The Sunday Salon- Dreaming of Books (Literally)

Whether it’s the hot, humid weather, which forces me to stay indoors much more than I’d like, or the fact that there’s an intruder in our bedroom these days (my husband is using a bi-pap machine for treatment of sleep apnea and it makes its own rhythmic breathing sound) I’m definitely not getting a good night’s sleep.  Last night was particularly horrible.  I’d taken an allergy pill earlier in the day, and it might as well have been an amphetamine.  I kept dozing off, and then jerking awake, troubled by strange dreams which were related to the book I was reading.

I’ve had nightmares about books on occasion, one in particular that was so horrific I shudder whenever the book is mentioned.  This time, I was actually inside the story – Southern Family, by Gail Godwin, which I hauled up from the basement yesterday to re-read.  It’s a sprawling tale of -what else – a troubled southern family, and it begins with a murder-suicide involving the 28 year old son.  I kept dreaming vignettes where I was talking to the characters, particularly Clare, the dead man’s older sister.  We were discussing how difficult it would be for Lily, their emotionally fragile mother, to deal with this latest tragedy.

Periodically my dreams of the Quick family got intertwined with characters from the other book I’m reading – The Lake Shore Limited, by Sue Miller.  In this one, a group of characters explore different relationships and how they were affected by the loss of one of their own on September 11.  Somehow, in one of my dreams, Billy, whose partner died in one of the planes, was part of the scenario between Clare and Lily, and they were all discussing how to handle a violent, unexpected death.

Certainly not the stuff which good dreams are made on.

I think I’ll spend today searching for something totally innocuous to read – just in case tonight is another troubled night.

Now tell me, do you ever dream yourself into the books you’re reading?


13 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon- Dreaming of Books (Literally)

  1. Hope you sleep better soon – nothing worse than restless nights and waking up feeling tired! And dreaming? I dream a lot, mixing whatever has preoccupied me during the day with the books I read, my own writing, interactions with people… Often I wake up thinking I should remember this, there was something worth while there, but by the time I’ve put one foot on the floor next to the bed, the dream seems to vanish, dissipating in the reality of early morning light. How annoying!

  2. That is so funny – in my Friday Five, I was speculating about books and dreams as well. I seem to recall waking a handful of times with memories of book-dreaming, but cannot recall any specifics.

  3. Oh, you have my sympathies with the sleep issue. My husband also has a C-PAP machine for sleep apnea and … well, let’s just say that my best nights’ sleep happen when I retreat to the guest room. Not advocating such, but it is what it is.

    I can’t remember dreaming about specifc plots of books – but I have dreampt about specific book bloggers being together (this was before the Book Blogger Convention was announced) and passing around ARCs. 🙂

  4. I don’t have literary dreams very often. I did have a vivid dream involving professor Snape once.

    I do know how loud those bi-pap machines are. At a ladies retreat a couple of years ago the women with the bi-paps had a room to themselves so that it wouldn’t disturb the sleep of everyone else. I was in the “quiet” room with the ladies who didn’t want to stay up all night talking. Ironically they were also the loudest snorers. I barely got a wink of sleep all weekend. 🙂

    I hope your sleep is improved soon!

  5. When I was 11, I dreamed about Jane Eyre before I’d read the book, before I’d ever heard of it to my conscious knowledge anyway. It was a scary dream and the name was mispronounced in it as “Err” not “Ire”, but I saw how it was spelled. After the dream I read the book and indeed found parts of it scary!

  6. I too had a quasi-bookish dream last night, in which I was the producer of a off-Broadway musical based on the Sookie Stackhouse books. On opening night, I was seated next to Charlaine Harris (the author) and a producer-writer from True Blood (the television series based on the books) and struck up a conversation with them about the material. They said what seemed to be revolutionary, unexpected things about the characters, but the room was just a little too loud for me to understand them clearly….

  7. oh my gosh, Becca! no wonder August is seeming as interminable to you as it is to me. I have learned my lesson with allergy pills (what do they put in that stuff?) I’ve not yet had a visitor in my room such as the new machine you are adjusting to.

    I haven’t had this particular set of nightmares, but I have had many this summer as well.

    I think it’s the heat trying to invade our beautiful brains.

  8. I hope you find better sleep soon. Those allergy meds have always given me weird dreams too. I’ve never actually dreamed a dream that had me inside a book I was reading. It’s kind of neat as long as it isn’t a nightmare.

  9. When I was reading about the Vietnam war and the genocide in Cambodia, I had nightmares about both. I also have a lot of nightmares whenever I read about WWII, so I have to limit how much I read about that. I can’t think of any happy dreams I’ve had about the books I’ve read, though. Figures! Hope you get back to sleeping normally soon. 🙂

  10. I have so often had those dreaming/waking/dreaming type nights and by morning have wondered whether I wouldn’t feel better if I’d not gone to bed at all! But often stories weave themselves into my dreams. My son is having an A Team fest and I’m watching along too and I keep having A Team style dreams. But I really don’t mind Dirk Benedict turning up in them. And I have ordered A Southern Family – yay!

  11. Since I had a particularly dreadful night last night when, despite being absolutely exhausted at bedtime, I didn’t seem to manage more than an hour between periods of wakefulness and what sleep I had was plagued with muddled dreams set in the town where I grew up (but haven’t been back to for 30 years), you have my sympathies!
    Needless to say, less than three hours after my alarm went off, I can recall absolutely nothing about the dreams but I just hope I don’t have them again tonight!

  12. I have those napping/snap awake to fully conscious moments all the time when I’m sick. I also have medicine-induced strange dreams. I truly feel for you. I have some earplugs you can have…:) As for the literary dreams, I rewrite stories, or pick up the storyline where I left off and continue the story writing, in my dreams all the time. They seem good at the time, but when I wake up they totally don’t make sense. One of those “what was I thinking?” moments. 🙂


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