In my online book club, The Nest Book Club, we like to do random things to get people to read books together. We have monthly books, seasonal challenges, annual challenges, and buddy reads. My buddy for the month of April and I chose to read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Here’s the Goodreads summary:
“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 at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.
With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.”
This was a really good book. I feel like I didn’t know what to expect by reading the back of it, but I really enjoyed it.
I really liked the main character. So much of what I have read recently was from a woman’s point of view. It was nice to read something from a guy’s perspective. Clay, as a main character, was witty and an easy person to like. I had no problem understanding his viewpoint or his habits and ways of thinking. I really liked him.
As for Mr. Penumbra…he was such an interesting character. His bookstore is so cool and I’d LOVE to see it in real life!! I have a great visual of it.
The other supporting characters definitely helped make the story. I don’t think there was one character that was pointless or meaningless. I liked them all and their purpose.
The story, in general, was interesting and I found it to be quite a fast read (despite how long it took me to read it!). I also loved how Clay’s favorite book/series was tied into the book as well. It was very clever.