Reading: “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore”


I had not heard of this book until I wrote a book review for “The Magician’s Elephant.” A sweet reader had nicely commented saying she had just finished reading, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.” I was intrigued. I liked the sound of the title. It had good reviews online.

I was even more intrigued after I purchased the book and another sweet woman wrote me telling me to look at the book in the dark. It has a cool little unexpected effect. If you have the book at home, try it.

“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” by Robin Sloan, is a quick quirky little book. It won’t change the world. It won’t even change your world. But not all books need to do that. It is still a worthwhile read.

The characters in the book are well laid out. The writing is well done. I very much enjoyed reading it.

The story begins with a young man named Clay, who is in desperate need of a job. He finds employment in a 24-hour bookstore owned by an odd little man named Mr. Penumbra. Clay is in charge of working the night shift. His job consists of tracking the clients that come in to the store and writing down the events of the night.

There are two parts to the bookstore. There are the “regular” books you would find at any brick and mortar bookstore. But there are more. There are dusty tomes of books written in a code that Clay has agreed he will not look at or open.

Could you do that?

I could not.

And neither can Clay.

Which is what Mr. Penumbra is counting on.

In opening the forbidden books, he finds an intriguing path into a secret society. And a mystery is born.


The neat part about this book is that it delves into areas you do not normally associate with science fiction or fantasy genre books. It explores the world of the internet. It also looks into the amazing company of Google, which was fascinating.

There were some flaws. Such as, all of the help Clay receives from his friends who happen to have the perfect resources he needs to solve his mystery. It was incredibly far fetched. Too perfect. But that did not really bother me. The ending was different. I cannot decide if I was disappointed by the ending or if it was perfectly wonderful. It is not the typical ending. But then again, I liked that this was not the typical book.

If you are looking for an easy, fun book that will make you smile, I recommend reading this book.

Have you read this book? Are there any other books I should be reading right now? What are you currently reading?

* The link for the book is an affiliate link. Purchasing the book through the link will result in a small commission for this blog.

13 thoughts on “Reading: “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore”

  1. I have this on my hold list at the library! I started The Book Thief. Accidentally left it at the gym in the child watch area after picking up my daughter. I went back a few days later & asked if a book had been left there. The gal said “oh! The book thief?” & started looking for it “yes! You left it here!” However, could not find it, a boon thief nabbed The Book Thief from my gym. Now I have a large library fine! I won’t be bringing library books to the gym to read while I bike anymore!!!

    • Oh my gosh! That is awful! Who would steal somebody’s book?! And a library book at that?! That is just disgusting. I hope it turns up. You might want to pay the library for the book before you have to pay the fines AND for the book. That would suck.

      On a positive, “The Book Thief” was a great book. One of my favorites. I hope you get a chance to finish it.

      I hope it all works out.

      Have a happy Tuesday!


  2. oooooh totally putting this on my list! sounds good!!!

    I’m reading a cheesy thriller, by Lisa Garner (sorry author, no offense-really, I keep buying these books!) called “Fear Nothing: A Detective D.D. Warren Novel.” thanks for the review… I like to have them stacked up…waiting to be read…

    • Thanks Melodee. I will check that book out. I generally do not do mysteries but I have two friends that read primarily mysteries. I bet they would love this! I used to only read mysteries many years ago but a few years ago I picked up a new mystery book and I was so sad. It was so disturbing. I threw it away. I only read the first couple of pages. It was the point of view of a child predator very detailed. It gave me nightmares. Your book sounds much more up my alley!

      Have a great week!


  3. This sounds like a really fun book. I am reading the history of Pancho Villa right now since I am working on a play about him. It’s not a very fun read since it is a history book and the author does not have great story telling skills. I may not get through it. I’d rather be reading Mr. Penumbra.

    • Oh my gosh. I cannot handle slow books. How cool that you are writing a play! Did you know Gwen writes plays, too? I am surrounded by beautiful talented women! So awesome! I hope you are able to get through it and that your play turns out perfectly! I love learning new things about you. : )

      Have a fun Tuesday!


    • I saw Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman by Sabina Berman a few years ago and found it very interesting. Good luck with your play!

  4. I want to read this book now too Jenni. (I already bought The Magician’s Elephant to read based on your review. I am looking forward to it.) I really do enjoy your book reviews. Please keep them coming!

    • Thank you! I love reading. In fact, I just purchased two more books. I am excited to learn Patrick Rothfuss is releasing a novella in October! I can’t wait. I love “The Magician’s Elephant.” Still one of my favorite books.

      You made me so happy!

      Have a cheerful Wednesday!


  5. So glad you enjoyed this read!! Just finished Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole. It is all told through letters and goes back and forth between events in WWI and WWII. I enjoyed it a lot. It reminded me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well. Finally got to read The Magician’s Elephant and loved it, but then again I am a BIG fan of Kate DiCamillo. I also discovered an author that I really enjoy…Sarah Jio. I have read all her books and am looking forward to a couple of new ones coming out soon. Her books go back and forth in time and are usually set around the Seattle area.

    • Thank you for the recommendation! I did enjoy it. It was such an interesting different read. I am very glad you recommended it to me. I will definitely read “Letters From Skye.” I loved “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” So that sounds like a great read for me! “The Magician’s Elephant” will have my heart forever. I will check out Sarah Jio. The books sound interesting. I love Seattle.

      Thanks for all of your book selections. I really appreciate them! I have liked all of your selections. : )

      Have a super Wednesday!


  6. I’ll have to check that out, sounds good. I literally have probably 30 books to read thanks to various book sales or new books I find at goodwill. I’ll go to donate stuff & always find great books there! I’m currently reading the women of duck commander, we like them all!

    • Thanks Rebecca. I always have a pile of books to get through and there is never any time in the day to get through them all. I go through spurts where all I do is read and then a take a few weeks off. Enjoy your pile. There is nothing better! : )

      Have a terrific Thursday!


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