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
This book is very entertaining, specially the first part when all the characters are being discovered and presented by the main character. The story tries and somewhat succeeds in solving the intriguing "what is the future of the book" question and also the way in which we, as a race, will come to share knowledge in the years to come. But it is also a detective story, not very strong, but very funny and entertaining. Young adults will like the references to today's leading internet companies and more mature readers will be delighted with all historic references and the way the writer jokes about his own storyline.
I couldn't stop listening. It's only in retrospect that I realized this is a version The Hero's Journey, but it's membership in that club doesn't feel formulaic at all. Enjoy!
This isn't a book I would have probably chosen on my own, so I am glad it was recommended to me. I really enjoyed it. Different from what I usually read. It is very interesting. It's a fun read! I liked it.
While the story is interesting, I couldn't help but feel the authors overly romantic views on google weren't founded in reality. It read almost like a pamphlet for working at Google.
Kept my interest through the entire book. Really enjoyed the audio version. Take the time to read this enjoyable book and smile occasionally through it. It was quite a wonderful journey.
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