11 Books You’ll Love Dreaming About, Because Dreams Are Like Netflix For Night-Time
Sometimes it’s not enough to spend all day with your head in a book; sometimes you want the book in your head all night too. Some of the best dreams you’ll ever have are inspired by novels — like that dream where you get your Hogwarts acceptance letter, or the one where you develop Matilda-like powers and play pranks on all the teachers that bullied you at school. Yeah, dreams are basically night-time Netflix, so it’s pretty disappointing when you spend the night dreaming about your stupid ex instead.
There are actually ways to take charge and teach yourself to lucid dream, which is when you can control what you dream about. This is pretty awesome, but it has been linked to sleep paralysis, which is a legitimately terrifying experience in which you half-wake up, but are unable to move. Seriously, nobody wants that.
Luckily, there’s another solution to make sure your dreams are as fabulous as you deserve — and it revolves around books. Since your favorite dreams are usually the ones inspired by literature, why not wind down for bed by diving into a great book? After all, reading before bed helps you sleep way better, and gears you up for a night of solid dream entertainment. These 11 books are so fantastically fanciful that you can’t help but have them whirring around your dreams all night.
Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr
I’m just going to throw it out there: Marianne Dreams might be the best book in the world. Please make it into a movie (I’m talking to you, big guys at Hollywood who make dreams come true) — it would be fantastic. Here’s the gist: Marianne is a young girl with a long-term illness who passes her time drawing pictures with an indelible pencil. Each night in her dreams, her pictures come to life. Every time she wakes up she tries to get out of sticky situations by adding extra illustrations or crossing bits out, and it actually gets pretty terrifying at points. Like, she draws some harmless-looking rocks and they turn out to be spying on her. It’s creepy, man. But it’s also brilliant — and you’ll dream yourself on all sorts of adventures.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
This whimsical novella actually came to Richard Bach in a series of dreams, which is hardly surprising when you read it. The story follows a seagull learning to fly better and higher than all the other seagulls — and it gets pretty existential when he flies to a “higher plane” of knowledge. Fifteen minutes of this before bed, and settle down to dream about flying over oceans and landscapes until breakfast.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Never has there been a more perfect depiction of a dreamworld than Wonderland. Take your pick of dreams: the one where you drink tea with an oversize rabbit and Johnny Depp in a hat, perhaps, or the one where you eat a loaf of bread and end up the size of a thimble. There’s not a dull moment in Lewis Carroll’s eccentric novel, and there won’t be a dull moment in your dreams tonight.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
So you’ve heard by now that Shakespeare was probably a massive stoner, and this strange and hazy play makes that pretty easy to believe. There are fairies and there’s dancing and there’s romance, and there are dreamy women in floaty white dresses — and there’s a guy called Bottom who has the head of a donkey. (Get it?) This play is nuts.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Another novel that was inspired by a dream is the spooky The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this horror story (SPOILER ALERT — though if you don’t already know this, you’ve been living under a rock), Jekyll and Hyde are actually split personalities of the same person: one good and one evil. It might give you nightmares rather than sweet dreams, but at least they’ll be more exciting than dreaming about the dentist again.
Stuart Little by E. B. White
When Stuart is born, the Little family have a bit of adapting to do — to get used to having such a small son. That’s a bit of an understatement, because Stuart is a mouse. Once you’ve read about him racing through Central Park in a tiny sailboat, or driving to the country in a model car, you’ll spend your dreams fantasizing about being two inches tall and going on mini-adventures.
I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg
Fannie Flagg is brilliant at filling her novels with quirky characters, and disguising dark and sinister plots as cutesy small-town tales. In I Still Dream About You, a suicidal former beauty queen is charmingly portrayed as a woman who is able to tie a scarf 40 different ways, has never cursed in public, and, at the age of 60, adorns her signature with smiley faces. The title of this one is appropriate; read it once and you’ll still dream about it years later.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
You’ve probably already dreamt about this one; it's so well-known. But the famous island of Lilliput, where the inhabitants are all six inches tall, is just the first imaginary world Gulliver encounters — and he is swiftly cast out after trying to save the citizens from a fire by…um, peeing on them. Next up he encounters a 72-foot-tall farmer, so good luck having any normal dreams after this.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
When a novel begins with a girl being swept up in a tornado and carried to a far-off land, you know you’re in for a good time. The challenge is to read the whole book without singing all the songs from the musical under your breath; nobody has succeeded at this yet. At the end of the movie, Dorothy’s time in Oz is revealed to have been all a dream, but in the novel it’s all gloriously real.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book begins with the brutal murder of a whole family, so it doesn’t sound like very cheery reading — but it is actually a children’s book. Neil Gaiman is the same author who brought us Stardust, so you can trust that he knows how to spin a good fantasy novel; he just likes to throw in a good amount of creepiness, too. The Graveyard Book is a wonderful portrayal of childhood, and will have you dreaming your way down memory lane all night.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
We’ve all had a million dreams about Hogwarts and Harry and Horcruxes, so it’s time to throw a little ancient wizard mythology into the mix. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the very book that was left to Hermione in Dumbledore’s will, and is full of the fairy tales that wizard children were brought up on instead of Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. The stories all have great titles like “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump,” and vivid characters that will dance through your dreams until morning.
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