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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by…
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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Robin Sloan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1154081,220 (3.87)3 / 463
Member:aipotu
Title:Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel
Authors:Robin Sloan
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2012), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:None

Work details

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

  1. 214
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (derelicious, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    derelicious: Both are books about books, with secret societies and mysteries to untangle. The Shadow of the Wind is more gothic and takes place during the Spanish Civil War, and Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is lighter and takes place in modern times.
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although they have very different settings (1950s Spain in Shadow of the Wind and modern San Francisco in Mr. Penumbra's), these adventure stories, with underpinnings of romance, offer unique perspectives on the role of books and reading in our lives.… (more)
  2. 80
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Yells, bookworm12)
  3. 50
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  4. 40
    The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas (Anonymous user)
  5. 20
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  6. 10
    The Magicians by Lev Grossman (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Both books deal with a fictional fantasy series that holds a lot of significance to the story.
  7. 10
    A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé (lycomayflower)
  8. 10
    Lexicon by Max Barry (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both books are non-traditional geeky mystery/thrillers.
  9. 10
    The Writer & The Witch by Robin Sloan (MitraLibrary)
  10. 10
    The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (generalkala)
  11. 10
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    librorumamans: This is the real deal: a thoroughly researched, non-fiction treatment, with particular emphasis on the influence of printing on European culture.
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  18. 01
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    4leschats: The older/younger man relationship is similar along with the quirky cast of characters, light tone, and humor throughout.
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    simonew: FREE till April 1 'Book of the Month' globetrotting anthology VOICE FROM THE PLANET read excerpt http://ow.ly/juCFD
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English (394)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  Piratical (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (403)
Showing 1-5 of 394 (next | show all)
Synopsis:
Clay just got fired and is looking for a job when he walks into Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore to apply for a clerk position. Mr. Penumbra gives him the once over and with a the deep, soul probing question (What is your favorite book and why?) hires him on the spot. Clay takes on the night shift of the 24 hour bookstore and finds that, with the exception of a few eccentric customers requesting exceptionally odd books written in a sort of code. After meeting with another curious character named Kat (WHO WORKS FOR GOOGLE?!?! WWWHHHAAATTT???) things pick up quickly. He infiltrates a secret society and threatens to bring down the very pillars which support the society with the help of a very interesting crew (a warrior and two warlocks [you'll get it later]).

All and all this was a PHENOMENAL read! The author is so gifted that he could have been writing about winged horses farting rainbows and I would have been enthralled. He makes the journey though this novel such an enjoyable one that it was effortless to read. I loved the epilogue (and that doesn't happen often) and felt like everything closed appropriately. ( )
  wkeblejr | Feb 10, 2016 |
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

★★★★

I try to stay away from books that are super popular at the moment. I tend to be disappointed, expecting so much more than the book can deliver. However, in this case, I am so glad that I chose to read this book! It was absolutely wonderful.

Honestly, I didn’t know where this book was going half the time and that was one of the great joys of it! It sucked me in right away and kept me in suspense from beginning to end, something that I rarely find. I really enjoyed the characters; they were all well-rounded and likable. The settings and the storyline were just as enjoyable and it’s hard for a bibliophile to not enjoy a well written story about books and bookstores, I mean, come on! It was a book about friendship, adventure, technology, and the changing world around us. The only reason this book didn’t make it to my 5-star club was the ending. I can’t put my finger on it but I was not fully satisfied. Perhaps I set myself up for failure, expecting something more grand. Regardless of this, I still loved this book and its lovable characters. I would have no problem recommending it to others.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
This book arrived in my mailbox, mystically.
I do not remember ordering it, although I'm sure that I did.
I don't remember what I read about it that inspired me to order it - but admittedly, any review I'd happened across probably would have intrigued me.

Because: Books! Mystical books! An ancient cult of puzzle-solvers! Weird and independent bookstores hiding secrets! An underground library! PLUS! Technology! Google! Software! Stuff that reads like a 'Wired' article! (Maybe I read about this book in 'Wired'? It is possible.)

I fully admit that this is not the most erudite, literary offering of the year. It's a very, very quick read. But it is a heartfelt love letter to both books and technology, and an optimistic look at the intersection of old and new information storage and retrieval techniques. I loved it.

PLUS! (Again). (I can't believe that none of the previous reviews mentioned this.) THIS BOOK GLOWS IN THE DARK! Coolness. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Back from the library. A bit slow getting back into the flow in the middle of a book. I did it though and glad I did. Interesting little mystery.


-Stopped at page 128. Brandon read and enjoyed. It is interesting. ( )
  pnwbookgirl | Feb 7, 2016 |
I loved it. The intersection of old and new; the mystery; the camaraderie...If you love a good mystery, books AND technology, this is a great read. My heart is happy having finished it. ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 394 (next | show all)
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookstore flourishes in the nebulous terrain between super-powered digital information and the text warriors of yore. It rocks in terms of crazy imaginative leaps and is so optimistic about the longevity of books in print that it makes bibliophiles like me positively clap with glee. It does have its share of shortcomings though, but more on that later.
added by SimoneA | editThe Express Tribune, Anam Haq (Nov 10, 2013)
 
And if, in the end, the plot doesn’t entirely satisfy – the love story is a little weak, the 500-year old mystery rather too neatly solved – this novel’s ideas will linger long in the mind.
 
“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is eminently enjoyable, full of warmth and intelligence. Sloan balances a strong plot with philosophical questions about technology and books and the power both contain. The prose maintains an engaging pace as Clay, Mr. Penumbra and the quirky constellation of people around them try to determine what matters more — the solution to a problem or how that solution is achieved.
added by SimoneA | editNew York Times, Roxane Gay (Dec 14, 2012)
 
I loved diving into the world that Sloan created, both the high-tech fantasyland of Google and the ancient analog society. It’s packed full of geeky allusions and wonderful characters, and is a celebration of books, whether they’re made of dead trees or digits.
added by ablachly | editWired, Jonathan Liu (Oct 6, 2012)
 
This winning literary adventure, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, has all the elements of geek hipsterdom: fantasy novels, role-playing games, computer coding, and classic typography.
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Sloanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fliakos, AriNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kagan, AbbyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solow, NannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
FOR BETTY ANN AND JIM
First words
Lost in the shadows of the shelves, I almost fall off the ladder.
Quotations
Now I've resigned myself to sitting at the front desk, but I can't stop squirming. If fidgets were Wikipedia edits, I would have completely revamped the entry on guilt by now, and translated it into five new languages.
You know, I'm really starting to think the whole world is just a patchwork quilt of crazy little cults, all with their own secret spaces, their own records, their own rules.
He has the strangest expression on his face -- the emotive equivalent of 404 PAGE NOT FOUND.
Now, for the first time in my life, I empathize 100 percent with Fluff McFly. My heart is beating at hamster-speed and I am throwing my eyes around the room, looking for some way out.
There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the Portuguese (Brazil) Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
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 have 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, they "check 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. Soon Clay has embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what is going on. And when 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 twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or the young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that is 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 reader, no matter the time of day.

TEXT EDITION:

CLAY JANNON, twenty-six and unemployed, reads books about vampire policemen and teenage wizards. Familiar, predictable books that fit neatly into a section at the bookstore. But he is about to encounter a new species of book entirely: secret, strange and frantically sought after.

These books will introduce him to the strangest, smartest girl he's ever met. They will lead him across the country, through the shadowed spaces where old words hide. They will set him on a quest to unlock a secret held tight since the time of Gutenberg - a secret that touches us all.
But before that, these books will get him a job.
Haiku summary
Mystery Bookstore
needed better ending but
still amusing read.
(legallypuzzled)
Every time Google

pauses, I shall think fondly

of men in black cowls.

(legallypuzzled)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374214913, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2012 (Debut Spotlight): Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is an old school mystery set firmly in tech-loving, modern day San Francisco. Clay Jannon (former web designer) lands a job at a bookstore with very few patrons and even fewer purchases. His curiosity leads him to the discovery of a larger conspiracy at play, one exciting enough to rope in his best friend (CEO at a startup) and love interest (works at Google). As Clay and company unravel the puzzles of Mr. Penumbra's book shop, the story turns into a sort of nerdy heist, with real-life gadgets, secret societies, and a lot of things to say about the past, present, and future of reading. Sloan originally self-published Mr. Penumbra as a short story through Kindle Direct Publishing, before expanding it to its current form with a traditional print publisher--a fitting trajectory for a fast, fun story that has so wholly and enthusiastically embraced the tension between the digital and analog books. --Kevin Nguyen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at the titular bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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