So the verdict is in and from the most to least tech savvy all agree that Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookshop is a great read. It reminded book club members of their favorite fairy tales, others of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and all agreed that the likable characters and central mystery made this book hard to put down. A great meditation on old knowledge (books, bookstores and libraries) and their relationship to new knowledge (Google, coding, laptops, 3-D printers) the author, Robin Sloan, explores what kinds of connections each from of knowledge makes possible.
Many of the book club members particularly appreciated the networks and friendships that are used and generated as the main character Clay Jannon, a twenty-something out of work because of the recession and under-employed on the night shift at the bookshop, discovers and tries to solve the puzzle. He calls in friends, makes new ones and is befriended as he moves between utilizing new technologies and calling on old ones to crack the code. His quest takes him from San Francisco to New York, from Google’s campus to the mansion of a secret society. Along the way the book references everything from The Hobbit and Harry Potter to 2001 A Space Odyssey and even creates a entire science fiction series that helps guide the action! A great read, peruse the table of contents (below) and begin to discover the humor and magic of this book.