The third book in Walter Moers' Zamonia series (but definitely readable as a stand-alone), The City of Dreaming Books is an amazing adventure in a city where books and authors are of extreme importance. I am having trouble finding the words to tell you exactly how amazing this book is so I'll use some of the author's own* words --
It's not a story for people with thin skins and weak nerves, whom I would advise to replace this book on the pile at once and slink off to the children's section. Shoo! Begone, you cry-babies and quaffers of camomile tea, you wimps and softies! This book tells of a place where reading is still a genuine adventure, and by adventure I mean the old-fashioned definition of the word that appears in the Zamonian Dictionary: 'A daring enterprise undertaken in a spirit of curiosity or temerity, it is potentially life-threatening, harbours unforeseeable dangers and sometimes proves fatal.'
Yes, I speak of a place where reading can drive people insane. Where books may injure and poison them -- indeed, even kill them. Only those who are thoroughly prepared to take such risks in order to read this book -- only those willing to hazard their lives in so doing -- should accompany me to the next paragraph. The remainder, I congratulate on their wise but yellow-bellied decision to stay behind. Farewell, you cowards! I wish you a long and boring life, and, on that note, bid you goodbye!*As the original of this book is in German, I want to give major credit to the translator, John Brownjohn, who has done a flawless job of bringing this story to English. Here's an interview with him from November 2012 about translating and Moers.
This book is funny and exciting and charming and imaginative. Each book I read in this series is more amazing than the last. Moers is a genius in the vein of Terry Pratchett or Jasper Fforde, using wordplay in a witty but seamless manner. I'm sure that I have missed well over half of what was really in this story. Rather than discouraging me, it just makes me look forward to rereading the book before too many years have passed. I'm also excited to see that the sequel to this is out in English and the third book in this side series will be out soon as well.
Always dreaming books,