Posts Tagged ‘Dreams’

Book Review: Lincoln’s Dreams by Connie Willis

Several years ago my friends Mike and Annie lent me a time-travel adventure novel called The Doomsday Book (1992) by Connie Willis.  I enjoyed the book (it helped me get through a kidney stone for starters) and have been smitten with Willis’ brand of science fiction ever since.  A typical Willis novel generally involves some psychological phenomenon with a number of people obsessively trying to unravel it’s mystery.  This is true for fads in Belwether (1996), near-death experiencs in Passage (2002), and psychics in Inside Job (2005).  The Doomsday Book and its sort of sequel To Say Nothing of the Dog merely have people obsessing about time travel and the predicaments they find themselves in as a result (and remain my first and second favorite Willis books respectively). A weakness of these books are that all the characters seem equally obsessed and serve only to present new information and twists and turns rather than be fleshed out as individuals.  Willis makes up for this with a good sense of suspense, humor, and well-researched scientific and historical facts.

My fondness for Willis and Abraham Lincoln made reading Lincoln’s Dreams (1987) a natural choice.  The topic of obsession here is naturally dreams: do they rehash one’s day, foresee the future, or are they your body’s way of telling something. The book could easily be called Lee’s Dreams as a central character Annie appears to be revisiting the Civil War through the Confederate general’s dreams.  The title comes from another character, a Shelby Foote-like author, who obsesses over the dreams Lincoln had foreshadowing his assassination.  Despite a nice hodge-podge of dream psychology, history (with great historical tales about Lee’s horse Trigger Traveller), and the familiar setting of Washington and Virginia, this book didn’t hit the mark to me.  The characters are so subservient to plot and the plot so subservient to a nice pat theory of dreams that there really is no story here at all.  Then again, it’s brain candy, but a least of an intelligent kind.

Funny Cuz It’s True Dept.

It tickles my funny bone when someone else makes an observation on a situation that is similar to my own.

This Unshelved strip takes on fibbers in the library. I’m pretty sure Unshelved has used that same punchline “We really just want the book back” before, but I can totally relate to being in a situation where a patron is prevaricating and I just don’t want to hear their story.

Meanwhile, Dustinland deals with luxury condos. Have you ever noticed that all condos these days are luxury? I’d really be happy to find a no-frills condo or a necessity condo myself.

EDIT. More funny cuz it’s true:  Eric Wilbur’s Boston Sports Blog on one of the great baseball cliches and other Opening Day absurdities.

Not true but still funny is the dream I had last night. I can’t remember all the details but I was at a backyard cookout and one of the guests was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Contrary to his public persona, Reznor was actually a pretty mellow, happy-go-lucky guy who kept running into the house to help out in the kitchen and pass around potato salad to other guests. Another part of the dream involved a former roommate of mine swinging from power lines like an acrobat (and not getting electrocuted) which greatly impressed Mia Hamm. And so my sleeping life continues to be more interesting than my conscious life.

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