Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Sometimes books seem to drag. The story gets stale. The characters aren't as engaging as they could be. You set it aside and check Facebook.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is the polar opposite of that. It's a book that reminds me why I love reading. I zipped through it after successive friends told me it needed to jump to the top of my list. It's an offbeat, puzzle-packed, thinker-thriller that is an absolute delight.

It taps into the emotional kernel that makes the San Francisco Bay Area the Center of the Universe right now. The author, Robin Sloan, used to work at Twitter and lives in SF. He gives readers an intimate window into the heart of the special moment here at this place and time.

The characters feel like actual people. The story is weird enough to be interesting and believable. Don't be surprised if the caramelized cinnamon taste of magic lingers after you finish the book. It's a fable of our times.