Greg's Reviews > Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
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's review
Jun 09, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-about-books, fiction

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 Shades craze, but that's not really going to happen but this is one of those books that succeeds at being a good 'page-turner' and fairly smart (and not smart in the way of say, I cribbed all the details from Holy Blood, Holy Grail kind of smart).

I'm pretty excited for this book to come out, and fellow book-nerds you should be too.

It's about books, and an old bookstore, and hidden secrets mixed with some hacker / internet stuff and it's been written as if it were super-super contemporary (which I think is a little unfortunate, it's written almost too up to the minute for the bookworld, and the references will get dated fairly quickly).

It's not the best written book ever, and it's not as smart as say Flame Alphabet, but it's super-fun. It's the kind of book that makes me wish that there were more books like it in existence. It's sort of in the same league as The Shadow of the Wind or a pared down Umberto Eco novel written but William Gibson (or actually by a reigned in Neal Stephenson would be accurate, but he can't seem to write books that aren't gigantic meaty tomes, and this isn't that kind of book).

Maybe I'll re-read this book and write more of a review when it gets closer to the October 2nd pub date, but for now take my word on this and put it on your to-read shelf so you don't forget about it!

Oh and this book really makes me wish I had been smarter and younger and been the type of person that google would hire.
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Reading Progress

June 9, 2012 – Started Reading
June 9, 2012 – Shelved
June 13, 2012 – Shelved as: books-about-books
June 13, 2012 – Shelved as: fiction
June 13, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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message 1: by B0nnie (new) - added it

B0nnie maybe by October I'll have time to read it...

Greg You should pencil in a day to read it, it's fairly fast.

karen i am going to read this next week! i am excited!

message 4: by Arah-Lynda (new) - added it

Arah-Lynda You have peaked my interest.

Greg I went to that website on the sticker they gave us with the book. It was for a contest for a fancy dinner, but it was only good for the time that BEA was going on, I'm guessing it was the easiest contest in the world to win since probably no one actually bothered to check out the website until later (like me).

Althea Ann added it to my wishlist!

Oriana waaaa how did I miss so many good galleys???

karen stick with us, kid...

message 9: by Greg (last edited Jun 16, 2012 01:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg Oriana, did you get this one,That's Not a Feeling?


Oriana no, wtf? was I just walking around with my fucking eyes closed??

karen ohhh, now you added a link and it makes me look mean.

message 13: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg It's not nearly as good as Infinite Jest or The Instructions, but it's still quite good, although way too short.

Oriana Which, this one or That's Not a Feeling?

message 15: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg That's Not a Feeling. Disturbed/depressed kids at a strange school, blurb by DFW from a few months before be died.

karen i blame the book.

Oriana I to-read-ed it. Glumly.

message 18: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Well on the back of that I have just pre-ordered it. Something more to look forward to

karen oriana!! i got you a copy at ALA!!!! for you!

Oriana holy motherfuck!! karen you are my hero!!!

karen woo-hooo!!! they didn't even have it out, but i was emboldened by champagne, and i was all, "yo, you got any penumbras??"


Janet karen wrote: "woo-hooo!!! they didn't even have it out, but i was emboldened by champagne, and i was all, "yo, you got any penumbras??"


Are you saying fortune favors the tipsy librarian?

karen always.

Oriana good gracious, thank you karen (and champagne!). i will come fetch it from you at your store anytime, just tell me when. YAY!!!

karen sure, yeah - i go back to work on tuesday, 730-4, but email me when you think you will be around and i will bring it.

Maureen greg, i was just reading your review when some guys who claimed they were cops but whom i realized were not cops but maybe rent-a-cops banged down my door. it was a very jarring experience, having just finished this book, drowsy and curious to see what others thought and then this crazy thing happening, and one of them insisted on coming in and it's so late at night and nobody is around. my cat is still freaked out, and i've got to say, so am i. anyway. great review. i'm trying to get it to drag me back away from crazy uniformed intruders in the night but it is hard.

message 27: by Miriam (new) - added it

Miriam Whuuut?! Maureen, you should call the real cops and file a complaint.

message 28: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg That is really sort of fucked up. Do you have any idea why they were at your door?

message 29: by Maureen (last edited Oct 08, 2012 12:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maureen hey guys: i called the cops this morning, and my instinct was right -- despite the fact they said they were cops, they weren't. the cops suggested it was a prank but i don't think i know anybody who would do that to me. my theory was that they were from a new security company that my building might have hired to patrol and the leader of the two was some kind of police school dropout who pushed beyond my rights as a private citizen? anyway, it's thanksgiving in canada so the building office is closed. tomorrow, i'll follow up with them and see if they can shed any light. but it was scary and the cops told me not to open my door again even if they look like cops -- i should call the police to make sure the police are the police. crazy world, huh?

message 30: by Miriam (new) - added it

Miriam That is all effed up, but I'm glad it sounds like the police at least take it seriously. Hopefully your leasing office will also (if not maybe complain to whomever owns the building, if it's a larger company). I assume Canada's laws concerning warrants etc are similar to the US.

message 31: by Sian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sian Lile-Pastore um, feel a bit bad jumping in here when maureen's having a hard time with the fake police... but i just read this book an it was kind of fun, but i too want to work for google... but am too old and dumb.

Maureen no worries, sian. the fake/real police (big brother is watching) trauma is mostly over -- though i get jumpy around police cars and figures of authority even more now. :)

a friend of a friend just got recruited by google. they initially turned them down (!!???&%) and google counter-offered so they're leaving toronto for california. i mean, how could there ever have been an initial no? LET ME HAVE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES, PEOPLE! I WOULD WORK FOR GOOGLE IN A HEARTBEAT! (though i really hope that whole thing about them figuring out an optimum diet for you isn't true. i like the idea that they have different dietary options but if i want a cheeseburger i'm eating a cheeseburger.

karen i think cheeseburgers fall under my optimum diet. that, and just straight blocks of cheese, constantly administered.

message 34: by Rod (new)

Rod WTF, Mo? So what reason did the fake cops give for beating down your door and insisting on coming in?

Maureen rod! i explained the whole sordid saga in a comment on a blog post of david's, mineness vs yourness:

it's actually kind of insane. i just didn't want to continue to hijack greg's thread -- i wrote it on this review because i was still in shock and couldn't believe it'd been 2:15 in the morning just half-asleep finished my novel and just having read greg's review, i lay on the couch and then the crazy pounding at the door. i'm a jaded canadian, my friend. :)

karen! cheese is like the birthright of every portuguese and every french canadian girl. they should never try to take it away from us even if they are google and they have pinball machines.

seriously, that part of the book was so awesome. but i agree with greg that it does sort occupy a niche vocabulary and setting -- i had this same problem in the stieg larsson. only once could i ever ascertain that the computers specs were necessarily details to the book. :) see? back to greg's review! :)

SweetCheeses And Coffee Dreams I LOVED this book!

Verusex Hoping she has another fun book coming soon. Reminds me a lot of Grabersteen's Cheepak books.

karen just FYI, and not trying to be a shrill, correcting asshole, but he's a dude. and a reasonably dreamy one at that.

Verusex Karen, I was thinking of the narrator, Danny. Both books have a similar joyful narration style.

karen oh, i thought you were talking about robin sloane. whoops!

Verusex karen wrote: "oh, i thought you were talking about robin sloane. whoops!"
That's called a Freudian Slap :)

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