Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Book Review--Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

I've been wandering through genres since I gave up my old stand-by of historical romance novels (although plenty of family members joked that it was "fantasy", anyway).  And I haven't settled on one particular type of novel that really grabs me and makes me want to read more and more (exception:  Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series).  So I've elected a grab-and-try-it approach.

The other factor is that when I'm at my desk in the back of the library (not on the front lines and the reference desk) I have the opportunity to listen to audiobooks while doing some of my more mundane tasks.  So, not only do I have the challenge of finding books that I like but also that the reader is enjoyable, as well.

Ding ding ding

We have a winner!  Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I was intrigued by the description of the story--featuring a bookstore, libraries, a secretive sect, and typography--and listened to the first 10 minutes of Ari Fliakos' voice interpretation and was hooked!

Set in current times and featuring a cast of characters that aren't afraid to show their geeky side, this journey through the discovery and infiltration of a shadowy literature sect takes some side roads through the Google complex, computers, the history of typography and discusses the possibility of immortality.

Just when you think it's all adventure, interesting characters and not a lot more... in comes the heavy thought of: what would you do to achieve immortality.  And the secondary thought: what does immortality look like to you?  Sloan adds just enough mystery to get you thinking but not so much you feel like you're slogging through a philosophical tome; this story is like chatting with a friend while curled up on the couch. And Fliakos' mellow voice and characterizations bring the story to life in a very satisfying way.

Go ahead, take a chance and visit Mr. Penumbra's Bookstore!

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