Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

I came across this novel as I was browsing Barnes and Noble and it quickly became my favorite book that I have read this year. In brief, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore tells the story of Clay Jannon, an out of work San Francisco designer who currently finds himself working as the late-night sales clerk at a bookstore. But this is no ordinary bookstore as the customers are few and far between and never make purchases but rather check out single volumes full of unreadable code. The story goes on to follow Clay as he tries to unravel the mysteries behind the bookstore and its patrons. While the average reader will find the plot fun and suspenseful, I think this book would be truly appreciated by those in the graphic design field. The story is told through a designer’s mind and thus there are many inner dialogs appreciating the beauty and details of typefaces and hand bound books. The story also manages to weave in elements of letterpress printing as well as new technologies in development at the Google campus in Silicon Valley. I found it to be a refreshingly modern and relatable novel. If you have some spare time, I would definitely recommend adding it to your summer reading list.

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