The Captain’s Log – mr. penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore (Robin Sloan)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I absolutely loved the quirky and hard to categorize sourdough by this author.  I thought I would try his other novel.  While this had a lot of good in it, ultimately it be just an okay read for me.  I think the problem for me was that once the bookstore mystery was “solved” and the action moved to NYC, I was less interested.

The first half of the book really did float me boat.  I loved Clay and how he got involved in the bookstore.  The bookstore itself was awesome.  I wish I could visit.  I also loved that notes had to be taken about which books were borrowed from the bookstore and why.  If the entire book had been like this section then I would have adored it.  And I really did enjoy all of the characters in and around the bookstore.

But there were problems.  While I liked how Clay’s relationship with his best friend worked, the best friend’s obsession with boobs was kinda icky and immature at best.  No matter that it made the character lots of money.  I was also disappointed in how the main romantic relationship in the book turned out because I rather enjoyed the set up.  I just didn’t really like or understand its evolution.  However the main problem with the book was that the solution to the bookstore mystery was lackluster and the rest of the book bored me.  I thought the secret society was lame even if the main concept behind it was ok.  I didn’t like the ending at all and really didn’t like any of the Google elements.

I did also like the sections dealing with typography but then I am the dork who adored just my type: a book about fonts.  The writing did lead to some beautiful quotes, especially in the beginning, but ultimately I am glad I started this author’s work with sourdough.  Had I read this one first, I might not have picked up more of the author’s work.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

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.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Robin Sloan – Author

To buy the book go to:

mr. penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for This Author

sourdough (Captain’s Log – Magical Realism/Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

24 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – mr. penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore (Robin Sloan)

  1. I missed this post earlier, not that I comment often (and am currently on vacation).

    I remember really liking this and couldn’t get into Sourdough. It was a slow start for me. I was looking forward to the quirky. Maybe I will try it again one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahoy there! I do think that sourdough is not for everyone. The pacing of the entire book is on the slower side. I found the circumstances to be fascinating and didn’t mind the pace. But I can see how ye might have given up. I am down for trying books a second time but only in special circumstances. Hope ye be having a fantastic vacation and be honored that ye would spend some of it drafting a comment to me. Arrr!
      x The Captain


    1. So many people love this one and I am sad not to be in the same boat. But in comparison to sourdough, this just wasn’t as well written. I try to judge each book on its own merits and not compare the author’s works but in this case I just couldn’t.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always interesting watching how some writers evolve and manage to nail all the elements to make an awesome read in one book, while building up to it beforehand. Thank you for giving us such a great insight into one of those ‘building up to it’ reads:)).


  3. Darn Captain, I enjoyed this one and was excitited to see you also read it. But, I do agree with your points mentioned. I just love old book stores, so I like the book before I even read it LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I listened to this book and found that the voice actor made a huge difference. Each character sounded distinct and massively nerd in their own ways. I liked the juxtaposition with Google simply because a search engine/tech innovation haven is so antithetical to reading, or so my brain would assume. What Google is for realsies doing with books is fascinating. However, I did have the benefit of a techie husband explaining to me the ways in which Google is actually doing some of the things the author wrote about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am actually all for digitizing books and love projects to make them available to more readers. In particular I love museums making rare books in their collections accessible to others. I know that the library of congress has a problem to make their collections digital to give new insight on women’s issues and race issues among other things. Part of it is being done by crowd sourcing. It’s cool. Maybe the audiobook would have helped but this is not one I would reread 🙂
      x The Captain


    1. This is the second popular bookstore setting book that I have not loved this year. But I can’t help but keep trying. Maybe someone needs to make a list of other good ones out there. Okay so Goodreads has quite a few. I will have to go down that rabbit hole at some point.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

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