Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore


books1This is a book for book lovers, and for those interested in technological advances. These would seem to be contradictory desires, but Robin Sloan seamlessly weaves the reverence for beautifully-bound tomes with the excitement of Google and programming and code-breaking and all it may have to offer. There’s a secret society and a cute techie girlfriend, a wise old bookstore owner and a young roommate artist who creates worlds out of nothing. The old and the young, the new and the established, are constantly at odds in this novel, although the protagonist Clay Jannon is clearly in love with both worlds and finds a way to reconcile both.

This was an enjoyable read, interesting even if I don’t understand the technology behind it (and which of it is possible and which of it is fabricated). I cared about the characters and the ideas felt fresh and exciting. I got swept up into the mystery, and I learned more about fonts than I ever thought I would care to know. Overall, it was a “guilty pleasure” read that I don’t feel guilty about at all, proving worthy novels don’t have to be slow, plodding things.

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