[Usually blog posts are written by Shirley, Berryville’s library services associate, but today we have a special treat–a guest review written by Tiffany Newton, the director of the Green Forest Public Library. She’s reviewing Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore for us!]
“Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines — it’s hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.”–Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
Do you love books? Quests with wizards, rogues, and warriors? Do you love code-breaking? What about ancient conspiracies? Living Forever? Modern Technology? 3D Printing? Rock Climbing? Computer Animation? Late nights spent reading your favorite childhood novel? Audio Books? Knitting?
What do all those things have in common? Well, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan takes all those amazing things and mixes them into one page-turner.
I will admit that it took me several days to get into the book. In fact, I almost returned it without finishing it. I’m so glad I kept reading. In fact, I think this is one of my new favorite books. You can find something new in it each time you read it. Now, this book was written several years ago. I don’t know why I haven’t discovered it until recently.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore starts as a story about an unemployed website designer, Clay. He’s desperate for a job. He stumbles upon a weird, old bookstore and is hired for the night shift there. He starts meeting all kinds of strange customers. They don’t actually buy anything, though; they just borrow some of the books in the back of the store, which Clay is forbidden to open. Needless to say, he does open one of the books, and his life is forever changed. As it turns out, each book is written in code, and they are used to try to unlock a 500-year-old secret to eternal life.
Clay, along with a Google employee, his millionaire best friend, the old owner of the bookshop, and a few others, embark on a quest unlike any other to sneak into a secret society, break into their underground library, and solve their puzzle before they do.
If you’ve read this book, let me know if you know of any similar books, I’d love to read them as well, or just come by the Green Forest Library and talk to me about this one!
*Audiobook also available on Libby.
[Thanks so much to Tiffany for writing this excellent review! I’ve never read this book but am excited to try it now. If you’re interested and want to learn more, look it up on our online catalog. Have you read this book before? Tell us about it in the comments!]