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The City of Dreaming Books (Zamonien #4)

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4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  7,482 ratings  ·  693 reviews
The author of 13 1⁄2 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.

Optimus Yarnspinner, a young writer, inherits from his beloved godfather an unpublished short story by an...more
Hardcover, 461 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Vintage Books (first published September 9th 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Bazpazazz
Aug 27, 2007 Bazpazazz rated it 5 of 5 stars
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...more
karen
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.
Jan
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...more
Kathryn
Sep 17, 2009 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Rozalia
Jan 20, 2014 Rozalia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rozalia by: Valeria
Shelves: amazing, german-prose
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
Lora
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
Cecily
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.

Optimus Yarnspinner comes from a city of authors and travels to Bookholm, a city of bookshops, trying to trace the author of the...more
Христо Блажев
Градът на сънуващите книги, градът на дишащите книги: Книговището: http://knigolandia.info/book-review/g...
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...more
Ms. Beak In A Book
Aug 12, 2014 Ms. Beak In A Book rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bibliophiles and anyone! READ IT!
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 savored 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...more
Katri
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...more
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!
sj
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...more
Sandra
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
PJC
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...more
T.D. Whittle
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
Izumen
Градът на сънуващите книги: http://izumen.blogspot.com/2014/02/bl...

Книгата е абсолютен рай за всеки обсебен читател, а Книговището ще плени всяка ваша фантазия. Светът на Мьорс е като алегория за нашия литературен такъв. Откриваме писатели, издатели, почитатели, агенти, крадци, измамници, книжари, библиотекари, които играят своите роли, но пременени в шантав образ - червеи, акули дракони, прасета, паяци... Чувството на хумор е на всяка страница, силно изразено чрез иронията на автора, а илюстра...more
Laurie Bridges
Oct 14, 2007 Laurie Bridges rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Chris
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...more
Chris
It’s alive I tell you, alive! Everything in this book is alive, and even the book itself might be alive, possessed by the Orm and all the astral dust in between Earth and Bookholm. Moers conjures up a vast catalog of species and locations 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 most...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Jul 05, 2010 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Fantasy, fans of books!
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by: Maria M. 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 13½ 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...more
Jain
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
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...more
Lisa
Dec 21, 2007 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Andrew
An entry in a genre which I'm not sure exists in English: talking-animal fairy tale adventure for adults. (The author is German.) Let me triangulate.

Optimus Yarnspinner is an aspiring author-lizard from Lindworm Castle, a city of highly literate dinosaurs. His dying uncle leaves him a manuscript -- not his uncle's manuscript (the uncle wrote only one tedious book about cauliflower) -- no, this is the work of some mysterious unknown. It is the perfect ten-page short story. Who reads it laughs, cr...more
Oscar
Hace años leí un libro fascinante, ‘Las 13 vidas y media del Capitán Osozul’, del alemán Walter Moers, que aunque pueda parecer un libro infantil, puede ser leído por lectores de todas las edades. Grandes aventuras y descubrimientos asombrosos, la imaginación de Walter Moers parecía que no se acababa nunca, y nos iba mostrando maravilla tras maravilla, todo ello acompañado de unas ilustraciones maravillosas, dibujadas por él mismo. Quedé tan satisfecho, que en cuanto estuvo disponible, me hice c...more
Maia Purple
Забавна и вдъхновяваща писателска книга – много, страшно много! Ако не трябваше да ходя на работа, със сигурност нямаше да спя, докато не я прочета. Отне ми някакво време да свикна със стила на автора, най-вече защото ми напомняше на прекалено много други любими мои писатели и в същото време не приличаше на никого, което си е доста разсейващо… Но веднъж като се настроих на правилната вълна, направо ме помете и не можех да мисля и да сънувам нищо друго освен тази книга. Чудни сънища бяха! Дори по...more
☞ max  . . .
This book is awesome!!! When I was reading the last couple of chapters my mind was going crazy. I felt like our world was nothing compared the world of zamonia. There is something new and crazy about every chapter that keeps your brain stuck to this book. Optimus Yarnspinner's travels through bookholm made me feel emotions of every kind. At times, the misfortune of this character made me feel like crying!

Part one is so interesting. All through part 1, I had a grin on my face. I kept thinking "...more
Lea
When I first saw this book, I was on a city trip to Berlin. I needed some time for myself, and had the need for an escape from my everyday student life. At first the cover awakened my attention, a book with books on it. How wonderful! (Especially if you really-really-really, are into books) and the title makes it even better.
But then I wouldn’t buy it at first. Walter Moors has also written "The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear", and as every other German I do associate this with children’s stories...more
Cathy
3.5 stars probably, but I enjoyed it enough to round up.

This was a very curious combination of "what the hell is this?" and "well, I honestly don't know but I can't seem to put it down". The first 100 pages or so were a bit of a struggle to get through, I'll admit, and I certainly never expected I was going to end up liking it as much as I did.

I think my initial problems had a lot to do with how completely ridiculous this book is. In a fun way, of course, but it takes some getting used to. E.g...more
Maria M. Elmvang
Walter Moers created a fascinating universe and stayed true to it all the way through. I'm not sure the plot is so spectacular on its own, but the story was made so by all the details and all the descriptions that he included. It took me awhile to get used to his way of writing, so I wasn't hooked from the very first page, but the further into it I got, the more quirky it became, and I just had to know what happened next.

The City of Dreaming Books uses the book media as a way of telling the stor...more
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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...
The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1) Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures (Zamonia, #3) Der Schrecksenmeister (Zamonien, #5) Ensel und Krete. Ein Märchen aus Zamonien (Zamonien, #2) Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher (Zamonien, #6)

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“Reading is an intelligent way of not having to think.” 149 likes
“Stealing from one author is plagiarism; from many authors, research.” 100 likes
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