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Die sonderbare Buchhandlung des Mr. Penumbra (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)
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Die sonderbare Buchhandlung des Mr. Penumbra

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

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  149,416 ratings  ·  22,726 reviews
Als Clay Jannon seinen Job als Webdesigner verliert, meldet er sich auf eine Stellenanzeige hin bei Mr. Penumbra, der in San Francisco eine alte, verstaubte Buchhandlung betreibt, die rund um die Uhr geöffnet ist. Clay übernimmt die Nachtschicht, und bald ist ihm klar, dass hier irgendetwas nicht stimmt: Die Kunden kaufen nichts, sondern leihen die Bücher nur aus, drei Sto ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 3rd 2014 by Blessing (first published October 2nd 2012)
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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
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
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
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
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
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
Sarah
Jan 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Should probably be two stars, but I feel mean and petty today. Sorry, Mr. Sloan.

It all just seemed so...amateur. I feel kind of pretentious saying that, which makes me sad, because there's nothing I hate more than pretentious book reviews. It's just a mess of worn-out tropes and utterly unoriginal characters. Mysterious dusty bookshops and peculiar old men. I think Sloan tried to revamp that old line with some "hip" new technology stuff, but he just failed miserably. He almost made me hate Goog
...more
PorshaJo
OK, I'm going to try something different with this review...a bit of snark!

I have been wanting to read this one for so long. I was enchanted about the idea of this 24 hour book store. A book about a bookstore, with book references...yeah! But what I got instead, was a drinking game. That's at least what I got out of this one. The story starts with Clay Jannon, who has lost his job at a bagel place where he is doing tech work and then goes to work at Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour book store. He tells hi
...more
Ginny
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, library-book
A mysterious old bookstore with some kind of secret society to be infiltrated and unraveled? Cool! Except, alas, here we have a fun premise ruined by bullshit nerdbro execution.

1. An everyman nerd protagonist with no personality beyond a degree in design and deep knowledge of the internet whose main development is his realization he has talented friends who are more interesting than he is. Congrats?

2. A best friend whose company does boob physics for video games and whose major contribution to d
...more
Richard Derus
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.9* of five

The Book Description: A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift a
...more
Ben
Nov 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, not recommended. I considered stopping reading several times, but it was such a quick read that I just sped on through.

The novel made a dramatization of numerous topics that I do feel like I have a bit of expertise around - San Francisco, Googlers, data visualization, encryption - and the book's representation came off as a shallow, borderline painful overt dramatization. It seemed ridiculous. I know little of the author's background, but the novel itself gave the impression of too strong a
...more
Raeleen Lemay
I liked the mix of old and new knowledge/media/books, and the bookstore setting was fantastic (especially such a strange bookstore!) but once we got into the mystery, my interest evaporated. I also felt like the characters were all a bit too ~convenient~ in that they all had special skills that ended up somehow becoming necessary throughout the novel to help the main character with his quest.

Overall, a fun book, but nothing mind blowing!
Darth J
4.5 Stars

Oh, so much of this book is exactly what I wanted.

There was first an old and dusty bookstore.


With an old and whimsical caretaker.


And a prophecy surrounding a secret cult of black robe wearing bibliophiles, written in code form.


Did I mention that this secret cult meets in an underground library? The entrance is a fricken' swiveling bookcase!


Hell, even the characters have interesting names such as Kat Potente, Corvina, and Ajax Penumbra.


There's even a bit about google and coding which re
...more
Janet
This is not a review, it's a love letter.

I adored this book. Why? It had a likeable narrator in Clay Jannon, a mysterious bookshop, romance, puzzles, secret societies, a San Francisco locale (with side trips to New York), and a sly sense of humor. The theme of Old Knowledge (books) vs. Internet knowledge gave the author the chance to slip in scenes at Google, a museum dedicated to knitting overrun by first graders, information about fonts, a character who made his fortune creating realistic 3-D
...more
da AL
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-literary
The first third of it was promising, then everything about it petered out. The Harry Potter meets techie vibe began ok, but got tedious. A romance started off interestingly, then quickly wallowed. The same for the author's philosophical ruminations on book love in all its forms: print, ebook, audio. Be it characters, settings, or situations, all started interesting, then turned into duds. I skimmed through the last third, finished it only because I'd started it.

The audio book reader, however, wa
...more
Priscilla
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Initial thoughts:

1. Loved Clay. He is wonderfully funny, and geeky. His journey throughout the story was fantastic.
2. Loved the combination of new and traditional, young and old. Seeing ideas, and characters that are different and opposite come together.
3. Lot's of wonderfully geeky elements. Design, typography, technology, books, and other very nerdy things. It was AMAZING.
4. I really liked and appreciated how the characters and the story was grounded in reality. There are a lot of elements tha
...more
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
DNF @ 48%

Just... so very boring.

There's literally a MAGIC BOOKSTORE this should be AMAZING. But instead it wastes time on:

- a protagonist so boring I've forgotten his name
- a manic-pixie-nerd-girl who's soooo down-to-earth guys (she seriously only owns 10 replicas of the same shirt because she just DOESNT care about fashion and she works for Google, she's just super chill, okay??)
- random my-roommates-are-making-out-drama
- a bunch of technobabble about how because of Kindle and Nook books will
...more
Jennifer Masterson
4.5 Stars. Over a year ago, before I was on Goodreads, I tried to read this book and gave up on it early on thinking it was for a much younger group of readers. I also had too much going on and sometimes when you have a lot going on in your life it can impact everything, including what you're reading! After reading so many other people's glowing reviews I finally decided to give it another go. This time I read the whole book and by the 1/2 way mark I was hooked! Loved loved loved it! It was so m ...more
Kelly
This review originally appeared on my blog, Shoulda, Coulda Woulda Books.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour-Bookstore is a book with a perfectly charming premise and a number of flaws. The premise, is, of course, what landed it on my to-read list nearly two years ago, and, I’d imagine, the list of many another bibliophile. The book centers on the new night-shift employee at a 24-Hour-Bookstore in San Francisco, who has taken the job after being laid off from his tech-start up in the Great Recession of the l
...more
Diane
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun techno-bookish-mystery. It follows a web designer named Clay who loses his job due to the Great Recession, but he finds work as the overnight clerk in a 24-hour bookstore in San Francisco called Mr. Penumbra's. Clay notices some odd patrons at the store, and he's intrigued by the strange old books that are stocked there. Soon he's trying to solve the bookish mystery with the help of a friend who works at Google, and they get entangled in a secret society that goes back hundreds of ...more
Melissa Rochelle
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012, arc
August 2012: (First, I never read the short story because by the time I discovered it I already knew it was a novel so I didn't want to ruin anything for myself...you know, just in case. Now that I've finished the book, I'll read the story.)

The book -- AMAZING. I loved it. Really. It's chock-full of bibliophile goodness. This is up there with Ready Player One geeky goodness.

Clay finds himself unemployed (like many these days) and one day stumbles into a quirky bookstore looking for a late-night
...more
Rachel
What started out as an engaging novel about a charismatic bookstore became a nearly 300-page ode to Google and Millenial entitlement. Google was really the main character here. The Google butt-kissing started early, and served to make it so that I never once found Kat appealing or endearing. In fact, I felt that she was just a big, whiny child playing with shiny toys and having a temper tantrum when the things around her didn't go exactly her way. She basically represents everything about my gen ...more
Ferdy
Spoilers

I didn't read any reviews or even the synopsis for this - I bought it on a whim because I liked the cover and title. That'll teach me to be wild and spontaneous. No more bonkers book buying for me, I've learnt my lesson.

I thought Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore would be a charming, quaint and lovely tale about an old bookshop that's open all night and visited by bookworms, lonely night-owls and other oddball characters. I thought a jobless-down-on-their-luck-underdog type character woul
...more
Elyse Walters
I wanted to like this book more, but it was a little too 'techie' for my taste. Yet, I can see where this could be a great read for the right person.

There were parts of the book I did enjoy:
Its always fun to read about areas you know well. (San Francisco, Mountain View, and....*Google* itself.

I have friends who work at Google. I visit *Google* in Mountain View (as a guest for lunch). I know about all the 'fun' perks at 'Google'.....(lots to love),
but I wouldn't call myself a "Googler" (Goo-gu
...more
Lois Bujold
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretty much anyone
Recommended to Lois by: various internet reviews

Good first-person voice, and through it, characterization. The narrator/protagonist has a head I enjoyed spending time in.

This is a book both from the 21st century, and that delights in the 21st century, an incredibly welcome change from all the grimdark political dystopias out there at present.

They sly explorations of the differences between a map and a territory, analog and digital, reality and its representations, (not to mention the past, the present, and the future, tho' I am reminded that
...more
Nick
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[I was sent an arc by FSG.]

I love this book. It's like sitting in the sunlight drinking cold white wine while a sexy person rubs your feet with cinnamon oil and another sexy person messes tunefully acoustic guitar. And while this is happening, you realise: damn, I look good.

Why do I love it? Well, it's a good-hearted, optimistic book about friendship and being alive and the lure of the mysterious. It's a book which shows you Google the way Google sees itself, and bookshops the way bookshops ough
...more
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29,109 followers
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.
“Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines -- it's hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.” 555 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.”
328 likes
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