Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

24 hourI loved this book!  It was a fun and quirky adventure, an engrossing and fast read.  It had an old and odd bookstore, the history of printing, technology (and I WAS an engineer in a previous life, so I do appreciate technology even though I’ve tried to forget!), friendship, romance, intrigue, humor, ancient religious cults, interesting characters, and a quest – who doesn’t love a good quest?!

Clay has lost his marketing job and ends up working the overnight shift as the lone book clerk in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.  But not all is as it seems in the bookstore which has shelves three-stories high filled with strange books that cannot be found on Amazon or in any ordinary library.  What are these books and who are the odd assortment of people that come in to return one and take yet another (this is a bookstore, not a library, right?).  Throw in an artistic roommate, a nerdy yet rich friend Clay’s had since middle school, a girlfriend from Google, and the odd yet loveable Mr. Penumbra himself, and this cast will go on a true quest for the meaning of mortality and life.

Of course the fact that it is a book about books definitely appealed to me, I can never seem to read enough books about books!  The author manages to skillfully combine the world of print and the world of technology without demeaning either, showing that a love for both can coexist. But in the end, after the adventure is complete, and the answers are found, this is a book about friendship.

“There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight.” 

Title: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 288
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2012