Welcome to a Reading Map of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, A Novel by Robin Sloan


[Yes! The cover glows in the dark!]

“What do you seek in these shelves?” –Mr. Penumbra

Everyone knows someone like Clay Jannon; a brilliant person who hasn’t found a landing spot. Clay has a great imagination. He lives intertwined with technology and yet he has an appreciation for the old and obscure. He’s a guy with lots of highly skilled friends because, let’s face it, he would be nice to be friends with. He himself is an unemployed graphic artist. His internal dialog reveals him to be quirky and irreverent.

When he wanders into a job as a night clerk at a peculiar 24-hour bookstore run by the ancient Mr. Penumbra, the true adventure begins. “You may not browse, read, or otherwise inspect the shelved volumes.” Those are Mr. Penumbra’s orders, but where’s the fun in that?

Discovering a mystery in the cryptic tomes, Clay becomes a rogue, arms himself with a wizard and a warrior, and attempts to unravel with computers what scholars have been working on for centuries. The technology of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore falls just the other side of reality. The action ebbs and flows from online to physical and a slightly embellished google (or is it embellished?) functions as a prominent character. And through it all the quest is only possible with help from a myriad of friends, hackers and cryptographers.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a winner of the 2013 Alex Award, given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The award is presented by the The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust.

Bring your love for antiquity to this fast moving technological mystery.


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