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

Being an art/humanities student I have been taught well the old saying to 'never judge a book by its cover,' but again being an art/humanities student I often ignore that advice.

I have a problem. When I travel, I open my carry-on luggage only to get weird looks from people who are judging the pile of books that I lug around all over the place. When I'm home that pile of books crowds my bookshelves and side tables only to overflow onto almost every flat surface in my apartment meanwhile slowly accumulating even more. I collect books. I collect them for both their story and their worth as a piece of art and more times often than not I will pick up a book and peruse it for a little while solely because of its cover. I don't rely only on this when I actually buy a book but it's the cover that pulls my attention first.

So, when deciding on what to read next, I have to admit that I was initially drawn to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore because I really liked the cover art. However, I did stumble across it while looking through the October '13 Indie Next List and I then looked up reviews before I bought it so my obsession with book art can't be all that bad.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is a novel about a man named Clay Jannon who finds himself unemployed in the middle of an economic crisis. With no apparent direction in life he stumbles across Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore while dawdling down the streets of San Francisco. Drawn to the idea of having a job, Clay soon finds himself caught in the midst of the parallel realities between literature and technology and the interesting people who come hand-in-hand with both industries. Part-humor, part-mystery, part-love story, part-adventure; it has a little bit of everything.

If you open this one, you'll soon find yourself caught up in the whirlwind that is Clay Jannon's new found existence. Sloan's writing reads easily and I found myself racing through this one. Not as fast as I would have liked because life has been busy but I often found myself nearing the end of the day and thinking, 'I really want to keep reading that book.' If you don't love it for the story, you will appreciate it for its admiration of knowledge. This is a book for book lovers.

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