Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore

Downloadable Audiobook - 2012
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Baker & Taylor
After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at the titular bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret.

Macmillan
A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life--mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstoreThe Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone--and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what's going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that's rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.

Findaway World Llc

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life-mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone-and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what's going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that's rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.



Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
ISBN: 9781427227430
1427227438
Branch Call Number: E-AUDIOBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 sound file)

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k
Kaleydoscope
May 16, 2017

Clay assumes he took an easy job working the night shift in a bookstore, but unravels a secret society of book-lovers and code-breakers that dates back hundreds of years.

JCLMelodyMK Sep 07, 2016

I enjoyed listening to this book.
It was a light, fun read. Kind of a Scooby Doo group searching for the answers. The reader did a good job and I'm glad I read it.

j
JudithE
May 08, 2016

I mostly liked this -- it's all about books, which I love, and audio-books, which are essential to my day. And there are puzzles, and computers, and the modern and the old meet. But I am irritated by a crucial point: (spoiler alert!!) The secret code as described would surely have been broken by Google, even without a key.

JCLChrisK Aug 01, 2014

Information and stories. That's the commonality. Convention prefers to set things in opposition to each other: books vs. computers; analog vs. digital; old vs. new; dusty vs. sleek. They may function differently, but at their cores books and computers are about the same things: storing and sharing information and stories.

Clay Jannon sits at the juncture of those two opposing worlds, that of books and that of computers. He is a computer designer in Silicon Valley, but desperation has him accepting a job at a dusty old bookstore that caters to very old-fashioned readers. That job gets him a new girlfriend who works for and--is all things--Google. It also gets him caught up in a centuries-old mystery involving a secret book society. Those are just the simplest of his connections to the two worlds, which grow deeply both ways. And Clay is special because he has a unique talent: he doesn't see the worlds as opposites or in conflict with each other; he is able to join them harmoniously in his perception, his life, his work. And so Clay sits at the juncture of an exciting mystery consisting of unexpected intrigue and adventure that takes him from the latest secret projects at the heart of Google to hidden underground libraries where the chained, leather-bound books are studied by black-robed scholars, breaking codes, uncovering mysteries, and so much more.

This is--to copy a description already used by others I know--a delightfully fun story. It came highly recommended and did not disappoint. Very nearly five stars.

j
jvehawn
Mar 12, 2014

This book is one that I would recommend to anyone who truly loves books. THe audio version has a fun little easter egg, in that the Author of the book is the reader of the audio book in the story! This book can be a bit odd at times and the ending did leave me scratching my head, but with a smile across my face. I don't know if I would like the actual book as much as I liked the audio though. Overall this is a good book to listen to and if you love books, you should enjoy listening to this one.

k
KBesserman
Jan 22, 2014

nice book for book lovers

bgalla01 Sep 30, 2013

Dan Brown meets Douglas Adams. If you are addicted to audio books it is great. The book discusses audio books.

JCLHopeH Aug 01, 2013

This is like a lighter, geekier version of a Dan Brown novel, in which the characters are on a quest to decode a secret message left centuries ago by Venetian printer Aldus Manutius. It mixes a fictional ancient society with contemporary Google-ization, and I found it rather charming. I recommend listening to the audiobook, as reader Ari Fliakos does an excellent job giving each character a unique and engaging voice.

l
LibraryUser53
May 01, 2013

It starts out like a fine mystery. The protagonist, Clay Jannon, is hired by a San Francisco independent bookstore owner -- Mr Penumbra -- to retrieve books from 10 pm to 6 am, at the request of long time bookstore customers holding an unusual interest in highly obscure volumes. In fact Clay has never heard of any of these book titles, which are never purchased, only loaned.

When Clay examines one of these books, he sees page after page of unreadable encrypted characters, no spaces, no punctuation. Yet the customers return night after night, returning one book, and taking another. At this point, about 10% in, the story looks like it has potential.

Then the whole thing degenerates into a sort of "Dungeons and Dragons" meets Google:Books fantasy.
The story fails to hold the reader's interest. I can't recommend this one.

One word summary: Tedious.

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JCLChrisK Aug 01, 2014

You know, I'm really starting to think the whole world is just a patchwork quilt of crazy little cults, all with their own secret spaces, their own records, their own rules.

JCLChrisK Aug 01, 2014

I've never listened to an audiobook before, and I have to say it's a totally different experience. When you read a book, the story definitely takes place in your head. When you listen, it seems to happen in a little cloud all around it, like a fuzzy knit cap pulled down over your eyes.

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l
LibraryUser53
May 01, 2013

The protagonist, Clay Jannon, is hired by a San Francisco independent bookstore owner -- Mr Penumbra -- to retrieve books from 10 pm to 6 am, at the request of long time bookstore customers holding an unusual interest in highly obscure volumes. When Clay examines one of these books, he sees page after page of unreadable encrypted characters, no spaces, no punctuation. Yet the customers return night after night, returning one book, and taking another. The question is: Why?

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