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The City of Dreaming Books (2004)

by Walter Moers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: City of Dreaming Books (1), Zamonia (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,928884,682 (4.3)151
Optimus Yarnspinner inherits a manuscript by an unknown writer. To track down the author, he goes to Bookholm, the City of Dreaming Books, where book-related attractions abound.
  1. 70
    The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (emdot)
  2. 70
    The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (bell7)
    bell7: Similarly a zany tale with literary references and footnotes.
  3. 61
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (ShelfMonkey)
  4. 62
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
  5. 52
    First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde (ljbwell)
    ljbwell: Funny, fantasy/alternative celebrations of books and writers and the magical worlds they create.
  6. 10
    The Book on Fire by Keith Miller (infiniteletters)
  7. 00
    Lycidas by Christoph Marzi (Leishai)

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» See also 151 mentions

English (61)  German (16)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Finnish (2)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
Optimus Yarnspinner, finds himself marooned in the subterranean world of Bookholm, the City of Dreaming Books, wherereading can be dangerous,where ruthless Bookhunters fight to the death.

I barely care that this is a children book. :D It sounds like the Hunger games but for bibliophiles.
  Litrvixen | Jun 23, 2022 |
***Before reading***
I remember that I really enjoyed this as a child/teenager. I can still remember where I could find it in the library. But for the longest time I couldn't find it. I couldn't remember the title or the author. Until one day I found a Dutch review on another book that compared a book to this one. I immediately tried to find it and found the exact copy I read in the library. But I wasn't fast enough, when I went back it was gone! I did found it again, only for double the price... Super shady but after half a year of wanting to re-read this book I caved.

I'm glad though. It looks amazing.

I do hope my reading experience will be too...
  Jonesy_now | Sep 24, 2021 |
This was August's chosen fantasy read in the SF&F group I’m in on Goodreads. Since it’s part of a long series, and apparently not even the first book in that series, I decided it would be a good audio candidate and joined in that way. This book does stand alone entirely fine. I could tell that world-building from previous books was being referenced, but I never felt like I was missing anything.

Audio Narration
The narrator is Richard Powers. I think he was just about perfect for this story. He’s a bit melodramatic, which I normally don’t like, but the character narrating the story is also melodramatic. I completely bought into his reading of the story and never argued in my head with how he voiced certain portions of the text like I often do with audiobooks. Since the humor in this story didn’t work great for me, I can say with confidence that he added more humor than I would have gotten out of it otherwise. He differentiated between character voices well also.

For the first third, I wasn’t even sure if there was a story. This is written in a very atmospheric manner. The main character, Optimus Yarnspinner, is bequeathed a mysterious manuscript from his recently-deceased authorial godfather. The manuscript is perfect in every way and Yarnspinner, an aspiring author himself, decides to hunt down the author, whom he believes would have ended up in Bookholm, so that's where he travels to.

In Bookholm, Yarnspinner sees lots of things and rambles to us about all of them in excruciating detail. I don’t think I’ve ever read (or heard) so many lists in a fiction book before. For every place he went, for everything he saw, for everything he did, and for everything he heard, we received lists and lists of examples. These lists were creative and clearly intended to be humorous, but there were just too many of them and they quickly became tedious to me. It occasionally got a chuckle out of me, but for the first third or so I was bored out of my mind and I wasn’t sure I would make it to the end. I kept tuning it out unintentionally because I couldn’t stand to listen to so much rambling.

At some point, I think after about a third of the book, the story came more to the forefront and I became more interested. Every now and then we’d encounter a new setting and the author would go off on one of his lists again, but they were spaced out a bit better and no longer dominated the plot. Or maybe I had grown used to it, I’m not entirely sure. But I do think the story picked up and became quite a lot more interesting.

I had some trouble deciding how to rate this. During the first third, I intended to give it no more than 2 stars. By the end, it felt more like a 3 star read. I considered giving it 2.5 stars and rounding up to 3 on Goodreads, but I decided to give it a straight 3 star rating, maybe in part on the strength of the audio narration. It is creative, and it’s possible I would have appreciated the author’s cleverness more if I’d been able to read it in the original German (or the true original Zamonien), but I think this just isn’t the type of humor that works well for me. I prefer more subtle cleverness, not the waving-arms-in-your-face-to-make-sure-you-don’t-miss-it sort, which is what I felt like this was. Despite that, I did like the story (once the author deigned to give us one) and it might even have caused a tear or two to show up in my eyes on occasion. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Aug 9, 2021 |
A translated edition from the original German; this is book number 4 in the series.

I couldn't get into this story easily and it's probably because I've never read this series before and didn't understand what was going on or what the character was about. There's a lot of wordplay in this with names and places which I think makes much more sense in the original language.

**All thoughts and opinions are my own.** ( )
  The_Literary_Jedi | Jul 4, 2021 |
This is the audio version, 14 CDs, of this excellent book. It's read by the late and acclaimed Dirk Bach, who really knows how to make a story more lively through his voice. It's a different approach to reading the story oneself and therefore, at least to me, a little less good, but still very entertaining.

Less good because he gives a different kind of voice to e.g. der Schattenkönig aka Homunkoloss than I had in mind. It's trivial things, of course, but they are vital when dealing with such a way of "reading" a book.

Other than that, like the book, recommended! ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walter Moersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brownjohn, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sáenz, MiguelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Where shadows dim with shadows mate in caverns deep and dark, where old books dream of bygone days when they were wood and bark, where diamonds from coal are born and no birds ever sing, that region is the dread domain ruled by the Shadow King.
First words
This is where my story begins.
Van de sterren komen we, Naar de sterren komen we terug. - Het leven is slechts een reis in de vreemde. "

From the stars we come, To the stars we 'll come back. Life is just a journey outside/ to the unknown. "
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Optimus Yarnspinner inherits a manuscript by an unknown writer. To track down the author, he goes to Bookholm, the City of Dreaming Books, where book-related attractions abound.

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