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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan, Therese Plummer

Having read Sloan's first novel, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, I knew to expect something quirky, but this one is more bizarre than I thought. It's only around 6 hours on audio but felt longer. I liked the parts about Lois learning to make sourdough bread and how it invigorates her. It's when she joins a strange underground market that the story goes a little off for me. The novel's summary describes a fusion between food and technology, similar to the way Mr. Penumbra combines books and IT, but I didn't expect the way it morphs into a bit of science fiction — or maybe even fantasy? I'm not sure. It's still quite charming though, and some funny parts did make me chuckle.


What helps this book is having Thérèse Plummer as the narrator. Her engaging delivery makes Lois' excitement over bread-making infectious. However, she has a distinct way of pronouncing certain words which makes me wonder if it's a kind of regional US accent — which I'm not very familiar with since I'm not from the US. A lot of her [i] vowels sound more like [e] or [ei]. For instance, she pronounces 'me' closer to 'may', kind of like that Justin Timberlake 'it's gonna be May' meme. I'm just a linguistic nerd who notices these types of things.