Author(s): Robin Sloan
The New York Times Bestseller
A Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle
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 customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything--instead, they "check out" large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele's behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore's secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
After spending much of my year reading textbooks, I have gone a little crazy over December and January on the reading front. I began with Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Book Store. It was a magical mish-mash of both the old written world and the new technological age of Google. I loved how Robin Sloan managed to portray the characters, and I think for the first time I became attached in some way or another to many of the characters, and I could not for the life of me choose sides. Highly impressed by this novel. - Briony
I've been meaning to read this novel since it was in our summer catalogue; now it's winter I have finally got around to it. It has lots of ingredients that appeal to me: the mysterious book store with an even more mysterious clientele; customers who never seem to buy books, only borrow them; and a tantalising 500-year-old conspiracy theory. Who is the inscrutable Mr Penumbra? Certainly a good beach read; not bad by the fire either. - Jan
I picked up a copy of this to browse, expecting a witty tale along the lines of a "Black Books" second-hand bookstore. I was pleasantly charmed by the clever intertwining of both ancient written code and cutting-edge google technology employed by the varied, quirky and very likeable characters in this beguiling book. An easy read that I found just a tad long drawn-out in parts but definitely well worth reading. - Lynn
I am probably one of the last here to have read this book. It was an enjoyable read, and as a bookseller myself I was intrigued by the storyline about books that aren't known to Google! - Peter
Robin Sloan has previously published short fiction in Kindle-only editions.