a senior like me it was an interesting peek into the mindset of the young in the 21st Century. Google, digital code, fantasy worlds, etc. all were engaged throughout.
Yes, if I were 30 years younger.
I haven't listened to other performances, but I enjoyed this one as he spoke in various voices.
Sure. Another book could continue the fun although the conclusion of the story reveals the folly of the whole quest by the characters involved. There is more to say about quests and the tendency we all have to imagine significance in things that turn out not to be there. It's kind of sad. We all want our dreams to come true. But, there is a lesson there and that could be a starting point for another book.
A reader from day 1 now a listener too! Remember honesty in a review does help you decide, even if you don't agree!
Run, don't walk to Mr Penumbra's and just do it! What a masterful book! Mystery, Tekky, New-Fangled, and old-fashioned all at once, and Robin Sloan brings it all home in the end like a Seinfeld episode!
Wow, after the listen, realizing; no sex (thanks), no violence (thanks) no language (thanks) no politics (even though it is set in SF!) and is still the most engaging mystery/novel/suspense and fantasy thing I have had the pleasure to have listened to in a LONG while! Platonic but not boring, characters you know and settings that are new and old all at once. Hits all the high points, and the pitch-perfect performance by Ari Fliakos will have me looking for his work again as well.
Sloan is hopefully the new J.K. Rowling, and will be looking for more! I never wanted this one to end!
Thanks you Robin Sloan from a classic mystery lover, and to Ari Fliakos for the great performance.
I loved this book. I try to switch between a novel, a history and a self improvement book so this was a wonderful treat. I read some other reviews and someone complained about the amount of detail given about fonts. I thought it was fascinating and I learned a lot. This is a sweet story and encourage you to read and enjoy it!
As a nascent programmer I found this book to be an enjoyable listen. I couldn't pause it, I finished it within the same day. It is a very well thought-out book with plenty of mystery, the dashes of tech, history, romance, and even an important life lesson at the end.
An added bonus is the masterful narration, especially the audio book within the audio book. It was a pleasant surprise and impressed me with the level of detail given to this audio edition of the book. Definitely buying the next book, Ajax Penumbra 1969, narrated also by Ari Fliakos.