Adventures in Reading

Book Related Musings

I have been devouring the German author Walter Moers’ The City of Dreaming Books. My recent devotion to this novel is a mix of my adoration for my books, the sensational story line, and Moers brilliant hand at writing. Particularly after my dry spell with more recent books, I am thrilled that I have stumbled into the land of Zamonia and to be led on adventures by such a brilliant author. This, however, is not my final look at the book.

The City of Dreaming Books (and the rest of Moers’ books) are located in fiction, but they are undoubtedly fantasy. One reason I have such respect for Moers is his talent at constructing a fantastical locale. Fantasy authors (or anyone writing of something fantastical) are challenged in at least one manner other authors are not: they are creating something, someone, or somewhere that is entirely unreal. Of course in most fantasy books you will find remnants of reality but a fantasy author must be well schooled in suspension of disbelief. However, one area of suspension of disbelief that I have not seen too many conversations on is the length of development.

Moers provides exactly perfect size slice of fantastical narrative and he does this over and over again. I have often come across fantasy authors (including those I love to those I loathe) who spend a great deal of time constructing the fantasy and the reader easily becomes bored, and on the other hand there are fantasy authors who spend such little time on one area and spend a great deal of time skipping from one idea to the next that the reader is left unsatisfied. Moers repeatedly provides perfection.

This brings me to something else I have been musing about lately. Not too long ago a ripple of excitement spread throughout the world when J.K. Rowling disclosed that Dumbledore was gay. What I was most interested were critical reactions to this. Neil Gaiman, another fantasy author, in short said that when you create a world you always have to leave details out. In some of the more academic communities I peruse the general reaction was: bunk.

Where is this all going? No where, but I did find this division between fantasy (which has had quite the difficult time in being viewed as “acceptable”) and fiction a fascinating discussion.

I must thank the Google image search for this post’s image found at


Writing fantasy takes talent …and good old fashion storytelling ability. I’m not a big fan of fantasy: I get bogged down by the lingo, the flip on traditional convention. I do agree that some fantasy authors spend so much of the opening chapters creating this new world that they lose all but the most avid fantasy readers. Some authors just have a unique takent in creating a new world and moving along with the plot.

I would have never guessed Dumbledore was gay. He seemed so straight that I always thought he had a thing for Professor McGonagall…
I could have bet all my poker chips that Sirius Black and Professor Lupin the werewolf were, you know…just sayin’ is all.

Comment by T Y

TY: I have never been a huge fan of fantasy. Excepting Terry Pratchett there has never been an author I have really stuck with, but I have dipped into some Susannah Clarke and Neil Gaiman. Otherwise I suppose I find fiction based on the read world interesting enough!

I never was much of a Harry Potter fan, but it was very interesting to watch my friend’s reactions to Rowling’s “outing” Dumbledore, and most were completely clueless to the relationship. I did find Gaiman’s comments interesting because so many of my favorite authors spent excessive time making their texts perfect that nothing was left out.

Comment by bookchronicle

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