Malin’s #CBR5 Review #154: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Having lost his job as a web developer due to the recession, Clay Jannon finds a new job as the night clerk in the titular bookstore, belonging to the mysterious Mr. Penumbra. Not that he sells all that many books. As well as the normal shelves, with its somewhat eclectic selection of novels and non fiction, there is what Clay calls the “wayback” section of the store, huge shelves of unique volumes, not to be found in any search engine, a sort of strange lending library for the odd individuals who show up with a laminated cards, returning a volume and fetching another at random intervals. Clay is asked to keep a log, describing the appearance of each of the customers and the state of mind each new customer was in when they come to swap a book.

Clay starts using his web developer skills to make a 3D-model of the store and the “wayback” section on his computer, trying to see if there’s any pattern, rhyme or reason to the strange regulars and their lending patterns. He also works on trying to lure new customers to the store, using all the tools available to him in social media to advertise its location. Once he meets Kat, a young lady working at Google, his plans to map the mysterious patterns of Mr. Penumbra’s store really take off, and soon he and his friends are involved in a mysterious quest involving a global conspiracy, a secret organisation, code breaking, data visualisation on a massive scale and possibly the secret to eternal life.

Full review.

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Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 44: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

UnknownI apologize in advance for this mess of a non-review.

You guys, I read this a few weeks ago (really, less than a month ago), and already I can’t remember what I want to say about it. I remember that I thought it was OK. Anything else?

I remember wanting to like it more than I did. Everyone else seemed to. I remember not really caring about any of the main characters all that much, and wishing that I did. I remember wanting to know more about the mystery and the secret society, and less about Google and the Clay & Kat (the fact that I just had to use Google to remind myself of the characters’ names seems a bit ironic, I suppose). I wanted more about Neel and how he made his fortune, and more about the fantasy series of books that Neel and Clay loved growing up.

For those who haven’t yet read it, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a mysterious place, unlike other bookstores. Young Clay, recently laid off from his graphic designer job, goes to work there as a clerk, and finds that the store is the facade for an entirely different world. Clay and his friends try to unravel the mystery behind the store’s existence, and we learn a whole lot about book making, fonts, and Google.

Does Google really have special meals filled with specific vitamins for its staff? I can’t imagine that it does, but I thought I’d ask.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever written such a disjointed and wandering review before, but I can barely remember anything about this book. Sorry.

You can read more of my reviews (of books that I can actually remember) on my blog.

HelloKatieO’s #CBR5 Review #27: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan

I read this book after seeing pyrajane’s review which described this book as a book about books for people who love books. And that’s exactly what this book was, and it was delightful.

Mr. Penumbra runs a mysterious bookshelf, and our protagonist Clay takes a job working the night shift at the store.  Mr. Penumbra’s requests seem a little unusual, and Clay starts to pay careful attention to the books in the store, the customers who borrow them without paying, and the peculiar tasks he’s required to do.

Ultimately, this is a mystery. It’s a worldwide network of people racing to crack a code, and to do it under their terms. You feel the tension between the old school and new school attitudes towards technology as the characters race to the finish. And Clay reminded me a tiny bit of Harry Potter.

pyrajane’s review #7: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

mr-penumbras-24-hour-bookstoreHey, has anyone read or reviewed this book yet???

It’s on a lot of Read This!!! lists for a reason.  It’s a book about books for people who like books.

If for some reason you have yet to read any reviews, feel free to read mine.  But that’s a lot of pressure.  What if you don’t like the way I write and judge the book based on that?  You should read other reviews too.  There are a lot.  Go forth and read reviews!