by Robin Sloan
Clay is a quiet, unemployed geeky ex NewBagel employee. His job involved computers and it made him happy. And then it didn't because it faded away, as so many jobs do. So in order to make a living he tried ( but not too hard) to find new employment. His heart wasn't really in it.. and his mind kept tking him in other direction. But some things are meant to be, and in that spirit, we see him going through the door of Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. And he finds himself face to face with sparkling blue eyes and an older man who asked him "What do you seek in these shelves". As it turns out, those words were to begin a journey that would change his life. For that matter, They would also change the life of Penumbra, the man who spoke them.
The bookshop was tall and narrow. It was unlike any bookstore Clay had ever seen. And it was indeed unlike any other bookstore, anywhere. It was even unlike any bookstore anywhen. But it suited Clay, both the hours and the slightly ( slightly? ) weird atmosphere. The store was staffed by one other hired clerk, Oliver. Oliver was a student of archeology and The store suited him as well. It was hardly arduous being a clerk for Penumbra. Some nights, Most nights, as clay worked the 10 pm to 6 am shift he would only see one so called customer. So called because most of the people who came through the doors never bought a book, they borrowed them. They borrowed them from the Wayback part of the long, tall store. Sometimes He was climbing a ladder and reaching, reaching to bring a book to a usually older man or woman who had a name, and a number that were to be recorded in a logbook Penumbra kept under the counter. The name, the number and a description of the reader were carefully logged, as well as their manner of dress and their demeanor. Clay was intrigued.
During the long hours of the night, Clay was moved to create listing for the store on Google, and targeted local people, or those who might for some reason find themselves in the neighborhood. This too, was to have an interesting affect on Clays life. Funny how a small thing can have such a large impact. And so Clay found himself liking his unusual employer, and the more than slightly unusual little shop. It's a good thing, too considering what was to happen next.
I can't tell you any more. I really want you to read this book. It's quirky, it's techie, its mysterious and even funny. You don't want to miss it. Like the bookstore itself, something like this book is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. So.... what are you waiting for? This book can be in your hands in no time at all.. the internet is magic like that. In fact, the internet is magic beyond your wildest dreams.... go.. hurry... buy this book. You will be glad you did, I am pretty sure.