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Literary Friday: Two Selections From My Daughter

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Friday Morning, My Lovelies!  Welcome to a special edition of Literary Friday.  My daughter lent both books to me, and I enjoyed them! Surprisingly, both books were written by men.  :D

Mr.Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan is too much fun.  My daughter found it on the Recommend Shelf at one of our very favorite Indie bookstores, Page and Palette.  It is probably the nerdiest book I've ever read which is saying a lot….trust me.  Think of the fundamental basics of game design: knight, wizard and rogue, combined with an ongoing medieval mystery that can solve the most compelling of all human questions not to mention hysterical internal monologues and asides;  do I have your attention yet?  ;P

Clay Johnson is the book's main character and narrator.  He is such an endearing character, and his thought processes, observations, and reflections alone make this book worth reading.  Clay's a web designer, and unfortunately he's lost his job due to the poor economy.  Curiosity lands him a job at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore where the main criterion for employment is the ability to climb extremely high ladders to retrieve cryptic books.  There are also a few rules that must be followed, too:

"This job has three requirements, each very strict.  Do not agree to them lightly.  Clerks in this store have followed these rules for nearly a century, and I will not have them broken now.  One:  You must always be here from ten p.m. to six a.m. exactly.  You must not be late.  You cannot leave early.  Two: You may not browse, read, or otherwise inspect the shelved volumes.  Retrieve them for members.  That is all."

One of Clay's few (but important) duties is to write detailed descriptions of the transactions: everything from what the members are wearing to their demeanors.  Everything rolls along smoothly until a pretty-yet-nerdy Google genius named Cat shows-up serendipitously because she's waiting on a bus and is bored, and then Clay decides to break a few rules.  

With the help of Cat and Neel (Clay's best friend since middle school who's made a fortune by writing the best coding for boobs used in video games), Clay embarks on a comical quest pitting Renaissance genius against modern technology to solve a riddle that a secret society has been slowly unraveling for centuries.

Although this book is a page-turner, it really should be savored.  And for the sake of all things sacred, please don't read it on an ereader!  ;P

The next selection, Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick, is a young adult selection.  I enjoyed the story and message of this book.  It was so refreshing to read something with a positive message in YA, and I think that all girls should take its message to heart.

Becky Randle grew up in a trailer with a morbidly obese mother in rural Missouri.  When her mother dies from complications of diabetes, she finds a mysterious phone number in a ring box among her mother's things.  The phone number belongs to the reclusive fashion designer Tom Kelly, and he makes an outlandish promise to Becky: He will make her the most beautiful woman in the world by wearing one of three dresses that he will design exclusively for her.

Tom Kelly's promise, as unlikely as it seems to Becky, transforms her into the most gorgeous woman, and she instantly rises to stardom as a model and starlet.  She even catches the eye of Prince Gregory, England's heir to the throne.  As part of the bargain she's made with Tom Kelly, she must fall in love and marry within a year, so why not go for broke and marry a prince?

I don't want to give away any spoilers, but trust me: maintaining your suspension of disbelief is well worth it while reading this delightful novel.  As a mother to two young women, the message of seeing who you are and liking yourself is priceless.  Plus it has the added benefit of friends supporting one another through thick and thin.  I do want to warn you about the language in it.  For this reason I recommend it for older teens only.  

Paul Rudnick writes in his acknowledgments that "anyone who has read this book [is] impossibly gorgeous."  Yes I am!  Thank-you, Paul.  You are truly gorgeous for having written it.  

I also want to thank Shanley Belle for lending me these books.  :D

NOTE:  I'm out of town, and I probably won't be able to visit any of your posts until Sunday evening.

Literary Friday

Until next time…

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. Sounds like two great books! Hope you have an awesome weekend!

  2. TWO fabulous books! I can't wait to pick both up!

  3. I would love to read Gorgeous! Have fun while you're 'out of town'! And Happy Anniversary to you both! Sweet hugs, Diane

  4. Oh I am going to have to check out that bookstore. I'm not familiar with it. 24 hour bookstore does sound like fun! And the cover of Gorgeous is well, gorgeous! thanks for you wonderful reviews.


  5. I read "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" a few months ago and really enjoyed it. It was unlike any novel I had ever read before!

  6. Second attempt at posting a comment! I love it if I enjoy recommendations from my daughter.

  7. Those both sound delightful! I can't wait to pick up Mr. Penumbra's now! :D

  8. I might not even be nerdy enough to follow the description of the first course I am!!!! Why must I always assume I will remember your book names? It is time to write then m down as so far I have bought one you didn't like, and got one you did as a gift (luck). Hope you have fun travels!

  9. You find wonderful books to read. I need to stop my March 'to do' list and just sit and read in the garden.

  10. I know that I already commented on this post, but while I am reading blogs, my husband is looking at the internet and he sat there crying. He showed me what was making him cry - he's a sap!

    You like music so I thought you might enjoy this

  11. Please make a new post about your news !!!!

  12. Hi, good to see you at my place.
    I haven't got to do much reading lately, with the move and getting settled in our new place.
    Thanks for sharing these.....
    xo bj


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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