Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore: Book Review

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Summary

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

—Goodreads

Review

I picked up Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore as I was headed to check out my books at the library. The bright cover caught my eye and the title hooked me immediately. Why would you need a 24 hour bookstore? Who is going to a bookstore at all hours of the night? Surely it’s a front for something, right? (I mean all 24 hour establishments are. Obviously.) Whoever said you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover is very wrong. How else do you decide to read it?

This book is full of mystery and intrigue from the moment you open the front cover. The language is easy to read but it delves into deeper meaning that keeps the reader enthralled making it more than superficial entertainment.

With a mixture of love and mystery, this novel falls into the “this is life” genre (patent pending). It’s the story of one man who finds himself out of work and ends up with a job in a place that even he doesn’t understand. But the night shift at a 24 hour bookstore is full of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered.

The story explores the dichotomy between electronic words on devices and computers and the physical printed word. Which is better? Is there a compelling argument for sticking with the physical books of the past?

Each character in this book is full of quirks and excitement; even the smallest of supporting roles. This story will have you thinking, feeling, imagining, and wondering. All reasons to make Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore next on your reading list.

VERDICT: READ IT!!

{That one time} Baby Jaguar got Lost

baby jaguar

If you have a toddler, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ve seen Go Diego Go. If you have, you probably know who Baby Jaguar is. Despite the fact that Evelyn loves Winnie the Pooh and Frozen and Sleeping Beauty, she has a stuffed toy that she has deemed Baby Jaguar and he is her absolute favorite toy in the whole world.

He comes everywhere with us. I can’t help but wonder if he’s a bit like Woody from Toy Story though, because he keeps getting lost. So now, I would like to present to you:

That one time Baby Jaguar got Lost

–written from Baby Jaguar’s perspective—

It’s quite apparent that all the other toys are jealous of me. I get to play with everyone. Evelyn likes to keep stories together so generally Olaf and Sven and Ana and Elsa play at the same time or Pooh and Tigger and Eeyore and Piglet. Except for me that is. I play with everyone. Evelyn takes me everywhere. I’ve gotten to see way more of the outside world than any of the other toys have but that hasn’t always been a great thing. Like a couple of weeks ago…

Evelyn dragged me out the front door and the warmth of the sun felt wonderful on my synthetic fur. She settled into one side of the big red stroller, next to the slobbery one, but soon decided that she didn’t want to hold me anymore. It’s okay. I know it can be tiring to hold a toy all the time. So I got comfy in the bottom of the stroller. But we were going faster than we had ever before. I tried to relax but as soon as a got comfortable there was a bump and I hit my head. I slid from side to side and got tangled in coats and blankets. I felt my stuffing rolling around in my head.

After a while, I tried to peek out of the basket and see what was going on. I climbed out of a tangle of blankets and all I could see was grass and cars speeding by. As I attempted to get my bearings we hit a big bump and then, all the moving stopped. I went into default mode and stayed as still as possible, just in case there were any people around. But when I finally got up to look, I was all alone. Evelyn and the big red stroller and even the slobbery one were nowhere to be found.

The sidewalk was rough under my feet and a couple of times I snagged them attempting to catch up and find Evelyn. Finally I gave up and laid down and waited. And waited. And waited. People and cars passed me but no one ever stopped. I eventually closed my eyes and tried feel the sun’s warm blanket instead of the cold sadness in my lonely heart.

But then, someone picked me up.

It was Evelyn’s daddy. He grabbed me and swiftly jogged to his truck. He tossed me into the passenger’s seat and away we zoomed. Before I knew it, we were in some store and Evelyn’s daddy placed me right into her arms. She hugged me so tight, I felt my stuffing starting to squeeze out of my ears. She held me safely under her arm and we ran everywhere! Sometimes she set me down so she could try on hat or a climb a ladder but I didn’t mind. We were reunited at last!

We went into an aisle filled with bags of all different shapes and sizes. Evelyn tried out a lot of the bags. There were even some with wheels on them! Those were Evelyn’s favorites. She even gave me a ride in one of them. She laid me inside and zipped it up tight. I couldn’t see anything but I could tell we were going fast. It was so fun! Sometimes we stopped but we always started going again, faster than before. Until we didn’t. I heard Evelyn crying and then I heard nothing at all. We didn’t move for a very long time.

After a while, I unzipped a tiny spot in the bag and peeked out. All I could see were legs and shoes walking around. I didn’t dare attempt an escape, in case I was spotted. I stayed inside that dark bag for so long. Just praying that Evelyn would save me. It seemed like forever before someone unzipped the bag. And there was Evelyn’s daddy again!

“I found him!” He exclaimed.

I looked around but I couldn’t find Evelyn anywhere. Then I noticed that Evelyn’s daddy was talking into one of those glowing squares that Evelyn stares at sometimes. It has moving pictures but I’ve never really understood the appeal.

Just like before, Evelyn’s daddy threw me into his truck, but this time we didn’t go find Evelyn. I stayed in the truck for a long time. It was so sad and lonely. I didn’t think I’d ever see Evelyn ever again. It must have been days before I saw Evelyn’s daddy get back in the truck (well..maybe one day). We drove again for a little while and before I knew it, he was giving me back to Evelyn.

“Baby Jaguar!! I saved you!” She said.

She gave me another big hug. I think she was so happy, she’ll never lose me again. Right?

{That one time} Dance changed my life

0 headerI was chubby. No really, I was. I had just returned from a 6 month stint of living in England with my favorite Aunt. She just so happened to be pregnant at the time, and pregnant people like to eat, as do preteens going through puberty. Long story short, upon my return home, I was chubby. Not that I really noticed that much. I mean I knew that I had gained a little weight but it didn’t really bother me. I guess I just had really good friends and family who overlooked my roley-poley self.

I didn’t think much about how I looked. That is until I found myself in my first ever dance class wearing a form fitting leotard and surrounded by stick thin girls and wall to wall mirrors. How did I end up in a dance class? 13 years old seemed a little late to start a dancing career when the other girls in my class had a good 10 years of experience on me.

Every week I entered my 1 hour musical theater class with renewed determination and vigor to do the best I could. Those first 30 minutes focused on acting and improv exercises. It was pretty obvious to me that I excelled above the other girls. I think it was obvious to them too. It felt good to be better at something than other people. I wasn’t incredible, by any means, but I had more experience and it showed. But in that second half hour that was focused on upbeat, jazzy, musical theater style dancing I shrank to the back of the room behind everyone else and hoped that no one would notice my inability to mimic even the simplest of dance steps. Every week I left my 1 hour musical theater class more frustrated and feeling worse about myself than I had an hour before.

But I kept going back, week after week, and I slowly got better until I was ready for our end of the year recital. I can still remember the power and adrenaline I felt on that stage under the warm lights. I left the stage panting from exertion and excitement. I sat backstage and watched the other girls who were in multiple classes do quick costume changes and rush back on for yet another dance. At that moment there was only one thing I was sure of, I wanted to be back on that stage as much as I could and I would do whatever it took to get there.

0 dance year 1

^^Our song that first year was ‘Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend.’ This was after a whole year of dancing.

When it was time to register for classes for the next year, I went a little above and beyond. I signed up for hip-hop, jazz, musical theater, and tap. By the time the end of the year rolled around I would be in as many dances as I could manage. The only problem was by this point I was in 9th grade, which by age put me in the senior dance classes despite my skill level.

My first class at the beginning of the year was hip-hop. I was nervous at having to once again squeeze into a leotard and stare at myself in a room full of mirrors and thin girls. I soon realized that although I had no idea what I was doing, I wasn’t the only one. I spent every free moment I had practicing the steps I learned in class. I chasséd and grand jetéd down hallways, I chaînéd and pirouetted around the living room. Any empty hallway at school was begging me to leap and turn down it. Just because I wasn’t good yet didn’t mean I couldn’t be.

I only lasted for two tap classes. I quit, not so much because I was embarrassed, but more because I felt bad for holding the rest of the class back. While they were tip tap hopping around the room, I was attempting to tell my feet how to shuffle ball change. My feet didn’t really listen to me. But that didn’t stop me from practicing. Even after I quit the class I tried to master that first across the floor combination–toe, scuff, heel, toe, heel, ball change. I’d be sitting at school scuffing and shuffling my feet under my desk. I’m sure people thought I was crazy.

My least favorite part of class was after the warm up and before the routine portion where we did some kind of across the floor combination to work on basic skill. Everyone would line up and take turns doing the combo from one side of the room to the other. Sometimes we were in twos or threes but often enough we would go one at a time. I hated everyone looking at me cross the floor and mess up the steps. I was mortified at the thought that I’d be the only one in class who didn’t understand how to do something. I watched the more experienced girls with envy as they mastered some of the most difficult combinations with ease.

0 4 years later

^^All that dancing really helped my transform my body.

Between dancing 3 hours a week, practicing in the meantime, and my freshman year gym class at school, my body had completely transformed by the end of the year recital. I lost that extra puberty weight that came in part from eating too much Cheez-Whiz and Sprite during my stay in England and developed coordination and flexibility that I’d never had before.

The following year I once again stepped it up a notch. In addition to hiphop, jazz, and musical theater, I joined ballet. Although I learned my lesson from the year before and even though I was old enough to be in senior ballet, I decided to hang out with the middle schoolers in junior ballet to not embarrass myself too much. I even started working at the dance studio selling shoes, answering phones and assistant teaching in 3 year old ballet and tap classes (and by assistant teaching I mean preventing kids from hitting each other and taking them to the bathroom).

0 teacher time

Over the years I continued to get better, although I was never great. Somehow dance became my life even though at first glance my abilities were nothing to write home about. I loved the way it felt to move my body in a way that fit to music and told a story. I could feel the music moving through me and it was beautiful to me, even if it didn’t look that way to anyone else. It was a way for me to let out inner feelings that I didn’t know I had and wasn’t able to articulate with words.

[Read more…]

Water on the Windowsill

windowsill water

Have you ever seen Clue? At the end it gives you three alternate endings. That’s how I’m going to tell this story.

Let’s start off with a little background. Chris and my bed is up against a window looking over a beautiful view of the valley. We used to have our bed on a frame but we moved the frame into the guest bedroom to put our extra mattress on for when Chris’ family came to visit. So instead of having a headboard in between our bed and the windowsill we just have a big windowsill. It’s a pretty big windowsill so we always keep a glass of water (or two) on it for when we get thirsty in the heat of the middle of the night. (Yeah I know it’s December but I think we have the heat on too high or something because I always wake up in the middle of the night completely parched because of the heat.) And obviously we can’t get up and get water in the middle of the night because monsters. duh.

Version 001

SO last night we had two glasses of water sitting on  the windowsill above our bed, one from several nights ago that didn’t get drunk (drank? drinked?)…that no one drank (there we go).

Chris has to get up at 5:30AM (a whole hour before me). And I can tell that he’s jealous that I get to sleep a whole hour longer than him. So this morning he woke up in a fit of jealousy. “Why do I have to get up an hour earlier than she does?! How is this fair?!” He thought in that cute little head of his. That’s when the wheels started turning. “You know what, it’s not fair. She should wake up right now…with me.” And with that he dipped his fingers in one of the cups on the window sill and flicked some water on my face.But that didn’t do the trick. I’m a deeper sleeper than that. Well then he got frustrated at that point, and took it to the extreme. He picked up the cup in his fist full of rage and then he proceeded to pour it on my head. The water was very cold. I sprung out of bed, just as he wanted and yelled to first word that came to my head which just happened to be the ‘S’ word.

“SOCK!”

“That’s what you get for sleeping an hour later than me.” Then he got up, stormed out of the room and headed off to work.

That’s how it could have happened…

…But what about this?

[Read more…]