Hope floats

THE BOOKSHOP THAT FLOATED AWAY

BY SARAH HENSHAW

Five years ago Sarah Henshaw asked her bank manager for a £30,000 loan to open an extraordinary bookshop on a barge. The strange business plan the suits were presented with promptly sunk. But thanks to support from her nearest and dearest The Book Barge opened six months later and had soon grown a loyal customer base of happy readers.

However, the cash register didn’t keep ringing for long so she took to the waterways, cruising the length and breadth of the country in search of the great book-buying public. Some books were bought and others were bartered for Victoria Sponge, a bed for the night or a much-needed use of the facilities! This is the tale of the many characters and hurdles (well, locks) she encountered along the way. Continue reading

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Mysterious books, theft, cults and Google (the place)

MR PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE BY ROBIN SLOAN

book blogI picked up this novel at Blackwells in London. It was part of a wonderful display that could almost have been put together just for me – books about books.

And what a funny, page-flipping, enjoyable read this turned out to be.

Set in San Francisco, redundant web designer Clay Jannon finds himself night shift work in the curious Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It doesn’t take long for him to work out that the store is a front for some larger operation as it only has a handful of dedicated customers who never buy anything. They simply borrow huge, heavy obscure volumes all according to a bizarre arrangement with the likeable yet eccentric owner, Mr Penumbra.

Suspicions aroused, Clay plugs in his laptop and ropes his friends (including Google genius Kat) into embarking on a high-tech analysis of the store and the strange behaviour of its customers. Soon they find themselves mixed up in a global cult with ancient secrets, codes and conspiracies. And then Mr Penumbra mysteriously disappears. Continue reading