Are you looking for a funny, quirky book with interesting characters and unusual situations to read on these dreary grey days? These two titles were quick to read last week when I had a bad cold and could not watch another moment of television. Add several gallons of tea and call it a cure for the too-long winter blues. As a bonus, readers might learn a little bit about this, that and the other odd thing from these books.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (2012) An out-of-work young graphic designer in San Francisco stumbles into a job as a clerk at a very unusual bookstore. Very few books are for sale and the back stacks have books written in code that are checked out to a small select group of patrons. Old knowledge meets the electronic age in the city of Googlers. If our hero can't figure out the code, the bookstore will disappear forever. I liked the inside look at the inner workings of Google and its denizens.
The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (2012) On his 100th birthday, a nursing home resident makes a break for it, finding adventure on his travels and reflecting back on his long and surprisingly well-travelled life. Like Forrest Gump, Allan Karlsson turns up at the right moment and place in 20th century history often enough to alter the course of history. The easy-going bumpkin as historic catalyst, Karlsson influences the Cold War and more.