by Anisha Agarwal
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore is an odd novel, filled with vastly different, yet equally curiosity-driven characters. In some ways, the book was confusing, but in the best way; it seemed to span many different eras and genres, connecting Google and the internet with centuries-old cults. Throughout the novel, the world of technology is interwoven with the world of books.
In the novel, the recently unemployed Clay Jannon begins working at a bookstore that is open 24 hours a day. The bookstore is described as having incredibly high shelves, thousands of books, many unheard of, and almost no up-to-date technology. Very soon, he begins to notice a pattern in the types of people who frequent the bookstore--people who rarely buy anything, yet come on a regular basis to check books out. Clay's curiosity is the driving force behind the plot of this novel, and, with a slew of interesting and well-developed secondary characters, he very quickly finds himself in a world that seems imaginary, as though he has traveled in time.
I would recommend this book to those who would like to read a smart, somewhat cryptic novel, and can survive the unnecessary, disjointed romantic plot for long enough to enjoy the rest of the novel.