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  •  2014 One City, One Story title 

    2014 Selection

    Robin SloanPasadena’s 12th One City, One Story community reading celebration book selection is the novel Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by author Robin Sloan.

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything – instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: and establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.

    One City, One Story activities and events will be held in March 2014. A community dialogue with the author is scheduled for Thursday, March 27. 

    Check out our 2014 One City, One Story programming details.  

    About the Author

    Sloan grew up near Detroit and went to school at Michigan State, where he studied economics and co-founded a literary magazine called Oats. Between 2002 and 2012, Sloan worked at Poynter, Current TV and Twitter, and at all those places, his job had something to do with figuring out the future of media.

    2014 Finalists

    2014 Selection Committee

    • Brian Biery – Director of Community Organizing, Flintridge Center
    • Sharon Calkin – Pasadena Public Library Commissioner
    • Rosemary Choate – President, Friends of the Caltech Libraries
    • Brenda Galloway – Community Volunteer
    • Sandy Greenstein – Volunteer, The Friends of the Pasadena Public Library
    • Sally Kousser – Retired Reference Librarian, Community Volunteer
    • Christopher McCabe - Associate Professor, English Department, PCC
    • Fred Messick – Associate Vice President for Public Affairs, Fuller Theological Seminary
    • Christine Reeder – Adult Services Li brarian, Pasadena Public Library
    • Maggie Reyes-Rothner – English Teacher, Blair High School
    • Jan Sanders – Director of Libraries and Information Services, City of Pasadena
    • Susan Schmid – Senior Account Manager, Sales & Marketing, Kaiser Permanente
    • Jolly Urner – Founding Committee Member, Pasadena One City, One Story
    • Larry Wilson – Public Editor, Pasadena Star-News
    • Aquita Winslow-Tyler – Library Director, Polytechnic School 
  • One City, One Story Archive

    Pasadena Public Library has hosted the One City, One Story program since 2002. Here are the most recent programs.

  • Contact Us / Nominate a Book

  • About One City, One Story

    Library homepage logoThe idea of getting a community together to discuss a single book actually arose in Seattle and quickly spread across the US, coming to Pasadena in 2002. Since beginning, the Pasadena Public Library has hosted ten titles and with each presentation the list of collaborating organizations, firms, volunteers, and businesses grows.

    The purpose of the series of discussions is just that: to discuss. We hope to begin a healthy, enlightening, interesting conversation among the people of Pasadena. The idea is not to agree, but to share thoughts and opinions. In sharing, we all learn.

    Usually in late summer, about 15 community readers begin coming together to suggest titles for the next spring’s selection.

    Criteria for selection include: 

    • The author should be living and able to come to Pasadena for a presentation
    • If possible, the book or author should have some tie to Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley, or southern California
    • The work should appeal to many members of society: women, men, teens, readers, non-readers, and so forth. The broader the appeal, the richer the discussion.
    • The book should inspire a conversation; it should start people thinking and encourage the sharing of ideas.
    • The book should have enough substance that it lends itself to a variety of programming possibilities.
    • The book should be available in paperback and several other formats such as an ebook, in Spanish, as a CD (audiobook), and in large type. 
    • The goal is to have the selection made public in November, giving ample time for Pasadena residents to give the title as a holiday gift.

    In March or April, the programs begin, with all sorts of cooperative sessions being offered. There are often book discussions throughout the community, in churches, stores, and libraries. Colleges and schools sponsor related events like panel discussions, art shows, concerts, or lectures. Everyone gets involved. In support, the Pasadena Public Library buys 200-300 copies of the book; usually the schools get another hundred or so, and Pasadena City College has many copies available for their students as well.

    The Pasadena Public Library is very pleased to continue to present this strong community effort. We believe it creates a colorful and varied conversation, whether folks are talking about the book at the grocery store, at a soccer practice, before a church service, or over the back fence. And that’s what it’s all about: One City, One Story, many ideas.