Tag: Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Posted January 16, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime, Fantasy / 0 Comments

Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin SloanTitle: Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Goodreads)
Author: Robin Sloan
Published: Text, 2012
Pages: 288
Genres: Crime, Fantasy
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Clay Jannon is a 26 year old who finds himself looking for a new job thanks to the economic meltdown. He finds it at Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, working the late shift. But Clay soon finds out that there is more to this bookstore than the question of how it is possible it remains in business. Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore will take you on a literary adventure of complex codes and a global conspiracy.

This will be a hard book to review without giving away any spoilers but I will try my best. Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore starts off as an exciting mystery when Clay begins his new job and is faced with a lot of unanswered questions. But I soon found myself being bored with what was happening and almost quit. It did change its gears when Clay has found out what is going on and the adventure begins. Though I think it was a little too late to fully revive this novel for me.

I do like the way Robin Sloan blended mystery and literature together but honestly he really lacks the skills to turn this into something as good as The Shadow of the Wind. I will say that the novel does display a glimpse at a possibly great career. I found myself thinking the adventure elements of this book were too generic and predictable but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading it.

There is a love story in the novel but it wasn’t a romance between Clay and Kat. Sure that was there, but that was just a predictable boy meets girl and nothing ever goes wrong with their relationship. That isn’t worth mentioning, the love story I’m talking about is the love that author Robin Sloan has with Google; the whole book reads like a love letter to Google. The characters didn’t have to try and solve anything; they just need Google to solve all the mysteries of this book.

I haven’t mentioned the characters in the book because they felt very one dimensional; there was nothing complex about them and everything felt too neat. Sloan might have a career in thriller adventure novels but I think he really needs to learn how to make the characters flawed and realistic. I’m sure if another book of Sloan’s catches my attention I will read it but Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore failed to excite me the way it should have. I like books about books but maybe my expectations were a little too high.

What Books Have Been Trending – October-December 2012

Posted December 29, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Book Trends / 0 Comments

As the year closes, let’s look at the books that have been trending for the past three months. I’ve been looking forward to doing this again; I’ve had so much fun with the other posts in this series. The only problem is, I tend to think it’s been a little slow over the past three months but let’s have a look anyway.


The Casual Vacancy was released at the end of September and continues strong this month. This novel sees J.K Rowling try her hand in adult fiction; When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Grimm Tales is a beautiful book of classic fairy tales. Author Philip Pullman has chosen his fifty favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm and retold them in his unique and brilliant voice. This retellings are apparently ‘clear as water’ and engaging.


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


What are you reading? Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne in The End of Your Life Book Club. Sitting in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other—and rediscover their lives—through their favourite books.


The epic story of The Passage continues with The Twelve by Justin Cronin. The two year wait had everyone wondering what happens next with the viral plague that had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare.



Harry Dresden is alive (spoiler alert) in the 14th book in the series; Cold Days. After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad.


Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – Days of Blood and Starlight
continues the series after Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. A YA novel filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices.

Set in the present day in the rural community of Feathertown, Tennessee, Flight Behaviour tells the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, a petite, razor-sharp 29-year-old who nurtured worldly ambitions before becoming pregnant and marrying at seventeen.


The first five stories in the Wool series have been put together in this omnibus. An epic story of life, love and survival at all odds and one of the most-talked and anticipated books of the year. In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.


The Darkest Minds finds Ruby waking up on her tenth birthday, something about her has changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.”


Either this is a planned Christmas gift or the perfect holiday reading but I’ve seen a lot of mentions of Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French. Who is in Coma Suite Number 5? A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife? All of these. For this is Silvia Shute who has always done exactly what she wants. Until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops.

I thought it was a bit of a slow month for reading, I guess everyone is either busy or playing catch up with books missed though out the year. But then I noticed that there were a lot of classics being read. A Christmas Carol and for some weird reason Les Misérables and The Hobbit.

This year really has been a great year for books, not just for me but I’ve seen so many great books been talked about and read. I’m sure there are a lot of books coming out next year that are anticipated, so I would love to know what you are looking forward to as well as what hyped books I might have missed for the past three months.

Monthly Review – November 2012

Posted November 30, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

house of leavesNovember has ended and  the holiday season is well on its way. For the people who read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, I hope you enjoyed it. Yes. it was a really weird look into post modernism and I know there were a lot of ‘WTF’ moments within this book. But I do hope everyone got something out of it, even if it is just the ability to say, “Yes, I’ve read it”. For me the book was far too pretentious, even if that is normally my thing. I’m glad to have read it, but I don’t think it is something I would read again. There were some interesting discussions about the book, including if the book is a novel or a piece of art.

In December we will be reading the Beat classic; On the Road by Jack Kerouac as part of our Travel theme. This is a relatively short book so I’m sure people will be able to fit it in around all the festivities.

My monthly reading this month might have leaned heavily toward genre fiction but I felt like it was an enjoyable and relaxing month of reading for me, apart from House of Leaves. Highlights for me include Metroland by Julian Barnes, a look into the life of Christopher as he looks over his past and tries to work out if he is happy with his life. I’ve been looking to read another Barnes book for a while and this was well worth it. Then there was The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugendies; finally a book where a love triangle is done properly. This was a book of discovery as we watch three interconnected young adults grow into adults.

What have you been reading this month? What are the highlights?

  • Perchance to Dream by Robert B. Parker
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Without Warning by John Birmingham
  • San Miguel by T.C. Boyle
  • Truth by Peter Temple
  • Shadow of the Rock by Thomas Mogford
  • Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • No Orchids For Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase
  • The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams
  • The Artist as Mystic by Yahia Lababidi
  • Metroland by Julian Barnes
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides