I'm convinced that Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan was written just for me. I was absolutely enthralled by page 10, smiling as I was reading and confident that this was going to be a five star review by the end, and I was right.
So what's got me all excited? Well, Mr Penumbra owns a 24 hour bookstore that never closes, with regular new books for sale at the front of the store. Also for sale - and the real purpose for the store - are second hand, fabric and leather bound books at the back of the store on high shelves accessed by several ladders and are only for sale to customers with a special member number.
Clay starts working at Penumbra's as a clerk during the late shift and all he needs to do is serve the customers and record all of the details about the members purchasing books from the high shelves into a large register. He is told not to look inside any of these books, and the members are all eccentric in their own way.
During the course of the novel, Clay unveils a secret bookish quest involving the bound and unbound, meets a super smart girl who works for Google and learns that the member books don't exist according to the world wide web.
Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is a book for book-lovers, those who enjoy unravelling mysteries and modern day quests involving intellects rather than knights with swords. Our hero has a computer as his weapon and a girlfriend working at Google as his 2IC. Some quirky and interesting characters add depth and enjoyment and I just didn't want this novel to end.
I heartily recommend Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore to all readers and stand by it as one of my favourite reads for 2012.
My rating = *****
Carpe Librum! Or as they say in the book: Festina Lente