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Sourdough by Robin Sloan

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January 2018 Book of the Month

A gorgeous magical, quirky dream of a story. Lois exhausts herself everyday as a software engineer, she orders her food from two local cooks, when they leave the country, they also leave Lois with their sourdough culture, to feed, to look after, to keep alive. As her life alters, Lois learns more about, and creates a connection to the sourdough culture. Robin Sloan establishes with beautiful simplicity, a story that weaved a spellbinding path through my mind. I sank into and became one with the story, tasted, smelled, touched, felt. Sourdough with almost hypnotic, yet gentle intensity, takes on a life of its own to become a charming, irresistible read and I loved it. ~ Liz Robinson

If you like Robin Sloan you might also like to read books by Robert Glancy and Charlie Lovett.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Catherine Bryce  - 'A superb book that is a little quirky but well worth reading and putting on your Reading List this year!'    
  • Sarah Harper - 'Quirky, original and endearing, Sourdough was an absolute joy to read. You’ll never look at your bread dough in the same way again!'
  • Heather Byrne - 'A quirky well written novel that leads you on a weird and wonderful Sourdough journey. Thoroughly recommend to bakers and non-bakers alike!'    
  • Sarah Webb - 'Quirky and amusing – a mix of food and technology.'    
  • Charlotte Walker - 'A nice, interesting journey of discovery that combines the magical process of bread making with Lois' advanced world of technology and coding resulting in an enjoyable and light-hearted read.'    
  • Ian Watkin - 'Sourdough is one of the oddest yet catchiest books I have read for many years. Guaranteed to make you feel happy and reflective. A tale of love lost and friendship built all around…Dough! Read it now!'    
  • Sabine Little - 'The book did more than happily engage me, it made me bake some sourdough bread, and I predict I won't be the only one!'    
  • Glenda Worth - 'A different read in my opinion, sometimes fantasy, sometimes down to earth but combining robotics and bread making makes it an interesting read and I could almost smell that bread cooking!'    
  • Tina Tse - 'An enjoyable book with some magical moments.'    
  • Jayne Burton - 'Made me laugh, and made my smile...Great characters and all in all a tremendously enjoyable read.'
  • Cathy Burman - 'This book is fresh, fun, quirky, bizarre, pure fantasy, and very different to my usual reads...Sit back and enjoy - but don't forget the sourdough and butter!'    
  • Angie Rhodes - 'For me this was a wonderful read, it tells the reader that there is always something new for us, not to give up hope or life.  It was fun, tender, refreshing and left me wanting to taste sourdough.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Loved Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by the same author.  I find myself only liking this second as the surprise element which made the first so memorable was lost.'   


Sourdough by 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 neighbourhood 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?


Delightful... Smart, hip and witty Washington Post

Filled with crisp humo[u]r and weird but endearing characters...At once a parody of startup culture and a foodie romp...[A] delight, perfect for those who like a little magic with their meals. Booklist (starred review)

Sloan's comic but smart tone never flags, and Lois is an easy hero to root for. Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Robin Sloan grew up near Detroit and has worked at Poynter, Current TV and Twitter in jobs that have generally had 'something to do with figuring out the future of media'. He has previously published short fiction in Kindle-only editions (Mr Penumbra started out as a 6000-word ebook). He lives in San Francisco.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th January 2018


Robin Sloan

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Atlantic Books


272 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
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Relationship Stories
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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