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BOOK REVIEW:

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore

There are people who want you to believe that there is a hot, bright line dividing computers from books. “You have to chose one,” they tell you. You can’t love both the feel and smell of an old hardback and a quick boolean search. You have to chose. It’s media or e-media, and never the twain shall meet. But that’s a false dichotomy. That’s choosing between peanut butter and chocolate, when both are good. Let’s have both and mix them together and see what we come up with.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore is a novel that embraces and celebrates both paper books and technology. From the towering bookshelves of Penumbra’s dusty bookshop to the Google campus, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore is a peanut butter cup of a novel and you should read it. If, somehow, you don’t like peanut butter cups, imagine some other candy in place of my metaphor and read the book anyway.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore tells the story of an unemployed young man, Clay Jannon, who finds work at a mysterious bookstore that is patronized by an eccentric cast of characters. When Clay uses a simple computer model of the bookstore’s shelves to solve a mystery, he and his extensive cast of multi-talented friends discover that they have an even greater adventure in front of them. This is a great book to read if you like spending time in old bookstores, if you like puzzle solving, international heists and intrigue, and if you enjoy people repurposing technology in interesting ways à la Cory Doctorow’s books. It’s peanut butter and chocolate, and it's delicious!

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