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
not like this one. The story was way too far out for me.
It was inane. I couldn't identify with or feel for the characters.
I thought it was read very well. He did his best to make a stupid book sound interesting.
I guess for some people, but not for me.
An enjoyable tale set in contemporary San Francisco and New York, inflected with the current technology and information revolution. The author has some sense of the history of technology and information science. Novels sometimes shine for their gritty detail; this one's details are about information technology.
First of all, the narration quality for this story was incredible. The characters and tones were very defined, which made the listen very enjoyable.
Now, I am a book and technology lover, with a strong interest in many of the topics covered in the story - which I can't go into without spoiling the plot. I do, however, think that this story can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter your level of expertise in books or the Google search engine. I did figure out a good chunk of the story about halfway through, but the writing was enjoyable enough for me to continue and I loved every minute of it. I highly recommend giving this title a listen!
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.
This is actually a pretty standard story. It *is* interesting, but it falls flat a lot. It sort of feels like Dan Brown, where the fantasy isn't really, which was heartily disappointing. You do always want to know what happens next, so that's good. the narrator is mostly good, nothing to write home about, nothing to complain about. One last quibble with the book is I really couldn't get behind the romantic subplot.
To listen to this book, one would think that the author was speaking directly through the narrator - Ari Fliakos is fantastic as the voice of the main character. He makes the story really live. I would absolutely love more from Mr. Penumbra.
Clay - his voice is real and funny
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