Get lost in The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers. This book is an action-packed, fantastical novel and a bibliophile's dream-read, full of wonders and horrors that are simply too wonderful and horrifying to be real! Follow the tale of Optimus Yarnspinner, a citizen of a land called Zamonia, as he searches to locate the author of the most magnificent manuscript he has every read. Our intrepid narrator finds himself on his way to the chaotic city of Bookholm, known to all as the city of dreaming books. Why such a name? Beneath the city are catacombs where millions of books sleep, protected by dangerous creatures, traps, and the mysterious Shadow King, waiting for salvagers called book hunters to unearth the most precious and carry them through the danger to the city above. A city obsessed with selling, buying, collecting, reading, publishing and writing books new and especially old.
Optimus Yarnspinner finds himself thrown into the very deepest and darkest places of Bookholm, mixed up with its most nefarious denizens. Will he find the mysterious author of the most fantastic novella of all time? Can he survive the dangerous catacombs beneath the city where even the books can poison, behead, or crush you?
Packed with adventure, this tale is set in a lushly drawn, imaginary world filled with glowing jellyfish and talking dinosaurs. Moers has packed the book chock full of little puns and cleverly disguised literary nods to earthly literature such as a morphed version of Shakespeare's ‘quality of mercy' speech from the Merchant of Venice and many more carefully designed nods for the well-read to discover. It is a clever, grown-up version of those fantastic tales you read in your youth that swept you off to a whole new world and into the adventure of a lifetime. It even comes with illustrations included, and who could resist an adventure full to bursting with books! A perfect read for any lover of books with a big imagination, and a yen for a good adventure story.
If you enjoy the fantasy of youth morphed into literature with a more mature perspective and ideas, try The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, or The Magicians by Lev Grossman. If it's the adventure mixed with a quirky sense of humor that has got you reading, try titles by author A. Lee Martinez, The Reavers by George MacDonald Fraser or the science fiction classic, The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Recommended by Megan Willan