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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)
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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore #1)

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  135,029 Ratings  ·  20,981 Reviews
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, but after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything; instead, they "check out" l ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 2013 by Picador (first published October 2nd 2012)
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Sheila It just occurred to me that Clay's leap was, in actuality, a flash of "intuition" - a purely human trait, something that a computer doesn't have. He…moreIt just occurred to me that Clay's leap was, in actuality, a flash of "intuition" - a purely human trait, something that a computer doesn't have. He took a bunch of loose associations and, in a moment of inspiration, was able to bring them together in his head.

I'm not saying it's logical, but it seems to tie in with the point Sloan is trying to make. (less)

Community Reviews

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Blair
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is one of those books that appears to have the perfect blend of ingredients for something brilliant. It's a mystery/adventure set in San Francisco, revolving around an out-of-work marketeer and web designer who takes a job as a clerk at the odd little bookshop of the title. He soon realises that there is more to Mr. Penumbra's than meets the eye, and together with a group of his friends, he embarks on a mission to get to the bottom of the shop's real purpose. Wha ...more
Libby
Nov 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, read-in-2012
Meh - 1.5 stars because the plot was interesting enough that I finished the book and there were some funny moments. While Mr. Sloan is imaginative and quick witted it does not make up for poor writing and boring characters. The book is just bad first person narrative. This would be an acceptable as a Syfy Saturday movie but not for a novel.For example "It's early in the morning. We came straight from the airport. Neel visits Manhattan all the time for business and I used to take the train down f ...more
karen
suuuuper fun!

this book is going to sell like gangbusters when it comes out in october. mostly because each and every one of you reading this review are going out and getting yourselves a copy. this is a command.

you like books, right? yes, you do, because you are a member of goodreads. and this book is about books! and puzzles! and adventure! there's not a whole lot that's better than that.it is shades of Salamander and The Grand Complication: A Novel and If on a Winter's Night a Traveler and T
...more
Greg
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so happy that we happened to be walking past the booth were Robin Sloan was signing, and someone was holding up a copy of the attractive ARC trying to lure people onto the line (which I now see the cover has been added to the book on goodreads, the book looks better than the picture suggests). This is good and I'm thinking if the world has any fairness at all this will be a fairly good selling book this fall.

In a perfect world this would go blasting up the sales charts and topple the Fifty
...more
Ariel
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HOLY MOLY, BATMAN, EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS. I am actually so excited to write this review... I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO SAY!

Because I have so many thoughts, let's do this bullet-point style.

- This story was so positive and mood-uplifting! Geez. I never felt that horrible dread you feel sometimes when you're reading: that loss of faith with the author where you ask the horrible question "Is the author going to screw this all up?" All throughout reading the book there were moments where I felt the
...more
Ami
Forgive me, people, this review will be all gushing!

This book charmed me from the very beginning -- with fresh internal monologues, from Clay Jannon, a recent unemployed young man, who just lost his first job out of art school... Then he walks into a bookstore (OMG BOOKSTORE!!) and he climbs the ladder, and I'm in love.

How could I not?

This book is a love letter for books, bibliophiles, but also for technology. We know that the world of books, publishings, and reading have changed in the recen
...more
Mark
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: Richard Derus
I have just lost the will to live. Have spent two hours writing a review of this brilliant book and then saved it but somehow Goodreads managed to lose it . Will probably kill someone if i sit here any longer so am off to the gym to do something sweaty, noisy and pointless and maybe will try again later. Very f***ing annoyed. Bye for now....................its a brilliant book by the way. I hate the 21st Century sometimes




'Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in'

'All t
...more
Carol.
Authors are magicians. I was in the early pages of Mr. Penumbra when I realized that Sloan was sneaking in a major chain of events in only a few short paragraphs with the intention of moving the story to where he needed it. It was the authorial equivalent of "look, nothing up my sleeve" in preparation of a hat trick. Rather than irritation from this momentary flap of curtain or glimpse of rabbit ear, I was rather captivated.

Thinking back on books I've loved or hated, it occurs to me that in that
...more
Felicia
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Well, I can't say I've been charmed by a book more in a while, and jealous I didn't write it. This is a totally hipster book that rings all my bells, I feel like it sort of summarizes the zeitgeist of our internet generation, the gap between old and new.

Basically the main character, Clay, is unemployed tech guy, gets a job in a run-down bookstore that has a mysterious agenda that he can't help but get roped into. I'm a sucker for secret societies, and there's a touch of Amelie whimsey that is ri
...more
Maciek
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is the debut novel by Robin Sloan, and a publishing sensation - it was Amazon's Best Book of the Month in October 2012, and received a lot of attention and praise from reviewers, authors and readers. No wonder - who wouldn't want a 24-hour book store?

The novel aspires to be classified as a "literary mystery", or an "intelligent thriller" - both labels are somewhat insulting by suggesting that mysteries and thrillers are by default a lower tier of literature, and
...more
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Has anyone ever noticed that the book is glow in the dark? :O 18 363 Jan 13, 2018 01:25PM  
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Robin Sloan is the author of the novels Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and Sourdough. He grew up near Detroit and now splits his time between the Bay Area and the internet.
More about Robin Sloan...
“Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines -- it's hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.” 518 likes
“After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this:
A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”
309 likes
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