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

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetHola wormies!

I am swamped with work. Have missed all the beautiful bookish posts on my feed. I have hardly read anything. Today morning, I woke up a little early and picked up my Kindle to read a few pages from the book I was reading and it had ran out of battery! I mean a paperback will never betray you this way.

It’s been seven years since I bought my Amazon Kindle, and I have been going back and forth between being the excited technophile and the thrilled bibliophile. E-books have the entire world of literature accessible with just one click. The availability of books is massive yet you can travel light (why I bought it in the first place. I was in hostel and couldn’t carry back my books). But then again I love the way books feel and smell, OK? It might seem sentimental, but that’s falling in love for me.

But I believe a great novel is a great novel, whether I am immersed in an old, yellowed paperback or the glowing screen on a tab — and that’s the point Robin Sloan attempts to make in his debut novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

This story follows Clay Jannon, a young art school graduate, as he starts a new job working as a night clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. The store is quirky and intriguing, ultimately piquing Clay’s curiosity and taking him down a rabbit hole to figure out what exactly is going on. ⁣

“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is eminently enjoyable, full of warmth and intelligence. Sloan balances a strong plot with philosophical questions about technology and books and the power both contain. But the book suffers from an excess of convenience — for every problem, a clever solution is always ready. Also, the book is a novel long ad for Google and Amazon. I can see that the author was trying to marry the old and the new – traditional books and new technology, but it was a bit too much!


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