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The City of Dreaming Books Paperback – September 2, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook TP; Reprint edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590201116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590201114
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

German author and cartoonist Moers returns to the mythical lost continent of Zamonia in his uproarious third fantasy adventure to be translated into English (after 2006's Rumo), a delightfully imaginative mélange of Shel Silverstein zaniness and oddball anthropomorphism à la Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Optimus Yarnspinner, a young saurian novelist, embarks on a quest to track down the anonymous author of the most magnificent piece of writing in the whole of Zamonian literature. Traveling to Bookholm, the legendary City of Dreaming Books, the naïve Yarnspinner falls victim to Pfistomel Smyke, a maggotlike literary scholar who poisons Yarnspinner and abandons him in the treacherous catacombs miles below the city's surface. Stranded in an underworld steeped in terror-inducing myth and home to more than a few bizarre inhabitants, Yarnspinner undertakes a long and perilous journey back to the world above. Enchanting illustrations by the author compliment a wonderfully whimsical story that will appeal to readers of all ages. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Moers' creative mind is like J. K. Rowling's on Ecstasy" Detroit Evening News "Marvellously fantastical" Sunday Express "A yarn of drollery, deeper meaning and sheer lunacy" Rolling Stone --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Popular Discussion Topics

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  • "Writing" 26
  • "Funny" 8
  • "Characters" 5
  • "Influential" 4
  • "Illustrations" 4
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Palosaari VINE VOICE on March 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
After reading the first few pages, I fully intended to give this book a poor rating. The audacity, to write a book about excellent writing, without Moers writing also being of highest caliber. How presumptuous, how arrogant. The writing was merely poorly crafted children's fare, perhaps excusable only because the book is translated. It had an interesting, wonderful idea, of pursuing a world based on reading and books, but it would have been far more interesting and relatable if it had been about humans, rather than this silly dinosaur.

I repent. Most completely. I was wrong in every way. This is one of the finest fantasy novels I've ever read. Moers actually takes a talking dinosaur and makes him interesting and a complete character, to say nothing of the other species and humans in this world. Moers doesn't rely on creatures others have constructed, but in every step forms his own creations.

The character development in this novel is astounding, and so much deeper than what you find in most modern novels. This is a novel for adults with depth (and definitely not for children). It is not only extraordinarily well written throughout, but I now see those first few pages were exactly the right build-up, and the old-fashioned style (Dear Reader) fit exactly the theme and points Moers wanted to convey.

I was supposed to do a lot of other tasks, and read other books. I couldn't stop reading this one. To say the unexpected happened is to say far too little, for Moers grabbed me by the collar and pulled me along his story so that I was continuously out of breath and at wit's end trying to guess what would happen next. Every word in this is honed.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M. Keller on July 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have read Moers fantastic story about the city of dreaming books in German and I loved it.

It is a wonderful, fantastic tale about a young writer that goes to the city of dreaming books and his adventures. Whoever loves books will find parallels to many experiences had while reading, masterfully integrated into the narration. Moreover it is very diverting and thrilling but nonetheless full of wit and subtle hints to the whole cosmos of Literature.

In my opinion: a masterpiece that every book lover should have read.

I got it as a Xmas present for my Dad who loathes fantasy and any kind of story not situated on this earth and even he loved it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Harley on September 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I've read by Mr. Moers and promptly after starting it I purchased the others. I am almost finished with it and have loved every page. I am a passionate book lover so this holds extra appeal for me. But it is also a great fantasy creation which is my favorite genre. His prose is brilliant and has quite an old-world charm to it. And his artwork is stunning. In short, this is one of my top ten for 2007 thus far. Be prepared, it is very unusual, even for fantasy lovers. But an extremely rare example of one man's awesome imagination and quite beyond mainstream fantasy. Oopie, it's dark down here but you will quite enjoy the descent...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jay Young on November 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Walter Moers, though famous in Germany, is just beginning to gain a following in the U.S. The recent publication of his books "The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear," "A Wild Ride Through the Night" and "Rumo" have introduced the English-speaking world to his imagination. His latest book, "The City of Dreaming Books," again shows us the whimsical world of Zamonia.

The story begins in Lindworm Castle (which was featured in Rumo), where Optimus Yarnspinner sits at the deathbed of his authorial godfather, Dancelot Wordwright. Wordwright gives him a manuscript, which he claims to be the greatest piece of writing ever. (It's about writer's block) Wordwright's dying wish for Yarnspinner is for him to become a writer. After reading the manuscript, however, he is so overtaken with ecstacy that he feels he has to go to the City of Dreaming Books to find the author of the manuscript. To make a long story short, Yarnspinner meets the shark grub Pfistomel Smyke (possibly a relation to Volzotan Smyke from "Bluebear" and "Rumo"), who claims to know the author and be able to track him down. Unfortunately, Smyke is not as benevolent as he seems; he poisons Yarnspinner with a book (yes, a book), and treacherously maroons him in the city's labyrinthine catacombs. Yarnspinner's only hope of getting out is to find the elusive Copohnius Regenshein, the famous bookhunter. Along the way, he must watch out for bookhunters, harpies, the fearsome booklings, and the legendary Shadow King.

In Moers' Zamonian world, anything can happen. For example, there are the animatomes (living books), hazardous books (with poison or booby traps in them), and bookhunters (unscrupulous bounty hunters who go searching for the most rare books, and will do anything to get them).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LemurKat on October 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There is no author quite as quirky and off-beat as German author, Walter Moers. With his demented imagination, weird plot twists and wild, crazy characters in even wilder, weirder situations, one cannot help but wonder what sort of strange substance he is sampling. "City..." continues on in the wonderfully weird world of Zamonia. A world quite unlike any you have ever ventured into before. With his twisted philosiphies, demented creatures and appealing characters, his stories will surprise and delight.

The protagonist in this novel is a young (a mere 70 years old) saurian called Optimus Yarnspinner. Upon his beloved Authorial Godfather's deathbed, he inherits an unpublished manuscript. A manuscript so profound, so engrossing that once one has read it, a writer will never wish to write again. So off goes our young hero, into the wild world to hunt for this anonymous author. To the City of Dreaming Books he makes his way - a bibliophile's utopia, and there he is tricked and trapped into the terrible and twisted catacomb of libraries. Here, in this maze of passages and tunnels, creatures more terrifying than your worst nightmare lurk. Here reading a book is genuinely dangerous, and ruthless bookhunters fight to the death for literary gems. Here, in the realm of the terribly mysterious Shadow King our intrepid writer finds himself.

A real stand out novel, this would have to make it into my top #5 for 2007. It is a must-read for all you fantasy geeks with a love of libraries. And it would make an excellent role-playing adventure too! (Don't tempt me...)
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