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Sourdough by Robin Sloan


by Robin Sloan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9347815,412 (3.88)46
"A new novel about an underground food community by the author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore"--

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» See also 46 mentions

English (77)  Italian (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
My first encounter with the work of Robin Sloan was through this novel. Sourdough is great fun to read. It is totally entertaining and just out and out fun. It takes on the weird culture of tech-bros and the world Lois enters and creates to escape from it all. The cast of characters are fun and engaging. Most of all to this reader is the relationship that Lois forges with the book club. Of course the music of the Mazq. For this get the audio-book. The audio-book is as much the book if not more.

The story is surprising and delightful and just totally satisfying. Sloan writes great prose and there are so many turns of phrase that I just found delightful and the book is just a joy to read. Totally quirky totally delightful and a super entry point for those who have never read Sloan. If you pick up Sourdough you will end up picking up Sloan's other novel and then subscribing to his totally mesmerizing newsletter projects. ( )
  modioperandi | May 12, 2020 |
This novel was great fun, for the most part. You don’t even need to know the intricate workings of sourdough, or any other kind of bread to like it, either. The style was light and fun, and it stayed this way throughout the novel. I enjoyed it a great deal.
Therese Plummer is the narrator of the audiobook, and she was great. She sounds a little like Anna Kendrick to me also, which was good. There was the occasional snatches if background music in the beginning of the audiobook, used to try and describe the music the sourdough starter liked to listen to, also. It was quite interesting.
3.5 stars, and recommended to all.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2104593849?book_show_action=false&from... ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
A bit of flour, a bit of water, some free floating yeast, and time. Well, it’s a start. Or rather, it’s a starter. For Lois Clary, that’s the step she skips when she is gifted with a sourdough starter by the proprietors of the Clement Street Soup and Sourdough company. Their gift comes with warnings. She must care for the starter, feed it, talk to it (if she wants), and, most importantly, play it music from a cd of Mazq music she is given. Yes, music. For this is no ordinary starter. It’s as old as civilization, perhaps, and it likes a bit of culture.

In fact, Lois is a computer programmer working for a robotics company in San Francisco. She’s very good at what she does. But now, apparently, she is also the proud steward of a sourdough starter. It only makes sense to try her hand at making some sourdough. And from those small beginnings almost anything could develop. Which is a blessing and a curse. Because Robin Sloan is clever and inventive and almost everything that develops is unexpected. But then, completely different, even opposite, happenings might have occurred and we’d have to expect those too. When the ingredients are so slim and denatured — other than being a ‘Lois’ we know very little about our protagonist — everything that happens is just one more thing that happens. Except the love story percolating behind the scenes. Now that had a degree of predictability to it which was no less satisfying for reaching its proper conclusion.

I enjoyed reading this novel but the mysteries of sourdough and esoteric food markets in the Bay area are (probably) finite. There might have been a more interesting, human, story lurking beneath the surface, but that would require more interest on the part of the author in the characters and what makes them tick. Still, it’s like the baking of bread itself — there’s always the next batch. Or the next novel.

Only very gently recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Apr 25, 2020 |
3.75* ( )
  gumnut25 | Apr 21, 2020 |
'Sourdough' works (see what I did there?) on a lot of levels -- it's a satire that deftly skewers the high-tech startup culture and zings "California cuisine" along with various other pretensions; it's a love poem to the amazing, frustrating, dynamic presence of the organic lifeform known as sourdough starter; it's the tale of a young woman realizing there's more to life than coding computer language 12 hours a day; and it's a magical-realism romp where high tech and high magic collide head-on and the mushroom shape rising over Alameda is not nuclear in nature.

Lois Clary is a simple Minnesota girl lured out to Babylon-by-the-Bay for a high-dollar job in a tech startup company with the modest goal of replacing human labor with robots. She sinks into it like a raisin into oatmeal, living, breathing, sleeping, and eating at a computer console, eschewing social contact, and existing on a "nutritional gel" called Slurry (whose name alone would be enough to put off most people). Her only human contact, in fact, is with the phone voice and delivery man from a local deli, who begin providing her with an amazing soup and sandwich combo. When the deli is forced to close, the owner presents her with a crock of the restaurant's sourdough starter, along with the basic equipment and instructions to bake her own version of the bread.

And things get ... interesting ... from that point onward. From Lois' investigations into the history and practice of breadmaking (sourdough subset) to making new friends (and ultimately opening up another career path) via her fragrant, crusty loaves, to discovering a literal underground artisanal market intent on completely revolutionizing food production, to trying to deal with an increasingly cranky and uncooperative starter, things get more and more surreal.

Light-hearted, crunchy, fragrant, and dripping with fun, this is a book to be savored in one sitting. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Mar 22, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Sloanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kagan, AbbyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plummer, ThereseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Jeffrey L.Cartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Kathryn
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It would have been nutritive gel for dinner, same as always, if I had not discovered stuck to my apartment's front door a paper menu advertising the newly expanded delivery service of a neighborhood restaurant.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her—feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.

Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up.

When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?

Leavened by the same infectious intelligence that made Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore such a sensation, while taking on even more satisfying challenges, Sourdough marks the triumphant return of a unique and beloved young writer. Amazon
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