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2018 archive > April Group Read Discussion: Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

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message 1: by Nadine in NY (last edited Apr 01, 2018 05:10AM) (new)

Nadine in NY Jones | 6331 comments Mod
Discussion is open for Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Please use spoiler tags if you are sharing any plot related surprises.

Posts should be exclusively about this book.

When you've finished, be sure to post in the April Challenge - I finished! thread.


message 2: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments Hi all! I’ll be moderating this group read so looking forward to reading with you all! My copy should be here Tuesday, I made a mistake putting it in for the 30th because it always takes 24 hours after the request date but I hadn’t noticed it was a Saturday and the library is closed Sunday and Monday.


message 3: by Mike (last edited Apr 02, 2018 07:09AM) (new)

Mike | 443 comments I read this book in 2014 and enjoyed it for the most part. I've copied my review here, and had one big gripe:

(view spoiler)

Agree? Disagree? Let me know if you noticed this too or if I'm the weird one.


message 4: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 542 comments Mike wrote: "I read this book in 2014 and enjoyed it for the most part. I've copied my review here, and had one big gripe:

[spoilers removed]

Agree? Disagree? Let me know if you noticed this too or if I'm the..."


Yeah, I see what you're saying, but I think that's kind of just a part of the style/genre of the book. It has a little bit of that "National Treasure" type vibe.


message 5: by Mike (last edited Apr 02, 2018 12:58PM) (new)

Mike | 443 comments Jackie wrote: "Mike wrote: "I read this book in 2014 and enjoyed it for the most part. I've copied my review here, and had one big gripe:

[spoilers removed]

Agree? Disagree? Let me know if you noticed this too ...

Yeah, I see what you're saying, but I think that's kind of just a part of the style/genre of the book. It has a little bit of that "National Treasure" type vibe. "


I think I get that now that I've read Sourdough. It seems to be the author's thing, but since he only had the one book at the time I didn't realize it. Hard to connect the dots when there's only one dot.


message 6: by cat herine (new)

cat herine (caatataa) | 43 comments Yes, Sourdough does very much the same thing. It didn't really bother me too much (I also noticed that), I'm not sure if it didn't bother me as much because I listened to it vs reading it.

I did find the end a little unsatisfying, mainly because I felt like there was a set-up for a sequel and not a stand alone book. I don't like obvious hook/cliffhanger-type endings.


message 7: by Luciana (last edited Apr 03, 2018 09:45AM) (new)

Luciana (kikichwan) | 4 comments Cat wrote: "I did find the end a little unsatisfying, mainly because I felt like there was a set-up for a sequel and not a stand alone book. I don't like obvious hook/cliffhanger-type endings. "

I didn't feel that a sequel is necessary, the epilogue pretty much tells everything that happens next and there's no cliffhanger there, in my opinion. I'd like to read the prequel, tho (Ajax Penumbra 1969) just to see what's that about.

(view spoiler)

What I didn't like much was that the book was "sponsored" by Google and Apple. I can understand the Google part, being one of the biggest software companies in the world, but c'mon, there are other phones besides iPhones, and PCs are more popular than Macs.

Did anyone else had troubles with the ethnicity of the characters? (view spoiler)


message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherbowman) | 720 comments Yes, the whole "sponsored" by Google thing really frustrated me. (view spoiler)

Somehow I missed that reference to Kat's ethnicity entirely. I thought Neel was Middle Eastern because of his name. It was pretty ambiguous. (Is a character's ethnicity a spoiler? My opinion is that it's not.)


message 9: by Luciana (new)

Luciana (kikichwan) | 4 comments Heather wrote: "Yes, the whole "sponsored" by Google thing really frustrated me. [spoilers removed]

Somehow I missed that reference to Kat's ethnicity entirely. I thought Neel was Middle Eastern because of his na..."


Since it's something mentioned at the end and it might be a sensitive issue to some people, I preferred play on the safe side and tag it as spoiler :P
In my country there aren't many foreigners, so all my knowledge about names and ethnicity comes from Hollywood, which is to say little to none.


message 10: by Gabi (new)

Gabi (eeclayton) | 30 comments @Mike The "Deux ex Persona" bugged me to. If this is part of the genre, then probably this genre is not for me :S

@Luciana @Heather I too was annoyed by the constant plugging of Google and other companies. It's a shame, because the theme of digital vs analog was so intriguing.


message 11: by Fannie (new)

Fannie D'Ascola | 418 comments I agree with you Mike about the Deus Ex Persona also, but it didn't bother me. I was reading the book and finding him very fortunate to know all those people.

(view spoiler)

I liked it very much and will read Surdough.

At time it made me laugh also. One part he is decribing how he code the virtual library and I was impressed, the next sentence was something like: ''If you are impressed, it's because you are over 30''. Hard not to laugh, even more when it's true.


message 12: by Kim (last edited Apr 05, 2018 10:48AM) (new)

Kim | 161 comments I feel I sort of cheated for this one. I read the next book in a series I'd started, based on the title, Library of Souls, by Ransom Riggs, from the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series. I listened to the book on Overdrive audio, while looking through the hardcover copy that I bought my husband last year. (You've GOT to see the found photographs that inspired the book(s)!

So, although my book was about a library, it wasn't really a library of books! I also have Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore on my reading list (I sometimes read a couple of books for some prompts and never get around to others), but, based on the recommendation of another Goodreads reader, I want to SEE the book, so I thought I'd look for it in my brick and mortar library or bookstore, rather than on Overdrive (I haven't got an up-to-date device for viewing extras).


message 13: by Luciana (new)

Luciana (kikichwan) | 4 comments One thing I'd like to comment about this book is that one of my dreams is to have my own bookstore. I can afford it though, so I left it aside. After reading this book I was soooooo hyped that now I want to start reselling books online, bought straight from the publishing companies and save the profits to fund my bookstore <3 I really liked all the marketing strategies that Clay uses, I will use them for my store once I have it :D


message 14: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Andersen (jessmary) | 16 comments I enjoyed the book.I wasn't as bothered by the advertising for Google and Apple as much as that the book series and typeface weren't real.

The "Deus Ex Persona" didn't bother me quite as much, maybe I've read a lot of books that have that so I almost don't notice it.

I do plan on reading Sourdough too, the excerpt at the end of my kindle version seemed good.


message 15: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments I’ve read about a quarter and I’d love to hear people’s thoughts who haven’t finished (so it’s guesses or speculations rather than spoilers) about what the mysterious customers are seeking, what is this puzzle?


message 16: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 753 comments I was hoping to like this book, and it wasn't bad, just not really my preferred style of writing. It kind of reminded me of "The Da Vinci Code" books with just so much action, and the "deus ex persona" thing people are talking about in this discussion. And the frequent Google references were a bit annoying. I kind of liked the epilogue though, since I tend to enjoy those "this is where everyone ended up" summaries (especially in movies based on true stories). There were some clever lines, and I appreciated the analog vs. digital theme.


message 17: by Megan (new)

Megan Kindred | 65 comments I was hoping to read this for the group read, but despite requesting it from my library as soon as it was chosen, I am still ninth on the waiting list. I hope to get it before April ends.


message 18: by Britany (new)

Britany | 899 comments Just starting this one!


message 19: by Jai (new)

Jai | 119 comments I seriously didn't like this book and I had high hopes for it and thought it would be something totally different. I'm disappointed and happy that I listened to it. By the end of the book I was barely paying attention to it. It was just meh with mediocre writing.


message 20: by Taylor (new)

Taylor | 178 comments I'm about 1/4-1/3 of the way through. I didn't really know what to expect but so far I like it. I like the mystery without having to have a murder or a dark atmosphere. I have no idea what to think of the bookstore and its patrons.

One thing that is annoying me is the product placement/promotion throughout. It is one of those things that once I notice it I can't stop noticing it! But, so far, it is a minor thing and hasn't taken away from the overall story.


message 21: by Larissa (new)

Larissa Langsather (langsather) Listened to the first disc. I am curious as to where this is going.


message 22: by Cyndy (new)

Cyndy | 126 comments I finished Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore a few days ago and just read the posts here. I enjoyed the book - interesting and yet odd! Tagging the rest as spoilers - just in case... :-) (view spoiler)
I want to read Ajax Penumbra 1969 as well, hopefully the price will drop one of these days! I am cheap when it comes to Kindle singles!


message 23: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments I just finished the third part (I split it into 4 to read) and I’m intrigued. I am looking forward to the end and finding out more about the group and the quest. Sloan is good at weaving plausible computer tech with sci fi/fantasy.


message 24: by Johanne (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1301 comments Has anyone written the books mentioned in the book down? (the real ones). For the book mentioned in another book prompt. I listened to it on audio on the road so I couldn't do it during reading.


message 25: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments No but I’m happy to flip through it tomorrow for you if nobody else pops in 😘


message 26: by Johanne (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1301 comments Thanks Tara


message 27: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments Dashiell hammett (author)

Einstein: his life and universe by Walter Isaacson

Pygmalion (as a book store name)

Aristotle’s nicomachean ethics

Trevanians shibumi

The stuff of legend (comic books by mike raicht and Brian Smith)

Cannery row by John Steinbeck

Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams

Stranger in a strange land by Robert a heinlan

The visual display of quantitative information by Edward tufte

Moby dick by Herman melville

Ulysses by James Joyce

The invisible man by hg wells

The information by James gleick

House of leaves by mark z danielewski


message 28: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments Harry Potter is mentioned too, as a series and Rowling by name.


message 29: by Johanne (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1301 comments Thank you so much Tara!


message 30: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments You’re welcome!


message 31: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments Ok so I just finished and I liked sourdough better but I liked how it ended. It feels I don’t know, complete I guess? I can’t do spoiler tags on my phone so I won’t say any more :)


message 32: by Angie (new)

Angie | 28 comments I finished this morning and it was a pleasant read. If you look at the individual components, one would think this book ideal for me, but for some reason it didn't make the "LOVE IT!" category. I am trying to decide what the take-away from it is and i think maybe it is that real, human relationships are what shape us and knowledge and curiosity drive our sense of adventure. But, of course, that is just my take-away.


message 33: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments I also felt early on that books are immortality. They were talking about whether they could bring Manutius back to life but he was already being discussed and thought about hundreds of years after his death.


message 34: by Britany (new)

Britany | 899 comments I really enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would! So glad this one was selected and I finally got to clear it off my TBR.

My Review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 35: by Jen (new)

Jen (jentrewren) | 777 comments Jai wrote: "I seriously didn't like this book and I had high hopes for it and thought it would be something totally different. I'm disappointed and happy that I listened to it. By the end of the book I was bar..."

Thank goodness. I thought I was a freak. I just don't think there was anything particularly original in it and kept falling asleep while reading it. Shame.


message 36: by Angie (new)

Angie | 28 comments Tara wrote: "I also felt early on that books are immortality. They were talking about whether they could bring Manutius back to life but he was already being discussed and thought about hundreds of years after ..."

Good insight! Immortality through the written word!


message 37: by Teri (new)

Teri (teria) | 1209 comments I finished it last night. I liked it, didn't love it. I enjoyed the moments of humor that caught me off-guard, the characters, and the bookstore itself. The cult-like parts were interesting (view spoiler). I felt a little lost on occasion with some of the references.

I didn't have a problem with all the Google references or what you are calling "deus ex persona." However, a drinking game with the word Google would have made for some blackout nights.


message 38: by Larissa (new)

Larissa Langsather (langsather) "Bigger than Potter"- thems are fighting words!


message 39: by Suki (new)

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 20 comments I just finished reading this. I've had it on my TBR pile for a couple of years, so it's really nice to finally have read it.

I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would. I was expecting a book that was more about books and bookstores and less about Google. I love books and I love technology, but for me, they seem to fall a bit flat when they are combined. The puzzles were very intriguing, but I didn't feel especially close to any of the characters, except possibly Mr Penumbra himself.

I read the prequel novella, Ajax Penumbra 1969, and liked it a lot, actually more than the parent book. It was fun to see a young Mr Penumbra just starting out at the bookstore that would someday be his.


message 40: by Taylor (new)

Taylor | 178 comments Did anyone else notice that quite a few times Clay would think something and another character he was interacting with would respond to his thoughts? I definitely thought that was going to be addressed at one point but it never was. To be honest it made me think that they were all robots or cyborgs at one point. Overall I didn't care for this book and would not recommend.


message 41: by Johanne (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1301 comments Taylor wrote: "Did anyone else notice that quite a few times Clay would think something and another character he was interacting with would respond to his thoughts? I definitely thought that was going to be addre..."

I just got a bit confused as to when he was thinking and when he was speaking (I thought this was because of me listening to the audiobook, but maybe not...)


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