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YOU need to purchase this book and read it.  MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE is a life changing novel delivered in a perfect package of a funny, delightful, fable.  Robin Sloan has written a story to take us through the wardrobe, the looking glass, and the rabbit hole in the real time and grounded us in the amazing world of the printed page.

I overheard my daughter say she had just finished reading this book and she could not get it out of her mind; it was a provocative read and a positive read.  I knew nothing about it except hearing the title and her passing comment to a peer on the phone.  I loved the title, the characters and how it includes those who love the smell of books, those who think books are dead, and those with an e-reader carefully tucked into their pocket.

The Great Recession has arrived in San Francisco and a newly minted programmer is out of a job and looking for work, when he reads an ad about a night clerk position in a 24 hour bookstore.  Mr. Penumbra offers Clay Jannon the job and tells him the rules of the store.  The mystery tour enthusiastically begins.

The book takes us on a tour of the GOOGLE campus and shows off the capabilities of that contemporary force, proceeds to time travel the reader to the 15th century and the first printers – craftsmen and their radical ideas, their lessons which have kept readers reading and minds flowing with ideas.  I learned so many new things about coding, and puzzles, new language and cultures, groups, communities and friendship.  I looked up at least 20 words in the dictionary (Always a high mark in my reading adventures), I discovered new ways to search for things, and new reference points to reveal my search engine.  Cleverly done Mr. Sloan!

I can imagine folks from 12 to 95 would enjoy this book.  There was no sex or violence. I did not miss it or notice that it was not included.


Robin Sloan
From George Saunder, in BLIP Magazine – on the jacket:
“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a real tour de force, a beautiful fable that is given legs by the author’s bravado use of the real (…) to sell us on a shadow world of the unreal and the speculative.  Robin Sloan comes across as so bighearted, so in love with the world – the ancient world, the contemporary world – so in love with love, in love with friendship, in love with the idea that our technical abilities can serve as conduits for beauty, that the reader is swept along by his enthusiasm.  It’s a lot of fun – but it’s also a powerful reading experience with a wonderful undeniability.”

I am reading it again!

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

There is a reading guide for MR PENUMBRA’S 24- HOUR Bookstore on line

MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOSTORE is a book from my own library suggested by my daughter.  Thank you

Excellent Reading: (These are 4 of the 6 books I could not put down during my summer reading)
In the Land of the Living
The Fault In Our Stars
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
A Dual Inheritance

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14 Responses to “MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE: A Novel ~Robin Sloan”

  1. Talon Says:

    On your recommendation I will purchase this, Patricia. :)

    I love a book that can be read across generations. We need more of them.
    Talon recently posted..The Memory TreeMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    A very fun and beautiful fable. Kim I think you will not go wrong with this book. It seems to have opened my creative thinking juices too.

    I sent two copies this morning as birthday gifts.

    Talon Reply:

    I think you are one of the most thoughtful people it’s ever been my pleasure to know, Patricia.

    Patricia Reply:

    You make me blush – thank you :)

  2. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia – I love your call to action:

    “YOU need to purchase this book and read it.”

    I’ve added it to my reading list – thank you for providing another wonderful book review.

    Patricia Reply:

    I am certain you will not be disappointed – unless you have to put it down and go do something else :)

    There are 850 5 star reviews already on Amazon about this book – I am not alone with my recommendations
    Patricia recently posted..MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE: A Novel ~Robin SloanMy Profile

  3. Sara Says:


    I will add this book to my wishlist and will purchase it for my daughter. It sounds like a book she would enjoy. I’ll let you know how she likes it.

    Oh, your review was excellent, as usual:~)
    Sara recently posted..A Face Off with LifeMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Do let me know if she likes it – I bet she will

    It is coming out in paperback shortly and that will save a few dollars but the cover is lovely to hold and feel also!

    Thank you for your kind words about my words :)

  4. Deborah Barker Says:

    I love the title and I am hooked. You have done it again Patricia, thank you. Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store, here I come :-) X

    Patricia Reply:

    I loved the title too Deborah – and I am so happy I did – terrific story telling

    Deborah Barker Reply:

    Hello again Patricia, I was not disappointed. I have just finished reading Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore and found it every bit as wonderful as you promised. Thank you for bringing it to me. I bought the Kindle version so that I could begin it straight away but I am going to purchase a hard copy too as it is something I would love to have on my bookshelves. I shall be reading it again no doubt, just to wallow again in the amazing coming together of the old and the new and to hear those wonderful names again. Thanks to your daughter I suppose for bringing it to your attention :-)

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you for coming back to comment after reading this book – It does not disappoint…


  5. Sam Juliano Says:

    Sloan’s novel has much support in the blogosphere–no surprise considering the subject and the talent of the author.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you for coming by and commenting. This book was so refreshing but I am finding that many of the folks I know have not heard of it – What a talented writer – I love his webpage also
    Patricia recently posted..TRUTH LIKE THE SUN: A NOVEL ~JIM LYNCHMy Profile