Monday, December 9, 2013

Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

My friend Stephanie recommended this book to me and it's a really awesome book! I wish it were non-fiction, but it is not to be.

As the title implies, this novel is about a bookstore. But, as the title does not imply, this story is also about a secret society involving the deciphering of a fairly old set of books. In fact, it kind of deviates from the bookstore halfway through and starts to go after the mystery side.

In fact, at its very core, this novel is looking at technology and books and how they interact with one another. Technology, and even Google, is featured very prominently in the book. And no, it's not about the kindle or any other ebook reader (although they are mentioned).

Come to think of it, this novel has fairly little to do with a bookstore. It starts with a bookstore, detours into a mystery, solves the mystery (and the protagonist gets the girl, maybe) and then ends with the bookstore again.

Oh, and I forgot to talk about the characters! There is the titular Mr Penumbra, who sounds like a really cool bookshop owner - I'd love to visit his bookstore! And then there is the protagonist, Clay. Clay was a web designer that got laid off and ended up working at Mr Penumbra's 24 hour bookstore as the night clerk. His love interest is Kat, a Googler who meets Clay when she's targeted by Google's incredibly specific ads. And then there are Clay's roommates, his best friend Neel and a few other characters that make this book lively and populated.

An interesting setting, a mystery and a whole host of characters. This is my kind of book, and I'm really glad that I was recommended it.

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