Sunday, June 2, 2013

Audiobook: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Read by Ari Fliakos
Synopsis: The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

My Thoughts: I've heard many great things about this book but I was not able to find the time to read it. When I saw the audiobook available at my library, I decided to go for it. It was a cute story with an interesting topic, but I found myself confuse a lot of the time.

The story started off very strong. Clay was unemployed and got a job at a very unique bookstore called Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I was enchanted with the idea of this bookstore. It was open 24 hours, it had a regular bookstore, and it had the mystery store in the back, which was the actual store. It made me wish that such bookstore existed around my area. What also made the story strong in the beginning was the mystery behind the "Waybacklist" and how Clay started to investigate the truth behind it.

However, the story soon took a very confusing route for me. First off, I was confused at the type of relationship he really had with Kat. They are dating one moment, with no hint of romance, and the next they are no longer seeing each other? Next, was this book about the mystery behind Mr. Penumbra's books or the cult? Last, the tech talk didn't really help me much. It was obvious that the author had a huge fascination with Google. Maybe if I would have read the physical book instead of listening to it, it would have made more sense to me.

My thoughts of the performance: Ari did a great job in portraying Clay's character. His nerdiness and obsession with his childhood books were easily imaginable with the help of Ari's excitement. He kept me hooked in even though I found myself lost many times in the story.

Overall, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was an interesting story about books. I wished I could have enjoyed it more though. I rate it:

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