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The City of Dreaming Books (Zamonien #4)

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,680 Ratings  ·  833 Reviews
The author of 13 12 Lives of Captain Bluebear transports us to a magical world. Optimus Yarnspinner, finds himself marooned in the subterranean world of Bookholm, the City of Dreaming Books, where reading can be dangerous, where ruthless Bookhunters fight to the death. ...more
Hardcover, 461 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Harvill Secker (first published January 1st 2004)
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Dawnie i don't think that it matters in which order you read this book. I personally only read this one and loved it. They are all individual books with…morei don't think that it matters in which order you read this book. I personally only read this one and loved it. They are all individual books with completely separate stories. I think the only similarity that all the books of this series have in common is that they are fantasy. (less)
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Jan 24, 2015 Cecily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What it Is

Walter Moers (and his excellent translator, John Brownjohn) love language, and that love permeates ever page, many times. Consequently, the book is a comic hymn to the power, beauty and fun of words, along with a more cautious love of books (which can provoke, or even be, evil). The books of the title are dreaming of being read, because that's what brings them to life.

Story and Setting

Optimus Yarnspinner comes from a city of authors and travels to Bookholm, a city of bookshops, trying
Aug 27, 2007 Bazpazazz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
what an amazing novel! ridiculous, irreverant, hilarious, philisophical, snuggly, informative, and many other ives that are positive. i don't want to spoil it, as if anyone could, for folks, so i'll just say this; a three foot tall dinosaur travels to said city in possession of a manuscript, and in search of its author, and manages to re-write the history of Zamonian literature. and foil a nefarious scheme.
GO FORTH AND READ THIS WONDERFUL NOVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i dunno - this book isnt as cute/clever as it thinks it is. maybe if i were one of the adults-who-read-harry-potter, i would have a better understanding of it, but as it happens, i am not. i expected something more book-dorky, but it was just like reading a childrens adventure story. meh.
Dec 21, 2015 Rozalia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rozalia by: Valeria
I know this is going to sound really silly, but this is the best book I've ever read. It's a beautiful novel for people who love books and adventures, for daydreamers, idealists, optimists, people who haven't lost their hope, but also for pessimists and people with depression because I promise that this book will light up your world and thoughts for a while. You shouldn't underestimate the power of Walter Moers' words, he'll change your life. He has a beautiful, intelligent writing style and the ...more
Aug 18, 2010 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The City of Dreaming Books by German author Walter Moers is one of my all time favorite books. Since the original is written in German, and my German knowledge is minimal, I read the Dutch translation. I tried to look up all the names from the English translation, so everything should be clear, but translations in different languages can always be confusing.

The Story

The City of Dreaming Books tells the tale of Optimus Yarnspinner, an aspiring writer, who inherits his godfather’s possessions and
Sep 17, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book lovers and authors ready for an odd, imaginative adventure with a dinosaur narrator!
I reached the end of this tale with such mixed feelings. There were times when I felt that the book would never end and I was so very bored. There were other times when I drank up every word as if it were ambrosia, and I wanted the spirit of the book to shine through my every waking hour. Overall, the outstanding moments of imagination and muse far outweighed the plodding aspects of yet another odd-and-dangerous creature encounter or one more night (or was it day? one can never really tell) in t ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Liesa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein total originelles und auch witziges Buch, ich habe das Lesen sehr genossen!
Paige (Enchantology)
Mar 03, 2015 Paige (Enchantology) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
This is one of the most charming and delightful books I've ever read. Highly recommend to anyone who loves books, as they're really the heart of this story - both in terms of reading and writing them. I found myself smiling while reading most of this because it's just such a joy. This will definitely be one I need to reread as it's full of quotes I wish I'd taken the time to write down the first time but was too focused on continuing reading to do so.
Mar 25, 2008 Lora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the wittiest book I have read in a long time. A bibliophile's dream come true. It's full of wordplay and allusions to many classic works of literature, except that the references are slightly askew to fit into this novel's realm. I love that the famous authors in this story are often anagrams of well-known bards of the "real" world. The author is also kind enough to provide his own illustrations of his world. Literate dinosaurs, fearsome booklings, wicked literary agents and a Shadow Kin ...more
Jul 12, 2009 Katri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Fantastic. I'm in literary love. This was the first book by Walter Moers that I read but will definitely not be the last. I have rarely loved and adored a book as much as this one.

The ultimate book for any booklovers with a sense of humour and a love for good, exciting stories. "The City of Dreaming Books" tells the story of Hildegunst von Mythenmetz (called Optimus Yarnspinner in the English translation, but I read a Finnish translation which kept the original German name of the protagonist) wh
Христо Блажев
Градът на сънуващите книги, градът на дишащите книги: Книговището:
Когато се появи такава книга, аз лудвам, без майтап. Започвам да звъня и пиша на приятелите си, да поствам бясно цитати от нея, на срещи по каквато и да е тематика да я споменавам и да правя понякога виртуозни връзки между темата на разговора и нещо сред страниците й. Погледът ми се влудничава, отвътре ми е някакво странно, а следващите книги, които чета, заобикалят внимателно и на пръсти п
Review originally posted here.

I've been trying to write a review of this book since I finished it almost a month ago, but haven't been able to find the words. Instead of a review, you're going to get a series of thoughts. I can't guarantee I'll make sense, but I hope at the end at least one of you will feel encouraged to pick it up.

The City of Dreaming Books is the fourth book in Walter Moers' Zamonia series, but first in the Dreaming Books series. I know, it's a little confusing, but I figured
HLP, Smeller and Devourer of Print
Jan 24, 2016 HLP, Smeller and Devourer of Print rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book lovers, bibliophiles, those who loved Inkheart or Alice In Wonderland
The moment I opened this book (and yes I know I say this a lot) I knew that I would love this book from the first page.

You entrance me!

My dear readers, did you, like me, never want this book to end? I wanted it to be longer. I savoured it, took my time...but at the same time, I was reading pages whenever I had the chance. Literally in the bathroom, during dinner--I'd read into the night until my eyes got sore and even then, the book nagged at me from my bedside tables in my dreams. "Read me, read me!" it cried
Do you love reading? Do you love fantasy worlds? And do you love books? In that case, this book is for you. It's the story of a dinosaur who goes to a city where everything, and I mean everything, has to do with books. The newspaper Die Welt has called this a love declaration for literature, and in that, the critic was quite correct. I'm a bit hestitant to talk about the book or its fantasy world, because I don't want to spoil anything! But in short: the city of Buchhaim is a city full of books, ...more
Nov 29, 2015 Jojo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3.5 Sterne gibt's von mir für das Buch.
Es hat unglaublich Spaß genacht, das Buch im Zuge der Wanderbuch-Aktion zu lesen, gerade weil man immer noch kleine Eindrücke der anderen Leser mitbekommt und es dadurch teilweise noch lustiger war.
Allerdings muss ich auch sagen, dass ich wohl nie ein Walter Moers-Fan werde, so Leid es mir auch tut. Zu Beginn bin ich unglaublich begeistert von der Geschichte gewesen, was dann aber im Verlauf immer weiter abnahm. Mich nervt es einfach, dass immer wieder de
Kavita Ramesh
Jan 01, 2016 Kavita Ramesh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am shocked more people don't know of this author's amazing Zamonia series. He is a wonderful storyteller (as well as illustrator). If I could write a hundredth as well as he does, I would die happy.

What I liked MOST about this book (and there was a LOT to like!) was the underground world of books he has created (Oh My ultimate fantasy!! An UNDERGROUND WORLD filled with BOOKS...DROOL!).

I have lifted this description from the Fantastic Fiction site: "Optimus Yarnspinner, finds himself m
Bistra Ivanova
Превъзходна книга за книжки! Въобще не я намирам младежка, непременно ще се хареса на феновете на The Shadow of the Wind!

Прекрасният, мил, добър, умен и чувствителен дракон Змей Митоблудни изпълнява завещанието на своя поетичен кръстник и отива в Книговището в търсене на един гениален автор. Следват приключения, екшън, смях, страх, злодеи, смелост, доблест, случайности, мистерии...

Прекрасно написан, завладяващ роман! 500 страници за 2 дни. Хайде, книжки!
Ignacio Senao f
Mar 18, 2015 Ignacio Senao f rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imposible no imaginar ser adaptado por Jim Henson, pues su parecido con el film “Dentro del Laberinto” es claro.

Si leemos literatura de género, es para encontrar un lugar que sea maravilloso, diferente, donde nunca podamos estar, tan solo en sueños, películas o con libros. A veces lo encontramos y otras no. Aquí lo he encontrado, y ha sido precioso.

Un mundo totalmente diferente, en el que todo está relacionado con los libros, personajes pintorescos, diálogos chispeantes, situaciones estrambótica
There is something about the books you own. There is a sense to them. You can tell what they are simply by touch. Possession feels physically different than The Forgotten Garden. They even smell different.

If you know, extactly what I am talking about, then this book is for you.

Moers tells the story of Yarnspinner and his search for the writer of the most perfect thing he has ever read. This quest takes him to Bookholm and then to places far more dangerous. Along the way, Moers examines the place
Aug 04, 2010 PJC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I… don’t know how to describe it. The cover compared the author to J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Shel Silverstein, Monty Python and Terry Pratchett so how could I resist? But it started out strangely, so strangely that I wondered if this was an adult or young adult book, and then I thought it was a children's book and then changed my mind again, because it teetered back and forth.

Then there were the illustrations. They were black and white and looked like a cross between Sandra Boynton and Edward
Laurie Bridges
Oct 14, 2007 Laurie Bridges rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mabye sci-fi fanatics who are library lovers
The first half of this book needs some serious editing...a lot of "noise" (lots names and events that are irrelevant to the story - I think the author was trying to be toooo witty). The main character is a dinosaur-like creature who has lived his life in a castle learning about books. His godfather dies and he sets out on a trek to the city of Bookholm to find the author of a short but amazing manuscript his godfather has left him. The rest goes on from there.

I wouldn't read it again...but the l
Dec 10, 2015 Kiyokokatze rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So viel Liebe für das Buch! ...more
Jun 20, 2015 Fragmentage rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: llbc-2015
"Die Stadt der träumenden Bücher" ist ein Wälzer, um den ich schon länger herumgeschlichen bin. Mein Schwager hat ihn in seinem Bücherregal und der Titel, die Aufmachung und die liebevollen Illustrationen sprechen mich jedes Mal wieder an, wenn wir dort zu Besuch sind. (Also etwa einmal im Jahr).

Als mir das Buch vor ein paar Monaten für eine Challenge vorgeschlagen wurde, nahm ich das zum Anlass, es endlich fest auf meine Leseliste zu setzen, denn bisher kannte ich von Moers nur die anstrengend
Наталия Янева
Във тъмни, хладни, празни стаи,
където се кръстосват сенки бледи,
където древни книги сън сънуват
за отминалите времена, когато са били дървета,
и въглищата раждали са диаманти,
и никой не познавал светлина и милост –
е мястото, където онзи дух царува,
наречен Сенчестия крал.

Приближи се още малко, читателю. Точно така... Ела на опасно приключение в свят, в който властват книгите. И странните същества. И една твърде дълго пазена тайна.

Запознайте се със Змей Митоблудни – нашият гид в необятния свят на bo
It’s alive I tell you, alive! Everything in this book is alive, and even the book itself might be as well, possessed by the Orm and all the astral dust in between Earth and Bookholm. Moers conjures up a vast catalog of species and settings in this metafiction-fantasy, that is mostly set in the catacombs below a city of readers and writers. Some parts in this book are unforgettable- like the trombomusic, the trash dump, the crystal caves, and the mine-shaft “rollercoaster”, which might be the mos ...more
T.D. Whittle
Sep 28, 2014 T.D. Whittle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I don't know what made me read this book, as it really is not my sort of thing. Nevertheless, I stuck with it all the way, and it was fun and clever ... to a point. I found one of its more enjoyable aspects was deciphering the scrambled names of the famous authors whose noms du plume are assumed by creatures in the story. The characters are, for the most part, funny and engaging. As for the setting and story, well, what bibliophile can resist the fantasy of a town obsessed by books, in which liv ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Jul 05, 2010 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Fantasy, fans of books!
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by: Maria Elmvang
Shelves: fantasy, 2010

A few years ago I bought a copy of Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures, and even though I still haven't read it it brought Moers into my field of vision, with various online friends gushing about his books. I was thrilled to find a copy of The 13 Lives of Captain Bluebear in one of my second-hand bookshops, but it was this one, The City of Dreaming Books, that I ended up reading first. I started reading it in December ... seven months later, I finally finished it. Why it took me so long to read i
Moers's thesis--books are awesome--is certainly one I agree with, but he lets that message usurp the plot to the point that it takes close to 150 pages before anything really happens. There's plenty of whimsy and literary allusions (some genuinely funny and clever, as with most of Moers's comments regarding critics, and others less so) and a plethora of sentient species from dinosaurs to gnomes to giant grubs. All of which I would adore, if it were only shown-not-told, and if it propelled the pl ...more
Alexander Heinzel
Oct 24, 2012 Alexander Heinzel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Stellt euch vor die ganze Welt dreht sich um Bücher! Jedes einzelne Detail, jeder Beruf, jedes Gesprächsthema, die Schulausbildung, ja sogar das Essen, einfach ALLES dreht sich nur um Bücher! Walter Moers hat mit diesem Zarmonischen Meisterwerk eine Welt geschaffen in die jeder Buchliebhaber mit Freuden eintaucht und sich mit der letzten Seite brutal hinausgeworfen fühlt!
Ob Ungeheuer, Schauergeschichte, fürchterliche Kreaturen, Intrigen, riesige Katastrophen, mystische Wesen, dunkle unaufgeklär
Dec 21, 2007 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only people who deserve it.
This is the best of the three Moers books I've read. Moers never seems to run out of wildly imaginative ideas and bizarre, endearing characters. Unlike Rumo or Captain Bluebear, the hero of The City of Dreaming Books has a quest from day one, and we follow him on the adventures he encounters trying to complete his mission. This book is definitely written for book lovers! It's filled with marvelous, sneaky references (all the Booklings are named after Zamonian authors, like Aleisha Wimpersleake.. ...more
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Around the Year i...: The City of Dreaming Books, by Walter Moers 7 16 Jan 11, 2016 03:15PM  
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Walter Moers was born in 1957 and is a writer, cartoonist, painter and sculptor. He has refused to be photographed ever since his comic strips The Little Asshole and Adolf were published, the latter leading him to be declared persona non grata by the political right in Germany. Walter Moers lives in Hamburg.
More about Walter Moers...

Other Books in the Series

Zamonien (9 books)
  • The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1)
  • Ensel und Krete. Ein Märchen aus Zamonien (Zamonien, #2)
  • Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures (Zamonia, #3)
  • Der Schrecksenmeister (Zamonien, #5)
  • Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher (Zamonien, #6)
  • Die Insel der Tausend Leuchttürme (Zamonien, #7)
  • Das Schloss der Träumenden Bücher (Zamonien, #8)
  • Zamonien. Entdeckungsreise durch einen phantastischen Kontinent. Von A wie Anagrom Ataf bis Z wie Zamomin

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“Reading is an intelligent way of not having to think.” 195 likes
“Stealing from one author is plagiarism; from many authors, research.” 129 likes
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