The City of Dreaming Books

Title: The City of Dreaming Books
Author: Walter Moers
Pub: 2004 in Germany; 2008 in the States
Pages: 456
Genre: Fantasy, Books about Books

"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, the region is the dread domain ruled by the Shadow King."

This book was a complete impulse buy. I read the back and loved the idea of it. I mean sheesh, the books are ALIVE and the setting is a world created where books are the one and only important thing in life. You are a reader, a writer, or a publisher. A book seller or illustrator. There's dangerous books in the catacombs of this city too. They attack. They are real mean, yo.

Optimus Yarnspinner (haha, everytime I say Optimus in my head I immediately go retro to my 80's love and want to end it with Prime)...but I digress. Optimus (for short) has just lost his mentor and godfather. The last gift given was an unpublished manuscript. Optimus reads it and is blown away with how beautiful it is written, in fact, he claims it is the best piece of literature that he has ever read. Unfortunately, the manuscript is written anonymously. Optimus decides his mission is to leave his home and seek out the writer. He must go to Bookholm - the City of Dreaming Books.

This is where Optimus's life goes haywire. People are after him because of the manuscript. And people that he thinks he can trust, he can't. Which is how he ends up in the catacombs. And lurking amongst the terrifying books is the Shadow King, determined to kill all who enter his turf.

I really really REALLY want everyone of you to turn off your computer and run to your bookstore and purchase this book. It was that good.

The names are clever too. He anagrams famous writers. I don't want to give any away to see if you can figure them out. Or better thought, maybe I'll have a contest listing a few of my favorites. *scratching head* and *looking around* at my book loot.

This is also apart of a series (evidently). I think that the rest are published in the states but I don't get the sense that you have to read them in order. I didn't after all, and never felt lost in this book.

Oh and gosh, there are so many wonderful little tidbit quotes. My book is tagged EVERYWHERE. Here are a couple of my favorite passages or one-liners:

"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written, that's all." (237)
"There's a place in the universe where all great artistic concepts accumulate, bouncing off each other and generating new ones," he said, more quietly now, "Its creative density must be immense. An invisible planet with seas of music, rivers of pure inspiration and volcanoes that spew out ideas with brainstorms flickering in the sky around them. That's the Orm, a field of force that dispenses its energy in abundance. But not to everyone. Only the elect can receive its emanations." (240)
"Simply go on climbing. it's like writing a novel. Everything's quite straightforward at first - the early chapters go with a tremendous swing, but sooner or later you begin to tire. You look back and see you're only halfway through. You look ahead and see you still have as much again to write. If you lose heart at the stage, you've had it. It's easy enough to start something. Finishing it is the hard part." (418)


  1. Wow, sounds intriguing! That first quote about moral/immoral books was originally said by Oscar Wilde, I believe.

  2. Love the title, love the cover, and your review leads me to hope that I will love the book! Adding it to the list!

  3. Julie's right, that first quote is from Oscar Wilde. #oscarwildefangirl I love seeing Oscar Wilde quoted in other books! This book sounds so cool; I want to read more books in translation this year, and I like books about books, so I'll have to get this one!!

  4. AWESOME! I do love a book book!!!! I've never heard of this. I hope it's available for Nook!

  5. I'd like to read this one, and as soon as I saw Optimus I immediately thought Prime, too.

  6. Prime must follow Optimus. It's like a universal law or something. :) And this looks wonderful. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. This looks fantastic! Adding it to my wish list now :)


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