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Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore

Sloan, Robin (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore
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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.
Authors: Sloan, Robin, 1979-
Title: Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 288 p. ;,22 cm
Contents: The bookstore
The library
The tower
Epilogue
Summary: 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.
ISBN: 0374214913
9780374214913
9781443415781
9781250037756
Statement of Responsibility: Robin Sloan
Subject Headings: Libraries Fiction Bookstores California San Francisco Fiction Bookstores Employees Fiction
Genre/Form: Suspense fiction
Adventure fiction
Fantasy fiction
Topical Term: Libraries
Bookstores
Bookstores
LCCN: 2012012357
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Jul 26, 2014
  • BrigidWilson rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Truly enjoyed this novel. In fact, I had to make myself put it down several times just so I wouldn't hurry through it:) I didn't want to be done because it was done so well. Literature lovers and computer geeks will like this story in similar degrees:)

Summary: Clay Jannon, an unemployed web designer takes a clerk position at a strange bookstore run by an old man. Not only does the store keep strange hours but few customers ever visit, and those who do are quite bizarre and “check-out” rather than buy books. Clay soon discovers that there is much more to the bookstore and its customers than meets the eye, and becomes caught up in a centuries-old puzzle that has yet to be solved.

This book presents an interesting exploration of the relationship between modern technology, such as computer programming and e-readers, and the place that physical books hold in our society. This is definitely a book for both book-lovers and computer enthusiasts! While not written in the most remarkable style, it is an entertaining read!

Jun 26, 2014
  • Drake_Fresh rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is such an exiting mystery! With a clever, multilayered theme and a series of very interesting characters, this is a personal favorite.

Jun 17, 2014
  • diesellibrarian rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A fun if slightly uneven romp that melds the old-world mystery of a used bookstore with the gleaming polish of the Google campus. Robin Sloan might be the Umberto Eco of the facebook generation, and though the subtlety of Eco's work is lacking in this effort, it is nevertheless engaging and life-affirming. A great summer read.

NYPL Staff Pick
When a website designer on the night shift at a San Francisco bookstore begins to notice mysterious patterns, he uses technological wizardry to decode a secret message.
- Selection Team

Recommended by Karl @lynden library.

Apr 05, 2014
  • Indigo_Cobra_8 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Things I liked about the book: fast-paced adventure, the main character's dry humor and witty narration, the character interactions, the incorporation of Google and technology. Things I didn't like: undeveloped villain character, blatant themes (that is to say, this book didn't make you THINK; it just stated things outright). Still, a fairly enjoyable book.

As a lover of books but also a 20-something who has embraced eBooks, the Internet, the iPhone, etc., this was pure delight. With a sometimes-unfortunate (but always affectionate) narrator and a cast of characters you'd love to meet (from a distance, please; they're a little odd), Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is one of the few books I recommend almost without reservation. Male, female, 20-something or 60-something, if you like to read or write or Google, there is something here for you. Laughter and eye-rolling aplenty.

Feb 17, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed it for the first third or so. Bookstores, tech, e reading, print reading, data visualization, so much interesting stuff but I think I let me expectations get too high. That and the direction the book took was something a little different than what I expected. It was a cute read, and a fast one, though. Fascinating read though and really makes you think about the changes the book trade is facing as well as the world as a whole.

A bit juvenile for my taste.

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Apr 19, 2013
  • Sounddrive rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Sounddrive thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Summary

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The protagonist, Clay Jannon, is hired by San Francisco independent bookstore owner -- Mr Penumbra -- to retrieve books from 10 pm to 6 am, at the request of long time bookstore customers holding an unusual interest in highly obscure volumes. Clay has never heard of any of these book titles, which are never purchased, only loaned.

When Clay examines one of these books, he sees page after page of unreadable encrypted characters, no spaces, no punctuation. Yet the customers return night after night, returning one book, and taking another.

The question is: Why?

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Jun 30, 2014
  • SlotFather rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Neel takes a sharp breath and I know exactly what it means. It means: I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf.

Jun 30, 2014
  • SlotFather rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines -- it's hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.

"...so many favors have passed between us now that they are no longer distinguishable as individual acts, just a bright haze of loyalty. Our friendship is a nebula."

Jan 23, 2014
  • sammier rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in.

Jan 23, 2014
  • sammier rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"We need James Bond with a library science degree."

Jan 23, 2014
  • sammier rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"What do you seek in these shelves?"

Videos

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Author Talk with Robin Sloan via Google's Author Series

Author Robin Sloan talks about his charming book with folks at Google.

Find it at SCCLD

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