Daily Archives: 03/20/2013

#7: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr PenumbraThis is a book about books for people who love books.

I liked it SO MUCH.

Clay has had bad jobs and things are getting worse.  But fate or happenstance or J. Randomness has him stumble into Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.  Seemingly without his knowledge, he takes a job there and things are weird.  Really weird.

There aren’t many books that you’d expect to see in a bookstore and not a lot of customers.  But there are really weird people who come in and out to borrow books from the back.  Climbing ladders like a monkey, he lends out and reshelves books that make no sense to him.

So, of course, he investigates.

A new girlfriend and old friends join in on the adventure.  From technology created right this very second to scribes and giant books chained up in a basement, this book is all about books.  And exploring books.  And loving books.

I had no clue what was happening and there were times where I wasn’t sure who was The Good Guy in Clay’s journey.  I was totally on one side, but then.. waitaminute… what if?  I was more into the characters than the solution to the investigation, but that’s a compliment.  I wanted to see how everyone approached it in their own way and how it was going to all come together to reveal what was happening.

And this is what I liked the most about this book.  Everyone is searching for the same thing, but in different ways and the answer might not be the same.  Someone is going to be disappointed.  Someone is going to fail.  It’s possible that no one will even figure out the ultimate question, let alone solve the problem.  People want to keep with tradition while others think it’s criminal not to use technology to approach the problem.  Everyone is working on the same goal, but everyone has different reasons.

Clay does fit in to that sort of Everyday Hero Man.  He’s not too much of anything and he surrounds himself with people he can draw from to move forward.  This was a bit clichéd but I didn’t mind.  Books follow motifs because motifs work.

I wish I worked in a crazy bookstore with weird secrets and odd customers and rules.

PS: The cover glows in the dark.  IT GLOWS IN THE DARK!!!

#6: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing up Groovy and Clueless by Susan Jane Gilman

Disclaimer: I read this book in 2008.  My book group chose it and I happily reread it.  I looked at the review I wrote when I originally read it, and honestly, I don’t need to change it.  So here it is:

PouffyGilman’s writing style is amazing. Several times I had to put the book down because I was laughing so hard. She has a great take of growing up as a full on feminist, but at the same time becoming giddy with delight when Mick Jagger points out that she’s got huge boobs. This is a woman who’s been everywhere and done everything, and it’s a brilliant read. The book starts off with her at four years old, the daughter of hippies, prancing around in a tutu and figuring out how to rule the world. Her first foray into stardom comes in the form of an independent film that has her skipping around naked with another 4 year old, trying to catch a butterfly. We end with Susan getting married and having a total meltdown in the middle of a David’s Bridal when she finds a wedding dress that looks amazing on her. The plan was to be married in red or black satin, but she stands on the pedestal in the middle of the store for *four hours*, trying to come to terms with the fact that she loves this pouffy white dress, even though it represents everything she hates. In between she writes for a Jewish newspaper, which leads to her accompanying a group of Jewish teens on a trip through the concentration camps in Poland. She’s accidentally labeled “that lesbian Jewish writer” and suddenly receives call after call from unhappy Jewish moms who just want their gay daughters to meet someone nice, and is she doing anything this Saturday? Her parents get divorced and suddenly develop personalities, she jets off to work for a congresswoman in D.C., and later moves to Geneva.

Her life seems improbable, but the way she writes it makes it sound just like everyone else’s upbringing, just with different type of parental interactions, series of crappy jobs, and dreaded apartment hunting.

Stop Fucking Around and Write Your Reviews Already!

I am seven books behind on my reviews.

I just sat down to write at least one of them.

I’ve been on Buzzfeed for the last 20 minutes.