I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
This is one of the most charming books that I have read in a long time. It is a love story to books, bookstores, libraries, museums and the internet. There are wonderful allusions to all kinds of geeky things, from Star Trek to Batman. The author has a real way with words, being able to describe things with one sentence, yet setting the scene perfectly, as when he describes an older lady's home as being that of a bibliophile hobbit. I also loved his description of the situation as Scientology aimed at elderly scholars!
Sloan obviously loves information in all of its forms and his love shines through in his writing. I hope there are many more novels coming from this author. And I hope that someday his Accession Table contraption for museums will be available for use! I'll willingly sign up for training!