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All Henrico Reads: Sourdough by Robin Sloan


As our day-to-day lives become increasingly driven by technology, our reverence for the hand-made and the artisanal seems to grow deeper. The tension between technology and craft and the universal passion for food is explored in this year’s All Henrico Reads selection, Sourdough by Robin Sloan. Join us on Thursday, April 2, 7pm at Glen Allen High School for the twelfth annual All Henrico Reads event with Robin Sloan.

Sourdough is the 2017 novel from Robin Sloan, the internationally-bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore. Like Penumbra, Sourdough and its protagonist are set in a San Francisco Bay Area sprinkled with a touch of the fantastic. Lois, a programmer at a robotic arm company, finds herself bequeathed a sourdough starter by neighborhood bakers – a gift that leads her on a culinary adventure with vocational, legal, and moral consequences. Sourdough is a “beautiful, small, sweet, quiet book” (NPR), and was named one of the Best Books of 2017 by Southern Living, NPR, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Lois’ adventures in the underground market,” an alternate title for Sourdough, raises important questions about the nature of technology and the nature of human culture and creation. As the novel progresses, the reader wonders: what do technological conveniences or artisanal crafted goods give to us, and what do they take? As Andy Newman wrote in The Atlantic, “Sloan uses food as the centerpiece of a tricky but intoxicating exchange about authenticity and ownership, and about taking and sharing: What, exactly, is culture? And how should society best appreciate it?” Sourdough is a thought-provoking, yet light-on-its-feet blend of Bildungsroman, satire, science fiction, and fantasy, with a healthy portion of wit peppered throughout its gripping pages.

Pick up a copy of Sourdough at your library or find it on OverDrive. We will be discussing the book throughout February and March at all of our locations. Visit our All Henrico Reads page to see when your library is meeting.

All Henrico Reads is an annual, free event in which the community is encouraged to read a selected book, then discuss it together. Sponsored by the Friends of Henrico County Public Library, Henrico County Public Library, and Henrico County Public Schools, this year’s event will mark twelve years of All Henrico Reads author events. All are invited, tickets are not required, and doors will open at 6:15pm.

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