Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

Robin Sloan
A Winner of the Alex AwardA Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First FictionNamed a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco ChronicleNew York Times Book Review Editors’ ChoiceNew York Times Bestseller The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2019-06-15
I really enjoyed reading this book. It had a good mystery and was interesting to hear about working at Google.
Reviewed: 2018-11-19
Islamic Book Service, New Delhi
Reviewed: 2018-04-29

I have seen this book promoted on many of the booktube channels I subscribe to, and one of favorites in particular, Ariel Bissett, has RAVED about the book so I so just had to pick it up!

Sloan’s debut novel follows main character Clay Jannon who is a recently jobless web designer who is looking for work and finds a job at “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.” The plot of this novel was just so damn enticing, I was on board from the very beginning! I really enjoyed the main character, Clay Jannon, as he is in my age bracket. The minor/supporting characters were a great ensemble too that added so much to the story. I loved how the plot combined books and modern technology as I and many other younger readers have a passion for both! I also enjoyed that the plot contains a secret society, there always seems to be so much mystery surrounding the secret society and I love to learn about its ways, history, and reason for existence.

I thought the novel had good pacing throughout and that ever-changing setting really aided the plot in not feeling dull or dragged out like it can in other novels that has either a central and sometimes even a limited setting. I also found during my readthrough of the novel that it has a good “voice” and good flow, both of which are key to a pleasant reading experience; I’ve read books with poor flow or choppy writing and it can completely kill the ambiance and take you out of the story.

Throughout my readthrough of this novel I rarely was disappointed. There was a point in the novel where one of key characters was absent after a big event took place and I was just surprised that this character would just up and disappear. I also felt the ending, though good, was a little anticlimactic, I was hoping for some revelation in the climax of the plot, however the climax was different so my expectations weren’t meant, which is a little disappointing.

When I read a story I am not looking at the author’s writing with a critiquing lense, I read for enjoyment and if do not notice grammatical errors that may be present, then it does not pose a problem for me. Others may be reading with a critical lense and any grammatical mistake will take away from the experience, I however did not experience that during my readthrough of the novel. If you love reading for enjoyment also just love books then this book is probably for you. If you like a story to be about something more than books then proceed with caution, you may be surprised and like it but this book may not be your cup of tea and that’s okay too.

Reviewed: 2018-04-22

This book was a hard one to put down. From start to finish, I was completely enthralled in the adventure and mystery of one tiny little book store.

Reviewed: 2017-08-29
Book Description A Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything-instead, they "check out" large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele's behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore's secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
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