Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Book #17: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Genre: General Fiction
Pages: 304
Recommend (a top read of 2013)
Read in 5 days!

Why did it take me so long to find this book? How did I even find out about this book? I wish I knew the answers to those questions. (edit: I now know that Sylvia May, who I know on a booklist, recommended this book to me. I’m ever so thankful that she did, and thankful that she solved my mystery as well.) What a delightful read. Books, wizards, Google, secrets, codes, a touch of romance, travel, history and spies. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a modern day fairy tale. Or is it a modern day adventure? A thriller? It’s all of those and more!

Our protagonist, Clay Jannon, is out of work. He stumbles into Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and his life immediately changes. Rather than just sit and collect a paycheck, Clay discovers a need deep inside to solve the puzzle of the bookstore. He enlists the help of some friends, and takes us all on a fun adventure.

As a long ago user of Aldus PageMaker (now owned by Adobe), I loved the nod to Aldus Manutius. I loved the nods to modern computers and the tie in to old time printing. I laughed over some comments about print vs ebook, especially since I started out by reading a hard bound copy from the library and then bought the ebook and finished reading on my Kindle.

I found myself totally wrapped up in this story and it was hard to put the book down. When the final secret was revealed I smiled, wiped away a tear and thought, YES! This book was “the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”


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