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Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore January 13, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Geek Stuff.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is a happy little read full of the sneaky nerd joy of discovering hidden knowledge, arcane lore, and doing it with modern tools, techniques and technology.  In few words, geek heaven.  the narrator/protagonist, Clay Jannon, has taken a job as a night clerk at the aforementioned bookstore, only to notice the patrons at the late hours rarely buy books, but rather take them on loan from the Waybacklist.  Clay is encouraged to carefully describe each patron as he logs the borrowing and returning.  curious, Clay looks into the books as borrowed and finds then all encrypted.

If you are anything like a serious geek this will send a naughty thrill down your spine.  Clay begins to pull at this bit of twine…and thus begins the story, full of modern tools and ancient tales, Silicon Valley whiz kids and dowdy librarians and a secret cult at the heart of it all.

I loved it.  I especially liked how Clay’s romance of a sort with the Google girl (name already forgotten, since I think of her that way) reflects life’s vicissitudes.  Also liked the realistic way the technophiles go at their enthusiasms with hammer and tongs—very lifelike. 

Because this is a relatively new title, the Kindle version is only four bucks cheaper (but no waiting!) at US$11.99.  There is an audiobook, but this reads really well when you have the flu.


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