Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore: A Review

days4 copyI read a book in 3 days.

I will repeat that. Not because it’s a fact that’s so unbelievable, plenty of people read books in much shorter periods, but I’m repeating it, because it’s been a VERY long time since I’ve been able to utter those words. I read a book in three days. Actually to be fair, I slept through one of the days, so it was probably more like two.

I can’t remember the last time a book was so difficult to put down that I literally found myself devouring it for hours on end, but here we are.

Recently I decided to subscribe to Scribd’s ebook subscription service, I had been a member of Oyster before it was shutdown and I guess since bought out by Google, and while I’m deeply disappointed it’s gone (I thought for sure getting Harry Potter would be enough to keep it going), I had to find a way to fill the void somehow, and Scribd was my next best option.

I was pretty sure I’d heard about this book somewhere before. Apparently it came out in 2012, and I vaguely remember seeing the cover, so when I spotted it again on Scribd, I decided to look it up and see what it was about, and to be honest, it’s kind of hard to describe. So I’ll let Scribd do that for me:

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore

That was pretty much what sold me. I didn’t read anything beyond that, and honestly I have to say, it’s a lot more interesting than I could have imagined, probably one of the things that really made me fall for the story was the fact that the main character Clay Jannon was a graphic design student saddled with tons of student loan debt like myself, who ends up working in a bookstore in San Francisco which actually some days sounds like heaven. The fact that a book related cult-like conspiracy is mingled in all of this is just an added bonus.

A word of caution however, if you don’t like first person present tense (which until now was not something I cared for; and frankly still isn’t) this probably isn’t the book for you. There are definitely other things that occasionally had me pausing to ask the collective literary universe why, but for the most part it was great.

It’s listed by Scribd as fantasy, literary fiction, as well as mystery and thriller and I think of all of them it’s more Mystery than literary fiction, but if this is what literary fiction can be then I’m all on board for more of this.

On the whole I give it

***** 5 out of 5. One of the most engrossing stories I’ve found in a while.

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