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
Magical, funny, interesting.
Clay's sense of humor made him my favorite character.
I loved the way Ari read this story. The different voices were entertaining. But the rhythm he used to read the story really held my attention.
I laughed out loud.
I don't read or listen to much fantasy or sci fi, but this was an awesome book. I chose it because Ari Fliakos was the narrator and am so glad that I did. Every character was a treat.
I thought I would listen to this based on the reviews and I was not disappointed. In fact I was pleasantly surprised. The story has enough suspense to keep you wanting to hear more. The story is a good combination of past and present and sends a nice message without being too obvious. I would definitely listen to another of Robin Sloan's works.
It's rare that I find a book this enjoyable. Quirky, yet believable, characters at the leading edge of today intersect with yesterday's kindle, i.e. the printing press. . I don't want to delve into the story and give away any spoilers, if you're excited by technology, and a fan of the written word, enjoy a bit of a quest without the blood sports, then this is your book.
The reader was also excellent.
I think I had a grin on my face, not to mention a few laugh out loud moments, throughout the story. Once again, loved it!
Hi all. I'm in my 50's (that's relevant, i think), and I favor fiction. I like the british sensibility, and was introduced to the Forsyte Saga through audible ... loved it! I happen to also like Chinese writers, but they are not well represented yet at audible. Looking to follow readers with similar tastes ...
i would recommend this book, although as a fun read, nothing more (and there's nothing wrong with a fun read!). the narration was so-so. i was left with the feeling that the author did not do as much as he or she could have with such a clever idea.
Kat Potente - geek girls are cool :)
The first entry of the group into the "library" in New York.
This book made me think about the future - particularly the harnessing of collective human intelligence by means of a game, to solve the world's problems.
This story is very interesting to listen to. The narrator does an excellent job of capturing most of the characters. The story itself is well written and the pacing is good.
If you're interested in technology, then this story will speak to you directly. If not, the mystery itself may interest you.
The only weakness to this tale is the very end. I don't want to give anything away, but it feels like the author is in a bit too much of a rush to wrap everything up. Even so, the ending is still satisfying.
Personally, I group this book with Ready Player One. That isn't because they are exactly the same, but the mystery and focus on technology means if you like one you will probably like the other. Plus Ready Player One is narrated by Wil Wheaton. What's not to like?
Short and sweet reviews, Allentown pa
It's a decent listen. It's hard to be original, this is defnitely a fresh idea of a book.
The narrator is terrific.
Laughed out loud several times and was totally won over by this quirky story. Don't be put off with the title, it's a charming book with surprising elements, winning characters, and a plot that keeps you listening long after you need to turn it off.
This is the best book I've listened to all year. Funny and surprising, it had elements of art, science, technology and literature.
While enjoying the story, I kept wondering where it could be going. Google, dragon songs, Ruby, typefaces...how is it all connected?
Ari's performance was great. I loved the way his speech would quicken when Clay was excited, or quiet when he was sneaking around. The voices he used for the other characters were all distinct.
I'd like to have dinner with Kat...at Google. A glimpse into the world that is Google....
This is obviously a story of our time...there's a mention of Fruit Ninja.
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