I'm the author of The Home Distiller's Workbook. I'm a geek-prepper-shiner. Currently into Urban Fantasy, Biz and Post Apocalyptic
I don't think the writer could do anything. It's almost a culture issue.
In the bookstore
The book starts with an amazing premise, ends with a whimper and feels like a long rant on why geeks and the people who work at Google are smarter and hence better then the rest of you. Don't get me wrong, I'm actually one of those silicon valley tech types. I have been on campus at Google often and I love eating there ;-) But this book feels like someone who has drank too much of the Google Kook Aid. There is a lot the G crowd gets right but there is also a lot they get wrong.
On top of that the relationship between the protagonist and the girl is totally unhealthy. If you find yourself in a relationship where your SO wants to break up with you because your ideas didn't work out and then is willing to try again because you were proven right? I'm sorry but if all it takes for her to ditch you is for you to have an incorrect hypothesis how long do you expect this to last? He needs to run screaming from this girl, not begging lamely for her to take him back. What is wrong with people who find this sort of behavior OK?
Lastly the story dies with a whimper. It tries to play off everything that is hip and cool about living in SF, I get it, I did that for 10 years. But in the end the pay off does match the build up and all in all it just feels like someone who is trying to justify their own life and not a real story.
Maybe I'm just burned out by too many want to be intellectuals after my years living and working in the bay area. I find way to many people confusing self centeredness with open mindedness and self importance with actual social contributions.
I really like the first half of this book. It reminded me of a friend and I even recommended it to him. But, after the first half, it lost me. I can't put my finger on it. I think I was tired of hearing Google mentioned every little bit. And the ending was a bit of a non-event. I did, however, think the narrator was excellent. He made Mr. Penumbra come to life and his delivery of the witty bits was good.
I don't know if I can finish this book. While I could tell right from the start that this book was geared to a less mature audience, the story had some charm and some intrigue, so I kept listening. I'm about 2/3 or more through now and it's all I can do to keep going. Does this author work for Google? Sure sounds like it, because the praise for Google never ends. And all the references to Harry Potter.... Enough already! I guess if you're a young gamer, wannabe computer-nerd you'll appreciate this book. But I say skip it and head straight to "Ready Player One," the book "Mr. Penumbra's" wishes it were. I call it fluff.
Will read (or in this case, listen) to just about anything.
First half was quite good, but then it fizzled and died. The cutesy aside jokes were funny initially - then became really annoying. Also, the sudden puppy-dog love between the main characters was nauseating. There are many better books.
Book nerd for life!
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was one of my first books back into fiction. I'm not big on mysteries and things like that, so once it started going in that direction, I decided to call it quits (56% through). The narration was enthusiastic. The storyline was going good and the characters were fun to think about. It was geeky, which is fine (enjoyed the Google mentions), but once it started getting into secret societies and strange missions, it lost my interest.
Literary DaVinci Code
The plot was interesting, and I loved the fact that it was set in a bookstore. I'm also a sucker for anything involving a secret society-- the weirder, the better. However, the book quickly strayed from the bookstore setting, which was disappointing. I wanted more of the mystery to be about the books and place itself.
I loved the build-up to the secret about the books. It's not any scene in particular, but I felt like the entire beginning of the book was really the best part. But then again, I love suspense.
I really enjoyed the bulk of the book, although I found the ending a bit cheesy and trite. I also grew weary of the portrayal of the female character. She seemed very one-note, and while she was smart, she was precocious in an off-putting way. As the only female lead, I wanted her to be dynamic like her male counterparts.
I always find it hard to write a review for a book I really loved because I can't find the right words to describe my listening experience, but suffice it to say I really enjoyed this book and I have already suggested it to a friend.
Some of the reviews warned that this book was a little too "tech-y" but I didn't think it was beyond anyone's comprehension. When it came down to things like that I didn't try to understand every little piece but instead simply let myself be amazed by what we can do with technology now.
At heart, this is a fun novel about an adventure to uncover the secrets of an ages-old underground society. This was definitely the fastest I ever listened to an audiobook because I couldn't wait to hear how it ended. I was pleasantly surprised by Ari Fliakos. I didn't think I was going to like his narration that much, but I think his range of voices was fantastic and I would never hesitate to buy a book narrated by him.
I never really got into this book. I didn't hate it but I was happy when I was finally finished and could move on to another one. I ready so many good reviews before purchasing, but it just didn't do it for me. The writing and narration was good, but I found the story to be dull.
He was the perfect narrator for this book. His voice was what I imagine Clay's would sound like.
Sorry, but no, not really.
Who wouldn't love a book with all of their favorite things, all in one lovely audible book with a decent reader? I found it in Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore! What luck!! Conspiracies, secret codes, the search for meaning, bookstores and reading rooms, logos and branding and fonts, San Francisco, strange friendships and alliances with unlikely characters...enjoyable from cover to cover.
A fantastic story filled with warm eccentric characters that held my attention from beginning to end. No rewinding on this one. I couldn't wait to get home from work to listen. The narration absolutely perfect. I hope there is a sequel!