Staff Picks

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

January 23, 2013

For fans of: Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Ernest Cline.

National Treasure collides with Google in this delightful caper filled with old-school clues and digital problem solving. When Clay Jannon is hired to tend to Mr. Penumbra's Bookstore during the night shift little does he know that his curiosity will draw him into the strange goings-on of its mysterious customers. Like Clay, you will be drawn into the mystery and want to know why he must record his night shifts in the ancient logbooks stored below the cash register - or why he is not allowed to open the books he so laboriously pulls from the three-story bookshelves using a rickety ladder and pure pluck.

Although the characters lack depth and the plot runs a wee bit thin, you will finish this fresh tale within a matter of hours - and smile.  For those of you who enjoy a story where old meets new, Mr. Penumbra's is filled with the technological jargon so peculiar to the publishing and information science world these days.  In fact, if Robin Sloane didn't attend library school then I'll be a monkey's uncle. (eg. ". . . the right book at exactly the right time."!?!) Highly recommended for readers who want to escape for a few pleasurable hours.


-Review written by HTFL's own Joyce Platfoot.  Find her at the Reference Desk for more book suggestions.