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

by Robin Sloan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mr. Penumbra (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,9485601,070 (3.84)3 / 568
  1. 215
    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. 120
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Yells, bookworm12)
  3. 50
    The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas (Anonymous user)
  4. 61
    The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (SqueakyChu)
  5. 20
    The Martian by Andy Weir (sturlington)
    sturlington: Mr. Penumbra's reminded me in tone and its reverence for tech, geeks, and pop culture of both The Martian and Ready Player One.
  6. 20
    A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé (lycomayflower)
  7. 20
    The Circle by Dave Eggers (conceptDawg)
    conceptDawg: Similar content and themes
  8. 20
    Lexicon by Max Barry (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both books are non-traditional geeky mystery/thrillers.
  9. 20
    The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard (Anonymous user)
  10. 20
    Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop (nsblumenfeld)
  11. 10
    Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson (Othemts)
  12. 10
    The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Both books deal with a fictional fantasy series that holds a lot of significance to the story.
  13. 21
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  14. 10
    An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Othemts)
  15. 10
    The Book in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree (librorumamans)
    librorumamans: This is the real deal: a thoroughly researched, non-fiction treatment, with particular emphasis on the influence of printing on European culture.
  16. 10
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (sturlington)
  17. 10
    The Writer & The Witch by Robin Sloan (MitraLibrary)
  18. 10
    The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (generalkala)
  19. 11
    The Seance Society by Michael Nethercott (4leschats)
    4leschats: The older/younger man relationship is similar along with the quirky cast of characters, light tone, and humor throughout.
  20. 11
    Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem (Othemts)

(see all 22 recommendations)

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English (545)  German (6)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Italian (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (559)
Showing 1-5 of 545 (next | show all)
This book pushes all my buttons in all the right ways. A book about a secret society of readers, who read a sequence of obscure texts in order to solve a mystery. Much of the action takes place in a book store, which is great.

Clay Jannon is an unemployed 20-something living in San Francisco. One day he spots a help wanted sign in the window of a book store, and walks in. He is hired to work the graveyard shift at the 24-hour book store. Clay soon learns that this is not an ordinary book store. They hardly sell any books, and most of the customers come in to "borrow" the extremely old books that line the shelves. Clay becomes curious and with the help of some friends, begins to investigate what is actually going on at the store.

For the purpose of this story, the author has created an imaginary trilogy called The Dragon-Song Chronicles. This series is a tale of an epic quest, and holds a lot of importance in the book. In his search for answers, Clay Jannon must go on his own epic quest, in some ways paralleling the action in The Dragon-Song Chronicles.

This novel is a book lovers dream. If you love books, bookstores or libraries, you should really enjoy this one. At times, it feels like Clay's success in his endeavors comes a little too easy. But I like the way current technology, like the internet, is utilized to solve the ancient mystery of the books. After a slower beginning, to set up all the characters, the book begins to move at a steady pace and is very entertaining. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  readingover50 | Jun 11, 2019 |
This is a fantastic book and a great story. It takes place in the intersection between books and Google-esque technology. It's a mystery, and a book about books, and also very funny and entertaining. ( )
  LisaBurns1066 | Jun 9, 2019 |
It is not at all what I expected. I didn't enjoy it, but I couldn't put it down. Something about it grabbed ahold of me and I HAD to know the solution to the puzzle. I can't recommend it, but I don't want to give it a terrible rating, either. ( )
  DGRachel | Jun 4, 2019 |
This book had the potential to be really good, but I think some areas were hit-and-miss with me. I can see how this type of book would appeal to those who are computer-savvy. It gets technical at times.

What I didn't like:
1) There are two run-on sentences on page 81 of this book. It drives me bonkers. I can't decide if it's deliberately supposed to be that way because Clay Jannon is talking fast due to his sudden surge of anxiety or if the editing crew just skipped both sentences. No matter the reason, it bugs me!
2) All the talk about "boob physics" and "anatomix" on page 118 was a little off-putting.
3) There were times in the book I felt like the writer was "off" because I was losing interest. I wanted to be glued, and I just didn't have the stick-to-it feeling.

What I did like:
1) It's about books! And bookstores!
2) Who doesn't love a good mystery? So trying to decode or unlock secrets usually makes a good book.

Would I want to continue the series? No. I don't think I will. I'm glad that I borrowed the book from the library. I can at least make a note to myself to avoid this series. ( )
  caslater83 | Jun 2, 2019 |
Cool concept, mind-numbingly boring execution. ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 545 (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)
 
"In the end, though, the book works fine as an engrossing mystery — and as an intelligent meditation on technology’s trajectory and limits."https://www.librarything.com/work/12661675/book/132262683#
 
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)
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Sloanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fliakos, AriNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kagan, AbbyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solow, NannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
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
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

» see all 12 descriptions

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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