"It’s a tale of books and technology, cryptography and conspiracy, friendship and love. It begins in a mysterious San Francisco bookstore, but quickly reaches out into the wider world and the shadowed past." This is the description of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore from Robin Sloan's website (https://www.robinsloan.com/books/penumbra/) I haven't linked an author website before, but in this case, I think it's more than appropriate--it's essential. I don't think this book is going to hit any of my 12 x 12 requirements, but I literally just finished READING it an hour ago, and I had to blog about it immediately. Sloan's description above encapsulates the essentials of the novel, and yet, it is SO much more!
OK, let me start over. Mr. Penumbra's is definitely about a bookstore. The narrator is Clay Jannon, a 20-something art school graduate who finds himself unemployed and who wanders into a 24-hour bookstore looking for work. The proprietor, Mr. Penumbra, welcomes him with a question: "What do you seek in these shelves?" Thus begins an epic adventure which launches Clay into the reaches of the bookstore's Waybacklist and beyond, to secret underground libraries and vast hidden mega-museums. This book is the perfect intersection of fantasty and reality, Old Knowledge (OK) and technology.
Here is another new recommendation--this is a book you need to read AND listen to, because that is the whole key to this story. LOVED IT!