Laura’s Book Nook – “Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore”

If you are like me and have a love for both literature and technology, then “Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore,” by Robin Sloan, can too easily become a new favorite. This 304-page novel centers around a young San Franciscan named Clay who is an unemployed web designer forced to get a job at an old bookstore because of the recent recession. Little does he know that this mysterious establishment with comically tall shelves and a bizarre range of clientele is much more than meets the eye. With what might be history’s weirdest book club, the odd owner of the bookstore, and Clay’s deep belief that computers and books don’t have to be on complete opposite sides of the spectrum, it is almost impossible to set this book down.

There is a sort of magic and adventure written in its pages, but still somehow Sloan wrote the whole thing to be believable and true to life. If you’re interested in the fantastic, like I am, but also have trouble with anything unreal, too perfect or too predictable, then this book is for you. “Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore” combines coincidence with reality, our generation with our parents’ generation and the power of new technology with a history of book lovers. It reminds us of the fact that there will always be a place for both the old and the new.

The New York Times says that Robin Sloan “dexterously tackles the intersection between old technologies and new with a novel that is part love letter to books, part technological meditation, part thrilling adventure, part requiem.” I absolutely agree. This book is immensely enjoyable, filled with warmth and intelligence, and as an added plus the phosphorescent cover glows in the dark. I would give this book a well deserved 4.5 out of  5.