Friday, December 27, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

If – like me – you are fascinated with technology but still enjoy getting lost in the stacks of a library or a dusty old bookstore, you will want to pick up Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Clay, an unemployed web designer and social media strategist for a chain of bagel shops walks into a used bookstore and takes on a job as a clerk. He quickly learns that the store is one of many in a network of bookstores catering to a secret society of code breakers.

As a digitally-minded guy, Clay cannot help but try to solve the mystery of the secret society with the help of modern technology. The owner of the store, Mr. Penumbra, encourages him but ends up in hot water with the leaders of the society when they catch wind of his plans. Clay finds himself immersed in an adventure to find Mr. Penumbra and right the wrongs that he has committed to the literary secret society.

I found this novel to be reminiscent of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which I have previously reviewed here on VBPL Recommends. The digital themes and literary references are much like the video game and pop culture themed adventures in Cline’s novel. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is The Da Vinci Code for the digital generation. It is available in the VBPL catalog in print and downloadable audio formats.

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