How nice would a 24-hour bookstore be?

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by  Robin Sloan has been on my “to read” list for a long time. Mainly because I loved the title and because the cover of the book was rumored to glow in the dark (the hardcover totally does!). Once I picked up the book though, I couldn’t put it down! Mr. Penumbra’s is a story about a young man who has lost his way in life and has landed the night-shift at an odd 14-hour bookstore full of odd characters and books that aren’t actually for sale. That’s as much as I can really divulge about the plot without giving away some major spoilers, so that’s all I’m giving you.


This book is a riot and a wild ride. Seriously. Its a treasure hunt and book lovers porn, all mixed up with the modern age and literary conspiracy. The characters are lively and fully developed and they bring you into their world and share their passions and their pains in such a way that you can’t go to sleep until you find out whether they will succeed in their quest or not. I may or may not have lost a lot of sleep to this book…

Once I had finished, I immediately went to see what else Sloan had written. I found two other works of his Amazon: Ajax Penumbra 1969 and Annabel SchemeAjax is great as it is a short story that follows one of the primary characters as he is first introduced to the nutty world of the 24-hour bookstore, before he comes to own the store for himself. I loved getting to read his book.

Annabel Scheme though is…well…I was not prepared for Annabel Scheme. I had gone from this slightly magical real world of Penumbra and dove without warning into a hard sci-fi noir, reminiscent of a mashup between the Dresden Files and Snow Crash. Once I got my feet back under myself, it was a hoot and I desperately hope that Sloan brings this world back to enjoy again, as there is a lot of material there.

Overall, I this is an author I really think you should check out. You should also check out his website for some more fantastic stories and articles. I especially love that Escape button…


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