Saturday, December 20, 2014


Book Review

‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’ is a fun fall read

10/9/2013

BookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Julie Goodrich

Picador USA

6/4/13

$15

DM Art Center

288 pp.

An out-of-work web developer stumbles upon an odd bookstore and begins the adventure of a lifetime. What follows is an artful, sparkling tale that twists together the past, present and future. Big ideas about tradition, passion, information and the drive to know wend through the novel, lending weight to the otherwise short and sweet story.

Clay Jannon is a victim of the Great Recession and, like many such victims, finds himself broke and searching for more than a job; he wants to find a passion. Random chance has him browsing through Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, where his ability to climb ladders and willingness to work the overnight shift lands him a job. He soon discovers there is more mystery to his job than just how to get customers. The store is a warehouse of ancient wisdom, the tools of a secret society that yearns to find the secret of eternal life. Clay takes off on a rollicking adventure through museums, stacks of books and even the Google campus to discover the secrets of the bookstore. Along the way he gathers with him old friends and new to help him crack the ancient code.

Written in a witty, breezy modern style that will appeal to both younger audiences and those who enjoy quick, sharp writing, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is an excellent fall read. And, if a gripping plot, deft writing and charming characters aren’t enough to convince you to try this book, how’s this? The glitzy cover glows in the dark! CV

Julie Goodrich is a collector of pretty words, geeky T-shirts and obsolete college degrees. She lives in Grimes with two weird cats and an obscene number of books. She recently earned a shiny new Master’s Degree in Library Science and is actively looking for a job; know of one? Call her!

Upper Iowa