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Monday, March 18, 2013

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

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-1443415781
Published Oct 2, 2012
Trade paperback, 304 pages

Oh, this book was so much fun! What a great mix of the old with the new, whether it was code breaking techniques both ancient and contemporary, or dusty book researches versus Google's mighty search engine and geeky technological savoir faire.

Clay Jannon's search for a job lands him as the night clerk at Mr.Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore. It's a mysterious place with a few, equally strange people coming in at all hours of the night to pick up books from the far corners of the ladder-high shelves at the back of this hole-in-the-wall bookstore. Needless to say, Clay's curiosity helps him discover a secret society that leads to adventure, romance, discovery and friendship.

This was a happy and clean contemporary novel written by a guy without the use of profanity or perverse stuff! Although it was an easy read it wasn't simplistic. Written in the first person, we get inside Clay's head and get to see things from his perspective. He's a funny guy, and I found myself laughing out loud several times. There was not a dull moment in this novel. Clay comes across as a pretty straightforward and ordinary kind of guy surrounded by geniuses both young and old. But it's the ordinary guy that in the end makes a startling discovery that leads to a simple but profound message. Some may find it anticlimactic. I didn't.

What I liked most about this book is that we have characters who are seniors, from a different generation mixing in with the tech-savvy youths of this generation. What a great combination. Mr. Penumbra is a mysterious character, at once strong and frail, a representation of both generations. Both respected and learned from each other. As it should be. Bibliophiles will love the whole theory of books as precious instruments that carry life stories.

We chose this book for our book club and most of us really liked it. It's a positive book, a fun and happy book. Perfect for when you need a pick-me-upper. The perfect book for that special friend in your life. One I will recommend to all my friends.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.

Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.  I was not told how to rate or review this product.

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