Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Salon: A Bookish Dream

Tomorrow marks the first day of my favorite season of the year: Autumn. I love the fall season. It is still too early to feel any chill in the air, but it's coming. In my part of the world, summer does not give up without a fight and I imagine this year will be no exception.

I had a dream this past week that I was a child again, living with my parents in a little one room shack, much like the one Helen Tse's grandmother spent her early childhood in. My father did not like that I read so many books. My mother warned me to stop reading so much. She said I had to keep it down to three books a day or else my father would kick me out of the house. I was frightened at the prospect; and so I hid my reading, stealing snatches of reading time whenever I could while doing my best to read no more than three books a day. I wasn't reading children's picture books either, but adult chapter novels. Some were quite long, in fact. I wish I could remember the titles.

My dad is a rabid reader in real life, and I imagine he would be the last person to limit the amount of books I read in any given time. I am amazed that I was able to read three books a day or more, frankly--even if just in a dream.

I was also struck by the fact that the book I am reading made it into my dream. It happens occasionally. It is nothing new, and yet I am always fascinated by it. It makes sense though, doesn't it? The images I read before I fall asleep are fresh in my brain. As the neurons fire, they are bound to touch upon the last images created in my mind. In this case it was a minor image--that of a one room house.

Does this ever happen to you? Do the stories you read ever weave themselves into your dreams somehow?

The book I am reading at the moment is called Sweet Mandarin by Helen Tse. It is a true story based on three generations of women: the author, her mother and grandmother. The family struggled through many hardships and fought hard for their successes, often times only to have those successes turn into devestating losses. And yet they kept getting back up again, starting over and rebuilding. I am particularly drawn to the cultural and historical aspects of the book, which is set in China, Hong Kong and eventually the United Kingdom.

I have not yet decided on what to read next. There are so many directions I could go. Maybe I should choose wisely because the next book might be the one I read just before I fall asleep tonight. And who knows what my dreams will bring?


  1. Hi Wendy, I have the same experience too. I think I remembered Twilight doing that to me in my dreams.

    My grampa was from China and gramma from HK, which is why I was very excited to find out that I've won Sweet Mandarin. Thanks again, Wendy!

  2. Yes, some stories do weave into my dreams. As disjointed thoughts.

    Autumn is going to be over here in the next few days.

    Come read my autumn verses in my other blog. Just click on my name.

  3. I love autumn too, Wendy, though we don't have much of the cooler weather in Florida. =)

  4. I've dreamt I was physically still reading a book, which was very confusing for the story line. I also have places and characters or situations occur in my dreams from books I am reading.

  5. Alice - Some books are more haunting than others, aren't they? And so they seem to carry over more into our dreams than others.

    I am excited that you will get a chance to read Sweet Mandarin. It will be interesting to read your thoughts on it, especially with your family's background. :-)

    Gautami - I've had some interesting dreams because of the books I read--my mind always seems to weave them into a story--even if it doesn't always make much sense.

    Jill - It never gets extremely cold in my portion of Southern California either--no snow (only in the mountains), no snow anyway. The summers sure do get hot though. I'm sure you can relate to that. :-)

    Katrina - That would be confusing! Especially if your dream seemed real while you were having them.

  6. Books definitely appear in my dreams sometimes, but for some reason TV is most likely to make an appearance. I have two favourite shows, and characters from them appear in my dreams waaaaay too often. Very strange!

  7. I have to be careful what I read right before sleep for that very reason. I recently finished Capote in Kansas, and my dreams that night were full of snakes and Scout and Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird. Very weird.

  8. I must be weird because I can't ever recall dreaming about a book I was reading. And I do read in bed before falling asleep.


  9. I think we all love fall. We're starting to get the cooler weather, although today is a bit warm.

    Happy Sunday!

  10. Where I live, summer more than gives up without a fight. It gets its butts kicked by fall, and that time is coming shortly. Our leaves are already changing.

    As for dreams, I don't think that's really happened to me, but I loved your post: probably one of the better ones in today's Sunday Salon. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Great post. No, I don't think I've ever dreamed about books. My dreams are weird enough as it is, I don't think I could handle that!

  12. I'm sure I have had book-themed dreams, but none are coming to mind... I agree with what Eva said above - TV influences my dreams a lot more. When I was watching the Battlestar Galactica DVDs for the first time, I think I had spaceship-themed dreams every night for a few weeks.

  13. It's happened once or twice but for the most part it's a rare occurance. Interesting dream though!

  14. How interesting that you remember your dream..and so clearly. I always tend to forget mine unless they are bad and then unfortunately they stick with me longer.

  15. That's so interesting about your dream! I can't recall ever having one that featured my latest book or even reading for that matter. I've lately been dreaming about work and that's probably because I have work to do tonight before bed that I've been putting off...

  16. I love autumn, although we don't have four seasons over here! :(

    It's interesting to dream of something you read, isn't it? But so far, I haven't had this experience, yet.

  17. Eva - TV appears a lot in my dreams too. I sometimes wonder if that has to do with the visual images we take in when we are watching it.

    Carrie K. - I try to watch what I read right before bedtime too for the same reason.

    Linda - You aren't alone. I sometimes think I am strange because I so often remember my dreams.

    Yvonne - It seems that way, doesn't it? It wasn't too bad here today, thank goodness. High 80's. Beats the 102F we had last week at this time.

    Bryan - I wouldn't mind if that were true here. Summer just doesn't like to loosen her grip so easily.

    And thank you for the nice words. :-)

    Marie - Haha! Yes, my dreams can be pretty strange too.

    Nicki - I bet those dreams were fun! Several months ago, my husband and I were watching a season of Law and Order on DVD and for awhile my dreams seemed to follow down that path. It was kind of scary--not the kind of dreams I want to have again.

    Jen - It doesn't happen too often with me either, but when it does, it sticks out.

    Samantha - It happens to me a lot that I remember my dreams. If I write them down immediately upon waking or tell my husband about them, I usually can remember them much more vividly. The memory of the dream fades as the day goes by.

    Jennifer - I dream far too often about work. Ugh. Especially when something is pressing or I'm worried about something. I find that a lot of my dreams tend to revolve around things I am worried about or am planning to do in general.

    Melody - It's an interesting experience, dreaming about something you have read. :-)

  18. I will look for Sweet Mandarin when I go to Hong Kong for my sister's wedding the first weekend of October. It sounds very inspiring---overcoming hardship and never giving up.

  19. I'm already missing summer, even though autumn is just getting started - I want those lazy days back! I certainly hope my recent reading matter doesn't make its way into my dreams - serial murderers, burn victims, and George Bush! How scary is that?

  20. Matt - It is an inspiring story. I saw an interview with the author this past summer and was quite impressed. The book is good so far.

    Joy - Dreams of serial killers are no fun! I know because I've had them. :-( I also dreamed about George Bush twice--right before he won the elections. For as long as I can remember I have had dreams about the winning presidential candidate sometime before the election, regardless of who I vote for. I haven't yet had one of those dreams this year. I don't put much stock in them--but it's kind of eerie how accurate they have been.

  21. YES! I seem to always have dreams about books I get wrapped up in. Sometimes though, they even go beyond that - I'm a bit of a weird sleeper, and I sometimes sit up and talk to my husband, though I'm clearly still asleep. The last time it happened was when I was reading Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and started talking to him about comic books. He wrote everything I said down and still mocks me about it!

  22. We don't have much of an autumn in the south, but I am still looking forward to cooler temps.

    I occasionally have dreams with elements of the books that I am reading. Just last week, I dreamt that I was analyzing The Canterbury Tales, which I'm reading for my lit class. It was especially weird because it's in Old English, lol.

  23. We don't have much of an autumn in the south? Like in USA? If so, I beg to differ! If we didn't, there wouldn't be so many leaves to rake. Thank goodness we have boys. :)

  24. Books sometimes invade my dreams. The last one that I definitely remember is Kafka on the Shore. Made for a bizarre dream! :P

  25. Michelle - How neat! I sometimes talk in my sleep, but usually only a word or two--and then it's usually not decipherable.

    Trisha - I'm enjoying the cooler evenings, even if the days haven't gotten the message that fall is here. :-)

    J. Kaye - I haven't noticed anyone with rakes out here just yet, but I'm sure they will come out soon enough.

    Nat - I can imagine! I really need to read that book.

  26. Literary Feline,

    Gustav helped us to an early!

  27. Dreams are such fascinating things, aren't they!! I have had dreams where a book I am reading carries over into my dreams in one way or another. I don't mind unless it is a scary/horror story, lol!

  28. J. Kaye - Gustav certainly did do that!

    April - They are fascinating. The scary ones aren't so pleasant, I agree.


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