Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (♦♦♦♦½)

During the height of the latest recession, newly-minted designer Clay Jannon loses his job in a start-up company and is forced to screen job postings looking for a new position. He finds it at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. His job comes with three requirements that are not to be agreed upon lightly. Jannon is assigned the night shift.

As days go by, Jannon starts wondering what kind of establishment is this bookstore in which hardly anyone buys anything. The clientele is unusual and the stock eclectic leaning towards the strange.

Soon Jannon’s friends come to visit the store and his curiosity is piqued to the point of embarking (unbeknownst to him) in a quest to discover the existence of a secret fellowship and a centuries-old mystery.

I loved Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I had so much fun that lost my sleep during the three nights I was reading the novel and I can effectively say that I haven’t had as much fun with a book since…ever?! When I wasn’t laughing out loud I was smiling at least.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is populated by quirky characters and has an even quirkier storyline, original, unique. It sparkles with wit and intelligence and makes techie talk so simple that you won’t need a degree in computer science or programming to understand it. It is a nerd’s dream of a novel; it’s “so uncool that is cool again”, as Jannon is so fond of saying. Is it possible that I just found my newest favorite book?

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore covers many topics--such as the power of friendship and how people in relationships change for better or worse-- but the love for books and the amazing reach of what science and technology can accomplish… those themes recur and run deep within the fibers of this unique and sparkly story.

By the way, the book cover glows in the dark, if that is not cool I don’t know what is!


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