Last months book was Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore by Robin Sloan, damn, what a title. Let’s start with my little tradition first (don’t know about my tradition? click here), shall we:
I’ve only been working here for a month and don’t quite have the confidence for mischief yet, but Mat’s curiosity is infectious. He stalks straight over to the Waybacklist and stands between the shelves, leaning in close, examining the grain of the wood, the texture of spines.
What’s the story about? The main character is Clay Jannon. He’s out of a job but roams the streets of San Francesco looking for ‘HELP WANTED’ signs. When he finally does find a job, it seems like there’s isn’t one that’s more different than what he studied for, (web) design. It’s at a bookstore called ‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’ (surprising, huh). It’s run by Mr. Penumbra, really? yeah really. He is a strange tall man with piercing blue eyes, he’s a bit old but has a young mind. The store literally is open 24/7, Clay covers the late night/early morning shift and he hands the store over to Penumbra in the morning. Clay notices there aren’t many customers coming in, almost none really. There are the people from the waybacklist though. Strange men and women who come running into the store at strange hours, demanding a book from the shelfs way back in the store. They don’t pay for them, the trade them. Clay has to promise Penumbra that he won’t look into these books, but yeah, he does exactly that, and so the adventure begins! What did I think of the book? I had a hard time getting into it at first. But when the real quest started this difficulty faded away. The book in fact is really smart written. I love the combination of tech and (real) books, especially the fact that there isn’t a rivalry between them or the people who love one or the other.The story just fits together very well and the author clearly did his homework. Penumbra for example means ‘Half-shadow’ and in a way this definition fits Mr. Penumbra and his whole store very well.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour bookstore actually started out as a short story, you can read the short on the site of Robin Sloan right HERE. Take a look around, there are more stories to be found! (& if you read the book, you probably recognize Gerritszoon)
My final verdict: First of all, I love the book title. Secondly, I have to say my relationship with the story started out very slow but it worked out and in the end it gave me the good chills.
( What are these things? Find out here)
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the review of my friend Sam over HERE.