Book review, book review, I actually have a book review!
Title: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Secret Society
While this doesn’t really have anything to do with The Martian Chronicles (which was our book club pick of the week: watch that here) other than perhaps a near future setting and my utter adoration of the text, I really wanted to talk about this book.
If you follow me on twitter (which you should because I’m delightful: here) then you probably saw two weeks ago when I spazzed out into the wee hours of the morning throwing up quotes from this beauty (two of which were liked by two different Reddit twitters despite having no hash-tags … they watch us all!). I am finally ready to tell you exactly what I thought about this book.
Before I get started … let’s set the mood:
I’m sitting here sipping a steaming cup of Chai tea and eating a bowl of leftover bibimbap. I have an hour until this post is scheduled to go up. I have finished two other books in the past week that aren’t related to book club and am making my way through the book club book with record speeds. I am, for all intents and purposes, in a really good mood. I am going to blame this on my excitement over this book.
If you were to ask me what I thought about this book if you found me wandering around some book store. The only thing I would think to say is: I love it, you should read it right away. I will say the same to you here and now.
I love it, you should read it right away!
People often talk about certain genres of music or a specific film as the zeitgeist of a time. I honestly feel that this book is the zeitgeist for myself and my particular group of friends as we are right now. This book perfectly captures our perspective. That is the perspective of nerds, and English nerds at that, in the age of electronics. The main character played what would be considered the alt universe version of dungeons and dragons, a pass time that create a very specific perspective. Not only did he make references that would make my heart squee and had a bunch of fantasy names that were so comically bad they could only have been thought up by dungeons and dragons nerds but it referenced what we as a generation have to look forward to.
Half of this book was discovering what was going down in an extremely eclectic book shop tucked away in San Francisco and half of this book was discussing whether the movement toward a Google-oriented (dare I say addicted or enraptured) world (one where people read on e-readers instead of books and use computers to solve problems that would have taken months or years to do only thirty or forty years earlier) is detrimental to the book industry. It even touched on the way that conglomerates seem to rise and stamp out all the little businesses but how they too are not infallible.
It is more than just a book around a mystery. It happens to be a mystery that every fantasy video game nerd or late night D&Der would cream their jeans over, but it is more than that if you care to think a little.
It is written in a way that I could have sworn some of the prose was stolen from my own mouth when talking to one of my friends. This was unsettling at first, but it also made it seem like the characters in the book could be sitting at the table with me on Friday night. It made us old friends quickly and I was ensnared.
I read the whole novel in one sitting, forgoing sleep, despite having work the next day. It felt amazing.
This book in one night made its way into my top five books of all time. It may not have made me think as hard as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which still holds the top spot, but it is up there.
It is beautiful.
I love it.
You should read it right away.
Now normally this is the point where I say that we will be reading John Dies at the End for next Tuesday, but since Gretchen is leaving for England on Wednesday, it may be a week or two before we get to it. We may end up doing it without her, but with Rachel’s recent hiatus it would be Taylor and I alone … I have a few friends on retainer who have either read it or will try to read it in order to join us. Just watch out. Remember when I linked my twitter up at the top of the post? No? Well I did, and that is probably the best place to find out what is going on if you care to know. Woo!
If we do have to post pone, like I said, I’ve read a lot this past week and have plenty to fill you in with in the time being. Assuming I get to writing reviews for them. *nervous laughter*
I hope you guys have a great weekend. I will see you on Sunday (for some K-Pop SPAM)!