Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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This is a really fun read!  Clay Jannon takes the reader with him on this very high tech journey into the workings of a very unusual bookstore.  The clients of the store come in at all hours, are generally older, and never actually pay for the books they read.  The books are written in code and Clay really has no idea what this is all about.  As his curiosity gets the best of him, and he delves into the mystery of the code and the store itself, he rouses both himself and Mr. Penumbra to challenge an old, mysterious secret society.

What is great about this book is the writing – it is witty and light and even with the technological descriptions (and I’m the furthest from being techy!) it never slows or lags.  There is suspense and mystery and even something of a romance, but it is always kept light and amusing.  And in its own, very innocent way, it highlights both the strain and the synchronicity of age/wisdom vs. youth/modernity.  There is also an underlying theme of what it means to achieve immortality, but it is subtle and very tenderly woven in.

A great read – summer or otherwise!

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