mr penumbras 24 hour bookstore robin sloan

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: Something About Books, Google, and Gerritszoon

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is essentially a book about uncovering the mystery of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, because everything is not quite what it seems. While I enjoyed the concept of this book, I couldn’t quite get into what the whole “mystery” was. Let me explain…

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: Something About Books, Google, and GerritszoonMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Series: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore #1
on October 2nd 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Narrator: Ari Fliakos
Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy from The Book Depository
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The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.


secretive bibliophiles, a font called Gerritszoon, and a computer-generated bookstore

What I liked: 

  • The whole idea of discovering the mystery of the bookstore had lots of potential! It’s what drew me to the book in the first place.
  • Um, it’s a book about a BOOKSTORE and BOOKS! Need I say more?
  • The characters are great. They are all in the mid-twenties/early thirties and they are highly relatable and quirky. They’re fun people to read about and essentially “hang out” with. Sloan did a great job making them multi-dimensional and feel like real people.

What I didn’t like:

  • I found that the mystery we were trying to solve was too low stakes to keep my interest. At the end of the day, what happens if we don’t find out what the mystery is? Who is affected? A TEENY-TINY GROUP OF PEOPLE (and it’s not even like they’re going to die if we don’t solve it…). No one else. There is not a lot riding on figuring out the mystery, you know? Since that was the case, I just had a hard time getting very interested in it.



If the synopsis appeals to you and you’re into fun, bookish mysteries, I think you’d enjoy this. If not, I wouldn’t recommend it.


What’s your favorite book about books?? Do you have a favorite mystery/quest book?

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4 comments

    1. Yeah, I think it may have been better suited as a physical read rather than an audiobook. It just felt longer than it needed to be, and I bet if I had just read it I would have been able to blow through it and have thought it more exciting!