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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Which is cooler: Finding the answer to life’s most important question using brain power or Google? Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is optimistic about the future of technology and people working together as it looks at the question of immortality. In the novel, friends care about each other. A multi-generational fellowship forms. Two young couples get together. Read deeply and follow the clues to solve the mystery of the Unbroken Spine left by the fifteenth-century printer Griffo Gerritszoon. This novel is a mystery, but it is also about the love of books, whether you find them in the Central Rappahannock Regional Library; a big-box store like Barnes & Noble; a local, independent bookstore like The Griffin; or the quiet little stores built into our Kindles and Nooks.

After the economy tanked, Clay Jannon loses his job in marketing design for NewBagel-- where ex-Googlers have created an algorithm for the perfect platonic bagel--after less than a year with the company and gets a job as the night clerk in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. His only experience is loving a book called The Dragon-Song Chronicles as a kid. Something is afoot in the tall, skinny bookstore which sells no books but has a “waybacklist” of shelving with mysterious coded books and an eccentric clientele of readers who borrow them.

Clay thinks he has gotten mixed up in a cult called the Unbroken Spine with Novices, The Bound and The Unbound and the codex vitae, the book of life, of early printer Aldus Manutius, which is hidden in a batcave-like library underneath New York City, and holds the secret to immortality.

Clay has a gift for collecting good people just like Mr. Ajax Penumbra has for choosing good clerks for his store. When Mr. Penumbra disappears, with the help of his rebel alliance--which includes his millionaire software developer best-friend Neel, his creative roommate Mat, his cute Googler girlfriend Kat and a rogue hacker called Grumble--Clay goes on a quest to find the answer to the secrets of the Unbroken Spine.