I am thinking about Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

I have been neglecting my blog to an extent that makes me wonder why I still have a blog in the first place…

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I finished this the other day and I am still wondering what I am feeling about this book.  When I first saw it on The Book Club of Instagram’s page (I scrolled all the way down to see what some of the first books were and this was one of them since the owner of the page is taking a break from Instagram) I thought it would be better than the other book that I also requested from the library (which was also on The Book Club of Instagram’s page) A Tale for the Time Being.  I was waiting for the book anxiously and I actually ended up getting A Tale for the Time Being first.  Eventually I did get the book and the first thing the librarian said to me was, “I just finished this one. It’s…. Interesting. I’m not sure how I feel about it.”  Uh-oh that’s not something that I want to hear when I am checking out a book.  So I took it home and cracked it open.  I must say there are not too many books that I’ve read that are in present and future tense.  It definitely threw me off.  And wait it just gets weirder.

This book is about a strange bookstore in San Fransisco that is both a bookstore and a weird book club.  And I do mean a weird book club.  The members all have a card and are part of something called The Unbroken Spine and they bring in one book and request another book in a part of the store that isn’t meant for other customers.  This store, like most of the members of the book club, are outdated and old.  I don’t think many of the people have ever used technology after the 1980’s.  Which makes the main character’s girlfriend an interesting twist in the story.  She works for Google and wants to take the book club books and figure out what they are and what they mean.  Confused?  Don’t worry it’s probably just the way I summarize things.  Though the book itself was slightly confusing.

I think I liked this one?  The characters didn’t have the same arc as most books I’ve read.  For the most part they stay kind of the same throughout the whole story.  They also weren’t really relatable in any way to me, which didn’t detract from the writing, but I didn’t care for any of the characters the way I thought I would. The story line, to me, was pretty original and was interesting enough to read it all the way to the end.  The future and present tense was really off-putting however and I don’t think that I really enjoyed this point of view.  I know that writing in present tense is supposed to be a more “refined” way of writing, but it didn’t work for me for this one.  I know that for some people this book will be amazing, but for me, a book about a bookstore, I thought I would be able to connect to the characters better than I did.

So, like the librarian who handed me this book, I am also at a loss as to how I feel.  It was short and sweet and left no questions unanswered, but it was also weird.  If I could describe this book in one word it would be this: Interesting…

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