Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

At the suggestion of the librarian (I asked for something fun) I picked up Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. It turned out to be a quick read, a quirky story filled with oddball characters that were strangely believable. The hero, Clay, is a young many whose eccentric tendencies make him incredibly likable. He reads teenage science fiction, has a penchant for programming, but is above all else a typical twenty something trying to figure out what to do with his life. After being laid off from his tech heavy job at a startup bagel chain, he takes the only job he can find, the night shift at a 24 hour bookstore (naturally). As the nights pass it becomes clear that the “customers”, each stranger than the one before, make up some kind of organization of lenders and borrowers. They come in at all hours of the night to borrow the encrypted books that Penumbra stocks. Clay begins to ask questions and the story gets interesting. Add some equally eccentric friends, a love interest who is also a Googler, and a cross country journey that rival those in his favorite books, and you have a solid (and admittedly fun) read. A book I would describe as a combination of Lord of the Rings and the Davinci Code.

The New York Times has also reviewed the book. I didn’t want to give too much away, so I kept mine short and sweet, but check out “Google Aces Can’t Defeat Bibliophiles”  or  “Bookworms and Apples” for more in depth synapsis.

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