A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life - mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore.
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 21st 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 listener, no matter the time of day.
©2012 Robin Sloan (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
If you liked issacson's bio of Steve jobs; if you were delighted by cumbrrbatch's portrayal of Alan Turing; if you liked ready player one; if you have ever thought twice about typefaces; or if you have tried, and enjoyed, coding of any kind, read/ listen to this book and enjoy.
After a few recent audio duds, it is refreshing to hear an audio book written by an author who has plenty of brain cells to rub together. Bibliophiles, computer techies, or anyone who relates to today's rapidly changing world will enjoy this. Robin Sloan managed to make me laugh, smile, enjoy surprising twists, and see the present world through observant eyes.
All without descriptions of spurting blood, foul language, and women being reduced to simplistic stereotypes. Even better, I didn't get the feeling the author was copying whatever is hot right now. Like vampires, or monster hunters. With so many original ideas, this author doesn't need to copy the latest formula trend.
Great narration, nicely voiced characters. A quality audio book. Perfect if you are looking for a light-hearted and fun story.
The story itself was very fun and lighthearted- adventurous, funny, creative. I thought the reader did an excellent job narrating and drawing you into the story. The writing itself could have been a little better- some repetitive lines to really - hammer- the points home, could have been more nuanced and improved with more editing. However - I totally loved this book.
this book was a fun read. It wasn't too complicated but there was enough mystery to keep you coming back for more. I really enjoyed this book and I think everyone should read/listen to it!
Fantasy, technology, and mystery
Unexpected, charming little fantasy/adventure story set in high-tech San Francisco. It's a curious mix of reality, cutting edge technology, and then fantasy lurking hidden around every corner. It's hard sometimes to tell where reality stops and fantasy starts.
During the recession in San Francisco Clay, an unemployed designer, gets a job at Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore and is soon trying to figure out how it can even stay in business, and what the second, hidden business of the bookshop actually is. Soon the story involves his special effect artist housemate, various Google technology and Google people, his startup-owning best friend from primary school, and lots of references to a beloved fantasy series (the Dragonsong Chronicles) that all manage to tie together into a D&D styled quest to find out the truth and help Mr. Penumbra and solve the mystery of the bookstore for good.
Crossing between reality and fantasy, modern technology and historical mystery, it's hard to describe this book. I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and the "quest" could have ended more impactfully, but it was a sweet and enjoyable light read with some likeable characters and lots of interesting detail.
I tend not to geek out about books...or listen to them again until the story has faded enough in my memory that cracking it open again feels like a new adventure. But as soon as I was done with this book, I texted everyone I knew who mildly enjoys books to download, read, buy! And then started the book all over again with my not-that-enthusiastic-about-books-in-general husband (he lives a sad life) and we devoured it with gusto. We laughed, a lot, and were so engaged in the story, we're buying a print copy for the kids we don't even have yet. Here here, Robin Sloan. Masterfully crafted.
This was a good title to listen to on my commute, it was entertaining without being so involved that I would lose my place while changing lanes.
The Characters were fun and their adventures were not always believable but hey, it's fiction so just go with it.
No, it was amusing, light, entertainment.
Definitely worth a listen if you want a light selection.
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