Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

by Robin Sloan
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Out of a job during the recession, Clay Jannon happens upon a 24-hour book store that needs a clerk on the night shift. Clay really knows coding and the internet a lot better than books, but he can climb a ladder and help the few people who frequent the store. The regular customers turn out to be eccentrics who borrow obscure tomes from what Clay terms the "Waybacklist," and he soon becomes convinced that the bookstore is merely a front for something else...

I tried to think of what I might compare this to, and the best I can come up with is it's like Ready Player One for book lovers. There's a mystery surrounding books, a delightful bookstore that is open all day (who wouldn't love that?), and a wisecracking clerk all wrapped up in an homage to the delights of reading. As much as I can try to describe it, however, there's really nothing that I can say to describe the pleasure I felt every time I opened up the pages. I had a smile on my face to the very last sentence.

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