logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Robin-Sloan
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-10-12 23:47
Sourdough
Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan

I don't know what happened. I enjoyed the first 100 pages I read, but I now have zero interest in reading any more. I might give it another try at another time. The story just didn't grab me the way Mr Penumbra's did.

 

I did like the little nod to Mr. Penumbra's, but it made me question the timeline in the novel (I'm pretty sure from Lois's age and the DS mention it has to occur in 2017... but I could be wrong).

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-04 23:46
Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan

This was a really good read. Yes, it was somewhat cheesy, but cheese goes good with bread. Ha!

A story of a woman, Lois, whose life makes a big change when she moves from Michigan to San Francisco to work at a tech company coding programs for robots. The new company sounds like a Google workplace with free food and beds which keep the employees there way after hours.

Lois has no friends other than those few at work and spends most of her time at the company. She finds a menu for a new restaurant, a whole in the wall, and starts ordering from them. It ends up that she orders from them so much that the brother who own it call her "Number one Eater".

Then the brothers Visa expires and they give Lois a going away present. Their starter for the Sourdough bread that they made.

This makes a big change in Lois' life and all for the better. A little sappy towards the end - yes, this is the cheesy part - but a very enjoyable read.

And yes, I looked it up, there is a "Lois Club". I didn't find any Debbie clubs, however. Ha!

Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-30 03:04
A book as tasty as the name suggests
Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan

Two years ago, I read Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, loved it, and spent 5 months trying to figure out how to talk about it. Last year, I listened to the audiobook, loved it, and spent 6 months trying to figure out how to write about it. I failed both times -- and I'm not sure that I figured out how to talk about this book, but at least I got something posted. Short version: if you see a book by Robin Sloan somewhere, read it.
---

There's a version of this where all I do is talk about how this is similar to/different from Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore -- but I don't want to do that. Let me just say up front that if you liked Mr. Penumbra's, you'll dig this. If you didn't like it, you will dig this -- and you probably were having a bad day or weren't paying attention when you read Mr. Penumbra's (or you were created by the Tyrell Corporation). So let me sum up: you will dig this book.

 

This is the story of Lois Clary, a computer programmer working on ways to help robots redefine the concept of work for the future. It sounds like a dreadful place to work -- intellectually rewarding, maybe; challenging, yes; but between the hours, the pay and the culture? No thanks. The work is demanding enough that they don't have time to eat/prepare food, many using Slurry, "a liquid meal replacement," for several meals each week.

Slurry was a nutritive gel manufactured by an eponymous company even newer than [the company Lois works for]. Dispensed in waxy green Tetra Packs, it had the consistency of a thick milkshake. It was nutritionally complete and rich with probiotics. It was fully dystopian.


Into her overworked and nutritive gel-sustained existence comes a menu for a small cafe that delivers. Their specialty is a spicy soup and a spicy sandwich. The sandwich is made on sourdough bread, and you get an extra slab with the spicy soup. This sourdough is a special thing (you may have guessed that based on the title). This becomes her new favorite food, and what she eats when she's not consuming the gel.

 

She develops a semi-relationship with the brothers behind the soup/sandwich, and when they have to leave the country, they give her a part of their sourdoughs starter and a lesson on bread preparation (Lois doesn't cook, and doesn't come from a family that did). The starter has specific instructions that reminded me of what's given when someone buys a mogwai -- and just as important. Before she knows it, Lois is baking for herself, to give to others, and even to sell. She's building a brick oven and really branching out socially (and keeping up with her work, too) -- in this, Lois starts to enjoy life and work. I'm pretty sure this is the first time since school (if not ever) that this is true for her.

 

As she gets more involved with bread making, Lois makes friends, she travels a bit, meets new people -- discovering three strange little subcultures along the. She also carries out an email correspondence with one of the brothers as he pursues his dream. That's all I'm going to say about the plot -- there is more to it than I said, but not much.

There's something like magical realism at work throughout this, but I wouldn't call it that. Mostly because, it's weird science, not magic. But it's probably not real science, just science the way we'd like it to work. Not so much so that this is Fantasy or Science Fiction, just... I don't know what to call it. Whimsical science?

 

It's the way that Sloan tells the story that makes it worth it -- there's a spark to his writing that makes you want to read it. Lois' world is our world, only better (and maybe a little worse), filled with interesting people doing interesting things. There's a humanity in the narration, in the action that I can't get enough of (ditto for his other work). There's a humor throughout, but it's not a funny book. But man, it'll make you happy just to read it. I loved being in this world -- it almost didn't matter what happened to Lois and her starter (not that I didn't enjoy it), just reading Robin Sloan's prose is good enough for me. I've got a list of 10 quotations I wanted to use here that I couldn't come up with a way to force into this post, and I think I could've easily let the size of that list double.

 

A book that will make you think, that may inspire, that will make you smile -- that will make you want carbs (no joke -- it required Herculean effort on my part each time I read a chapter or two not to call my son to tell him to bring home a fresh loaf from the bakery he works at), Sourdough is a gem.

2017 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/09/29/sourdough-by-robin-sloan
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-25 18:12
Sourdough / Robin Sloan
Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan

Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her—feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.

Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up.

When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?

 

I picked up this novel because I absolutely loved the author’s last offering, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. I won’t say that this book is completely different, because there are a few similarities, but don’t be expecting a clone of Penumbra if you choose to read it.

Lois Clary is a charming main character—a software engineer at a demanding company in San Francisco, she comes to realize that she needs more in her life than code and liquid meals. The beginning of this realization (the starter, if you will) is a bond with two brothers in her neighbourhood who run a food service out of their apartment—sour dough bread and spicy soup. When they run into visa problems, they move on, leaving their sourdough culture with Lois, their Number One Eater.

Anyone who has baked bread realizes that it takes skill. Lois leaps in with dedication and is soon getting more satisfaction from her bread baking than from her coding. Bread is indeed her ticket to real life and Sourdough follows her as she “rises” to meet new challenges. It made me wish that I could still eat gluten without consequences—instead I was driven to the kitchen to make gluten-free toast!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-16 19:15
Book 8/100: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan

Even though I am a book lover, novels that are supposed to pay homage to books never quite do it for me. There is just something to "fangirl/fanboy" about it all -- and in this book it was especially bad because the author also spent the majority of the book gushing over Google and tech culture. I was like, is this a novel, or a Google infomercial? Right down to the main character's quirky love interest working for the company.

There were times when the pace picked up and I was very curious and intrigued to see how everything would fit together -- but this sense of suspense and mystery was strongest at the beginning of the book, and it got less and less compelling as the book went on -- which I'm pretty sure is the opposite of how it's supposed to work. And the overall conspiracy/message/etc. just ended up feeling so convoluted that by the end I had trouble caring enough to hold it all together. It wasn't a horrible book, but it just felt a bit too much like Silicon Valley (the place, not the show) fan-fiction to me.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?