I read these quite far apart, but they sort of reminded me of each other (what??) so I figured I'd review them together. In case you were curious.
First is Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. It made the rounds last year and EVERYONE loved it and EVERYONE told me to read it...but being me, I refused to cave in to the hype.
It was absolutely perfect. Silly, ernest, well written, fun, moving- it was perfect. One of the lines near the end of the book summed it up for me and it's all I used for my initial review: "The right book exactly, at exactly the right time." What else can I say?
Would I have loved it as much if I had read it at a different time? That's hard to say. But the point is, I loved it, and I highly HIGHLY recommend it. 'Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.'
From the back of the book: Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, coupled with sheer curiosity, has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead they simply borrow impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behaviour and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what's going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore...
Next was The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I swear I read this bc it was on one of those SK Recommends lists, but I can't find any mention of him liking it, so I guess I made that up. Either way, I'm so glad I read it!!
First, twins. You KNOW how I feel about twins. I couldn't figure out if they were really REAL twins or just regular twins, but I'm going to assume identical bc that's more fun for me.
Second, it's a book about LOVING books. Seriously. I know there are other books about loving books, but this one NAILED it. I couldn't put it down or take the time to snap a pic of some of my favorite passages, but trust me- it was GOOD.
My initial review: Five stars. I wish now I'd used my phone to take pics of the most powerful parts. A book about the magic of books. I've read a few and this is easily the best. I have a thing for twins but if I'm honest, I didn't know this was even about twins. I loved every single word. I'm going to buy this in hard cover and put it maybe not on top shelf status with HP and SK and the Giver, but definitely on the second with the Passage, the Silo Saga, and Jacob Have I Loved. It was just soooo good!!!
And from the back of the book: Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once the imposing home of the March family--fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, Charlie her brutal and dangerous brother, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House conceals a chilling secret whose impact still resonates...
Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield's past--and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic author Vida Winter? And what is it in Margaret's own troubled past that causes her to fall so powerfully under Angelfields spell?
Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with the prompt book review!