January 2014

I almost started this blog with a formal introduction post but the words wouldn’t come to me. Here’s a dust jacket introduction: My name is Karen; kmn04 was a random high school nickname that I adopted in science class (I really have been a nerd from the start); I love tea and, of course, reading and writing! Here I will talk about the books I’ve bought and read each month, supplemented by longer, more detailed book reviews. Since it’s already the middle of February, here’s my monthly summary for January. Expect these types of posts at the end/beginning of each month, and the detailed book reviews throughout the month. Feel free to share your opinions and suggest new books for me to read! I’m always open to suggestions 🙂

January 2014
Books bought:
*Snow (graphic novel) by Benjamin Rivers
*Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
*Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Books read:
*Snow (graphic novel) by Benjamin Rivers
*Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

It’s kind of a weird coincidence that both of the books I read in January featured protagonists that worked in a bookstore. Or maybe it isn’t such a big coincidence after all; I have always loved books and have always wanted to work in the book industry, so why wouldn’t I be interested in reading about people who work with books? These stories just jumped out at me and begged me to read them. So I did. And I did not regret it.

Snow was really short and sweet. I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I picked it up, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much thinking it made me do afterwards. To tell you the truth, before this I had taken a small hiatus from reading. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened. Snow was a great read and left me swirling with questions: Why did the author go this way instead of that? Did I enjoy the character development and plot? Was that a typo I read on the last page, or did I miss something? These questions reminded me of how much I love reading and analyzing books and also spoke to the story’s depth.

The second book I read in January, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, was a stand-out book. It centers around Clay Jannon, a 20-something web designer who ends up working at a mysterious 24-hour bookstore after being laid off from his former job. While working the night shift there, he notices that the bookstore functions more like a library than a store, with very strange customers. What ensues is a great adventure that leads him and his friends to New York, where they discover the secrets of the store and his boss, Mr. Penumbra.

As with Snow, this book helped rekindle my love for reading. It was full of intrigue and a fast-paced plot while leaving me wondering about the new relationship between traditional media and new media. Is there still room for bound books? Or will they become obsolete with the threat of new technology? It’s a difficult question to answer and I wonder whether different generations would answer differently. Have you read this book yet? If so, what did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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