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By Monica Riese, December 20, 2013, Arts

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

by Robin Sloan
Picador, 304 pp., $15 (paper)

It's amazing what we'll do for something we believe in: travel to the other side of the continent, commit theft, organize hundreds of the world's most powerful engineers and programmers .... In Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Clay Jannon does all this and more just to solve the mystery of his new employer's peculiar clientele.

Or at least that's how it started.

Ultimately, Jannon and his friends – a respectable cadre of smart twentysomethings living in the Bay Area – unravel a thread much longer than one San Francisco storefront, but they do it all in the name of adventure, of discovery, and, ultimately, of faith.

There's a strong technological undercurrent that will surely date this story faster than you can say "Google," as well as an inexplicable enthusiasm for rock climbing among its characters, but it's a spirited tale full of passionate people, and that's something we can believe in.

Perfect for: typography nerds, librarians, start-up junkies

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