Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (4)

After starting and - not abandoning, but - shelving the last four books I picked up, I didn't know if I could like any books. Maybe I’d read all the books I would like in my life. It was over. I might as well go re-read Game of Thrones*. Then Harry Potter. Then Hunger Games. And perhaps start all over again.

I was sold by the end of the first page.
“I’d sit at my kitchen table and start scanning help-wanted ads on my laptop, but then a browser tab would blink and I’d get distracted and follow a link to a long magazine article about genetically modified wine grapes…”
You sir, understand me. I will read your book.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a book for nerds. So many of us are nerds these days, with the rise of Microsoft and Google and the Internet you need to be a nerd to make a living. This book takes nerds and the things they love and combine them into your tale-as-old-as-time Hero Quest. Its light, and lovely, and sweet.

It's about kids who play a lot of D&D
Clay Jannon is a young web designer living in San Francisco who has just been laid off. To break the monotony of idly searching for jobs, he takes long walks. And one fateful day he wanders down the wrong street at the right time and spies a help wanted ad. So begins his journey at the 24-Hour Bookstore. The patrons are strange. Really strange. And he has to keep a log of what they get (they never seem to pay, but each has a membership card) and also what they looked like and how they appeared to be feeling.

Thus starts your hero quest. What are these books? What language are they even written in? He brings in his best friend and his love interest and together they are off to find a path to immortality. 

Now I think I need to go read a book that’s thick and long and breaks my heart. Because that’s what I like to do with my time.

*Yes, I know it’s called A Song of Ice and Fire. But no one calls it that. No one but you and me, friend. No one but you and me. 

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