Sisters Book Club October 2013 Selection: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Well, the August/September Sisters Book Club selection kind of fell flat. But my sister and I are not discouraged! Instead, we’re just using this as evidence that we need to go back to fiction for October.

In this vein, the Sisters Book Club selection for October will be:

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

From Goodreads:

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

I’m excited to be reading this book because I hear it’s reminiscent of Haruki Murakami, whose novels I love, and because it’s set in San Francisco/Silicon Valley, an area I called home for almost five years of my adulthood (which is a long time for someone who averages three years between moves).

Also, I love book shops. The description of this book put me in mind of two of my favorites—one in Palo Alto, California, and one in Chapel Hill, North Carolina—both of which seemed to contain worlds more than one would imagine from looking through the front window from the street. Walking through a good one is like walking through the back of C.S. Lewis’s wardrobe.  I’m hopeful that reading this book will be a similar experience.

To join the club and read along with us and discuss Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, just drop us a note in the comments or join our Goodreads Group!

We’ll start reading and discussing on October 1st.

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