Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore was written by San Francisco writer Robin Sloan. It created quite a buzz when it was written and that buzz found its way into ZSR Library. I first heard of the book from Kevin Gilbertson, who mentioned he thought I might like it because of the content, which included books, bookbinding and typography. After I bought the audio version of the book on audible, I found I loved it from start to finish. Since then, I discovered a number of library staff who had read and liked Mr. Penumbra: Rebecca Petersen, Molly Keener, Susan Smith, Lauren Pressley (I think Carol Cramer is currently reading it). A book like this begged to have it’s own exhibit.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore is the story of Clay Jannon, an out-of-work web designer. He needs a job badly and lands one at the bookstore owned by Ajax Penumbra. The only thing is, this isn’t a normal bookstore: they don’t really sell books and Clay must take notes on every patron who visits. On top of this extraordinary bookstore, let’s add Google and a secret society known as The Unbroken Spine. I believe this book has a real attraction for librarians because it covers the birth of movable type, book printing and typography, as well as Google Books and current technology.
The exhibit has a synopsis of the book along with reader reviews and interesting facts about Mr. Penumbra (such as the idea for the book came from a tweet to the author, who worked for Twitter). Since there was a strong Twitter connection, I tweeted the exhibit to the author, Robin Sloan, who responded that he loved the pizza box in this exhibit. I soon heard from MacMillan Library who wanted to feature the exhibit on their blog. I mentioned that we had a sort of unofficial fan club and they loved this idea. The piece on their blog is called: “Monday Fun Day with MR. PENUMBRA’S Unofficial Fan Club.” I hope you have the opportunity to read and enjoy this fun book.