Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan
Clay Jannon is a computer techie who has lost his job due to the Great Recession. He takes a night clerk job with Penumbra's bookstore just to have money coming in and is intrigued by the weird characters who visit the mysterious bookstore. And this bookstore doesn't stock the usual titles either -- they are obscure, unknown books Clay isn't able to locate anywhere else in the world. Clay recruits his friends to figure out the secret goings-on. Among other things, we learn about a secret society trying to solve a 500-year-old puzzle. Partway through this book you'll realize you are on a Tolkien-type of adventure as Clay and his group find themselves pulled into solving that same puzzle. There are many humorous asides with references to sci-fi/fantasy, familiar authors, Harry Potter, and a dungeons & dragons-type of game. There's also a touch of history, a secret subterranean library, codes, thefts, and secret passageways. See if you can figure out the actual historical figures and events as opposed to the fictional amalgams that also populate the story. Keep in mind, "penumbra" means "something partially hidden." This was one of my favorite books so far this year -- it felt like such a book lover's tale. The author's writing style is easy and immediately draws you into the characters and the story. And for added fun -- the cover glows in the dark. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library
[ official Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore page on the official Robin Sloan web site ]
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