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Clay Jannon is an unemployed marketer and web designer. His days are spent surfing the web unsuccessfully obtaining employment. That is until he comes across Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore a narrow, vertigo-inspiring bookstore packed with books on its skyscraper shelves. Mr. Penumbra hires the new night clerk on the spot. Clay didn’t know that the course of his life would change that afternoon. It only takes him a couple of days to notice peculiarities with the business and its clientele. Clay and his new love interest Kat delve into the world of a 500 year old secret society called the Unbroken Spine.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore explores the tension between new technology and old, digital versus print, working out a problem longhand instead of relying on computer assistance. Clay, his friends, and Google through employee Kat try to help Mr. Penumbra solve an age-old mystery using modern technology. Robin Sloan cleverly weaves fantasy and reality to construct an adventure tale that engages readers and makes them cheer for the ragtag bunch of codebreakers. Throughout the novel, Clay calls upon his friends, actual and virtual, to help him uncover the treasure coveted by the Unbroken Spine for centuries. This is a quick read, definitely worth checking out…AND the cover glows in the dark!
Warm Bodies is a hilarious retelling of the classic Romeo and Juliet love story. R(omeo) is an endearing, likeable character. His narration, which is mostly through thoughts since his zombie speaking skills are lacking, is genuine and poignant. Readers get an honest view of what's on his mind, his feelings of loss and longing. Julie(t), daughter of the general tasked with keeping the living safe from zombies, serves as a perfect foil. She is fearless, not afraid to speak her mind and even challenges her father when they disagree. Marion tells an unlikely zombie tale, one where the “happy ending” doesn’t involve extermination of the undead. If you’re looking for a heartwarming book, creative/unique zombie tale, or enjoy classic retellings, this book is for you!
Her best piece of advice for an aspiring writer (paraphrased): Write the story that you want to read, not what you think others want to read. Chances are that if you love it, there are other people out there that will love it too.