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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    3,587
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Books as backdrop for a Google paean

I was worried that “24-Hour Bookstore” would be surreal and highbrow. It isn’t. It’s a straight-up modern mystery built on a clever premise. The characters are fun but not very deep. And Google is quite well placed product-wise.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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a true delight for any liver of books

the main character's internal dialogue provides a bright, humorous backdrop to this tale of ancient secrets and secret societies in an age dominated by computers and technology.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Say What?

Would you try another book from Robin Sloan and/or Ari Fliakos?

No, I really do not understand this book. I guess I didn't know it was a "Matrix" kind of story (I guess).
I am very lost and feel stupid for not getting it. It seems like it could be great. Good writing characters and narration, but for the storyline, which was too "out there".

Has Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore turned you off from other books in this genre?

I didn't know it was of this genre, of which I already was turned off.

Which scene was your favorite?

This is not really a book of scenes, it's very abstract, ideas in the mind.
If I had to say, I guess I was surprised when the main character goes to work to find the bookstore closed.

Could you see Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Possibly. Someone who plays a more "nerdy" role.

Any additional comments?

Would ask for a return but it was already discounted.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Save Yourself

Worst audiobook I've listened to. This book came up as a suggestion based on my history but they couldn't have gotten it more wrong. So incredibly boring, the narration was abrasive, the main character was whiney. I tried SO MANY TIMES but couldn't even make it halfway through.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Too quirky for me

There's nothing actually wrong with this book, for me it just felt too quirky and too witty (without being witty). Perhaps I would have liked it at 13, but not at 30.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Perfect romp for bibliophiles of all media

This charming book takes the best elements of different genres -- mystery, hero's quest, code making and breaking, and even a sprinkle of good old fashioned growing up -- and makes something that is both all of them and not quite any, but certainly satisfying. Not only that, but there is something for all lovers of crafts and craftsmen... even audiobooks. Sloan nimbly balances seemingly conflicting worlds and ideas to bring about something wholly enjoyable, and Fliakos provides a perfect voice for the twenty-something narrator trying to figure out his life and identity at least as much as the literary goings-on. I listened to this in a single day, it was just that captivating.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Marztopia
  • Houston, Texas United States
  • 11-24-16

Wonderful

I loved listening to this book. The story was fantastic and the narrator did an incredible job!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • New Braunfels, TX, United States
  • 11-20-16

Clap-Your-Hands Delightful!

Delightful sounds old-fashioned, but when you come across a story like none you've ever read, and you love it, the best word is delightful. The media employed to tell great stories is more varied than ever, but great stories will always be about life, love, friendship, work, mystery and serendipity. Boomers and millennials will find a new fondness for each other in these pages, whether paper or tou ch-screen. The performance was spor-on.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Typical novel

I prefer non-fiction and historical fiction to novels and if you do too, this will be a light, fast and halfway entertaining book. It has the elements of the typical novel: a bit of romance, the plot that moves rather quickly to the big climax, and lots of details that try to make it sound true. It was a light read for sure.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Widely entertaining and incredibly smart

I loved reading this book! It's definitely one of the most original and true statements about the resilient magic of books in light of advancing power of technology that only seems to threaten the survival of the centuries-old relationship between the reader and the written word, as well as among the fellowship of readers themselves.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful