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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan Oh how this book made me sad. Having worked for years in bookstores, one glorious bookstore in San Francisco (what's up Dog Eared!) in particular, I approached MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE with hopes for a good time. Like the narrator, I've worked in the web industrial complex (in the first boom in NY), I spent a portion of my childhood playing D&D, I read a lot of fantasy as a kid, and I think smart girls are hot. Seems like I'm a ready-made fan, right?Unlike the narrator, though, I'm not interested in a book-length ad for Google Inc, I don't think of books as containing codes to be cracked, I don't think an awesome career path is to leave bookstore clerking in order to OPEN A CONSULTANCY, and I don't applaud the ingenuity of someone taking a used bookstore and TURNING IT INTO A CLIMBING GYM!!!! I don't want to be a hater, because I can see the author's very real affection for books and bookstores coming through. I would bet he's a really nice guy who I would like if I met him. And don't misunderstand: I heart the web, really I do, and I don't think the web is the end of print books or novels or whatever. But I do think the web is affecting how people read and write, and I think MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE might be some evidence that this effect is not always so great. For me, the very best thing about this book, which I wanted so much to love but really just couldn't, was its truly clever and magical dust jacket. I love the dust jacket so much I won't even spoil it.