The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (2006, 456 pages, translated from German by John Brownjohn)
The City of Dreaming Books is a fantasy about the adventures of a book loving dinosaur from the land of Zamonian in the city of dreaming books. The entire city is devoted to selling books. There are all sorts of creatures that inhabit the city. The book is presented as if it were translated from Zamonian and is the memoirs of our book loving dinosaur. A lot of reviewers on Goodreads.com gave this book five stars and said it creates a wonderfully realized alternative universe and shows tremendous powers of imagination. I try very hard to read through all the books I start. This is not from any moral or literary imperative it is just that there are no libraries here in Manila so I want to get my value somehow out of a book. The basic conceit of the book is kind of clever. Some of the creatures we encounter are clever. Once and a while an interesting thought provoking observation about the reading life is made by someone.
Reading is an intelligent way of not having to think.
The longer I read on in this book, the less interested I was in it. It is imaginative in parts but it is also silly, repetitious, labored, boring and imitative of better books. I ended up speed reading through the last 150 or pages while watching TV so maybe I did not give the book a fair change. Like I said lots of people give it five stars but an equal amount give it two stars. To me it was not funny, it did not get my attention and once I got beyond the clever concept of the book and encountered the first two or three monsters I was getting quite bored. I am glad I learned to speed read a very long time ago so I could get this book over with. My apologies to those who loved the book but I would really say do not buy this book.
The book is meant as a satire of the publishing world, of readers, of book shops, of book collectors and professional literary critics. Probably if you really mined it you could come up with some deep themes but the same thing could be said about many book not worth our time or money.
I am counting this book for these challenges
New Authors (new to the reader)
Bibliophilic Books Challenge