Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan

Ashley always seems to have spot-on recommendations for me. I applaud her for this choice because it has the obvious – a bookstore which speaks to my love of books – but it also has a little sci-fi mixed in, which I appreciate, but she always seems to mock.  Perhaps it is the San Francisco setting, and the other world nature of the novel, but even the writing of this one reminded me a great deal of Christopher Moore’s “You Suck” – which I very much enjoyed.  Lost in the web-design world of start-ups, the protagonist here finds himself working the night-shift as a clerk in North Beach.  There are definitely strange things afoot as buyers come to borrow obscure volumes in secret, and appear to be on the brink of figuring out the answer to an elusive problem.  The protagonist then becomes obsessed with figuring out the answer himself, bringing his friends along on a literary adventure that takes him on a journey both exciting and absurd.  This book was just a lot of fun to read.  At times, it got a little too space-time-travel-weird for me (not that there is space time travel, but just that same feeling of interesting yet far-fetched).  A quick read that definitely put a smile on my face. 

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake - Anna Quindlen

Reading the memoirs of writers I like sometimes disappoints me (Anne LaMott, I'm looking at you), and other times it endears me to them even more.  Anna Quindlen's musings about everything from love to motherhood to girlfriends to all the random things in her life, falls in the later category.  The chapters are written like columns in a magazine - all about her life, but not chronological or straightforward.  There were so many beautiful quotes here and there - many of them I could relate to in terms of learning to love myself and being so grateful for the support around me as I get older (and obviously wiser).  Quindlen's observations are poignant and often quite clever.  I thoroughly enjoyed a quiet afternoon with this book - and a reminder that while we can't always get what we want, it makes the most sense to throughly enjoy all that we have.