Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel
I was utterly charmed by Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. It appealed to everything nerdy in me, but at the same time was funny and warm.
Clay Jannon* is an award winning designer who lost his job when the startup he worked for, NewBagel, went under. He gets a job at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore almost by accident, and finds himself thick in the middle of ancient cults and mysteries. It’s The DaVinci Code for bookworms and techies both.
In the story, Google itself is almost a character. It takes us to the limits of technology, and shows us that the limits are human ingenuity. Guttenberg and early printing presses are paired with Google technology in a struggle between Old Knowledge (OK) and New Knowledge (NK.) I’m really trying not to give spoilers here, which is tough.
It’s a fun story, with quirky and original characters who are capable of being crazy smart without being completely socially inept. And you can leave it there, as an adventure, as a mystery solved by those crazy kids. Or, you can look a little deeper and see the contrast between the old and the new, what lasts and what doesn’t, what finds itself into museums and what just disappears, forgotten. NewBagel didn’t matter in the long run. The printing press did, and Google likely will. That may just be what immortality is.
To read more, click the handy-dandy Amazon link below.
*At the same time I read this I was watching “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix and one of the main characters is Clay Janson. Naturally, I kept getting them confused.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.