Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin SloaneMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1) by Robin Sloan
on October 2, 2012
Pages: 288
Source: I borrowed this book from my local library.
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The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.




Not only did I read a physical copy of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, but I enjoyed it so much, I listened to the audiobook with my spouse as soon as I finished!

This novel is about “the intersection of books and technology.” Paper and digital must join forces to solve an intricate, ages-old mystery. There’s a good bit of social commentary throughout, but it never feels heavy-handed. I love how the storyline showed that “old” and “new” don’t have to be opposing forces. You can love technology and the internet, and appreciate the people around you.

Google is mentioned so often, C started counting the instances when we listened to the audiobook, ha! (The audiobook is fantastic, by the way; really great narrator! Perfect tempo, inflection, and delivery.)

You know, the story does get a little far-fetched in places, but hey, it’s fiction! And it is SO much FUN! What a nice, satisfying ending, too. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is an exciting adventure. If you haven’t yet read it, you’re in for a treat.

  • I read this years ago and loved it…but now can’t remember all the details. But, I do remember it being unique and fun. So glad you enjoyed it.

  • Amanda

    This has been on my list forever! Thanks for the reminder I need to get it on my library list.

  • LyndaT

    One of my favorites! I remember reading a review of it when it first came out which mentioned that if you leave the book sitting in the sun, the cover will glow in the dark. That (and the concept of a book set in a bookstore) intrigued me, and once I started reading it, I loved it even more. There’s a chapbook that was published when the book came out in paperback that you might enjoy, “Ajax Penumbra 1969,” I guess you could call it a prequel.

  • I LOVE bookstore books- how did I miss this one? Off to look for it at the library!

  • Bryan G. Robinson

    One of my favorites of the last few years too. It was a lot of fun as I remember it too.

  • I’ve had this book on my shelf for years, but never got the nudge to actually read it. Your review mentions some things that I’d not heard about it before, which is nice. The intersection between books and technology sounds really interesting. I had chalked the novel up as yet another “book about books,” but it sounds deeper than that. And fun at the same time. Might have to give it a look!