Books read in September
It is probably not considered unusual by this point that my monthly reading list contains only one book. Rather than letting this bother me, I will see it as an opportunity to spend a little more space on this little paperback.
Prepare yourself for lists of adjectives.
Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
“penumbra” – (n)
1. (technical) an area of shadow which is between fully dark and fully light
2. (astronomy) the shadow made by the earth or the moon during a partial eclipse
Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore has been on my to-read list for quite a while. It originally drew my attention just because the name sounds awesome, but then when checking out the plot it also sounded like nothing I’ve read before.
Mr Penumbra is a little bit of Dan Brown*, a little bit of Douglas Adams searching for the meaning to life the universe and everything, and a little bit of books-are-freakin-awesome.
It’s book about libraries, Millenials, Google, conspiracy theories, the Renaissance, research and technology. There’s a bit of longevity studies, a bit of the history of printing, a bit of Dungeons & Dragons, a bit of special effects and a bit of data processing.
*Disclaimer: I’ve never read a book by Dan Brown but I’m going with what I’ve heard from other people.
This book is many different things. I think it would have been easy for a book containing so many different topics to become disorganised and vague, but I didn’t experience that at all. Actually, I thought it was a very tight plot, with things only mentioned in the beginning later becoming very important.
So, the plot.
Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore is set in San Francisco in modern times. The main character, Clay, is an out-of-work graphic designer and marketer. He lost his job due to the bad economic circumstances (very relevant). Clay finally finds a job in the form of the late shift at Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore. This means he mans the bookstore through the night until dawn. Now, why would a bookshop need to be open at all hours for the day? Well, this is not your normal bookshop. It has hardly any of the normal books you would expect if you walked into a normal-hours bookshop. However, it has a huge lending-library from which an array of odd characters come borrow in the middle of the night. Urgently and excitedly, most of the time.
And is this even the weirdest thing that Clay will see in that shop…? Well, go read it to find out.
Don’t expect some grand philosophical leaps or life-changing revelations in Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. However, if you go read it, you can expect a sweet, nerdy mystery to entertain you on a rainy evening.
PS. Books are great. The internet is great. This book encompasses both.
PPS. I’m okay. I’m just struggling with the time to get back to social media. I miss it and I will try to find the time soon, but I’ve been adulting harder than usual and it’s honestly so exhausting. I’m trying to avoid burnout again by cutting back on the things that I do, rather than trying to do all the things and ending up hating all of it. Just taking care of myself first and trying to keep extra pressure off.