Books about dreams are excellent holiday presents—easy to give and enjoyable to receive. They are widely available for purchase, fairly inexpensive, simple to wrap and ship, and sure to bring surprise and delight (and perhaps life-changing illumination) to their recipients. If you have a long list of people for whom you’re trying to buy gifts in the next few weeks, consider getting them one or more of these excellent new books, which have come out in 2017 or 2016.
By Sharon Sliwinki
University of Minnesota Press, 2017
A beautifully written and thought-provoking exploration of dreaming as a vital arena of existential freedom, cultural creativity, and political resistance. Well-suited for anyone interested in Freud and contemporary psychoanalysis, Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy, and/or the collective wisdom of dreaming. A great gift for a social justice warrior who has never heard about current dream research.
By G. William Domhoff
Oxford University Press, 2017
The latest work by one of the most eminent dream scientists in the field. A fascinating text for people already interested in the latest developments in brain-mind science. Warning: this isn’t a how–to primer for people fresh to dream studies. But if you know someone who thinks nothing is real if you can’t prove it with statistics, numbers, and quantitative analysis, this would be an ideal entry into current dream research.
By Benjamin Ehrlich
Oxford University Press, 2017
A surprising historical revelation about the secret dream journal of Santiago Ramon y Cajal, who is widely regarded as the father of modern neuroscience. If you need a gift for someone who loves brain science, this book will blow their minds.
By Clare Johnson
Orion Spring, 2017
A perfect primer for readers who are new to dreams and looking for a new source of personal insight and guidance in their waking lives. The focus is primarily on lucid dreams and becoming more aware throughout dreaming and waking. (A US edition titled Mindful Dreaming is due out in April of 2018).
By J.F. Pagel and Philip Kirshstein
Academic Press, 2017
An alternately profound and baffling book by one of the leading sleep and dream researchers in the field (Pagel) and his computer science colleague (Kirshstein). This is how they describe the book’s goal: “Machine Dreaming and Consciousness provides the first empiric articulation of the advent of dream-equivalent processing in machines.” Yikes! And yes, it’s exactly as intense as that sounds. This would be an awesome book for the nerdiest person on your list—someone who loves sci-fi and the speculative frontiers of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and computer science.
By Derrick Jensen
Seven Stories Press, 2017
A passionate personal exploration of the organic depths of dreaming by a brilliant eco-philosopher and environmental activist. If you know someone who hates “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins and/or loves the ancient wisdom of nature and indigenous ways of knowing, this book will give them lots of debating material, and much inspiration.
Clare Johnson and Jean Campbell, Editors
A very accessible collection of practical research and methods for helping children learn about the creative power of their own dreaming imaginations. Perfect for parents of young children, for teachers, and professionals in health care (most of whom never receive any education or training in the nature of children’s dreams).
Robert Hoss and Robert Gongloff, Editors
Chiron Publications, 2017
A wide-ranging compendium of people describing extraordinary dreams that, as the title suggests, changed their lives in various ways. Written mostly by long-time members of the IASD, it’s an excellent introduction to the group’s collaborative ethos and spiritual adventurousness. This book would be a great present for someone who makes sense of the world primarily through personal stories, narratives, and relationships.
By Justina Lasley
Double Spiral Publishing, Updated 2017
One of the best books ever written about the practice of dream-sharing in a group setting, now in an updated edition. Very insightful, practical, and systematic, this is a treasure-house of basic principles in dream education. You would be doing a huge favor to any teacher, health care professional, community organizer, NGO activist, or human resources administrator by giving them this book.
By Craig Webb
DREAMS Foundation, 2016
If you’ve got a musician on your list, bam, you’re done! This is a super entertaining book that will be appreciated by anyone interested in art, creativity, and dreaming. Filled with awesome factoids about musicians who created famous songs from their dreams. Teenagers would probably relate to it especially well.
By Kelly Bulkeley
The updated version of a work I first wrote in 1997, as a clear, concise overview of the basic principles and major research findings of the psychology of dreaming, from Freud and Jung to the present day. The book has a much more exciting cover now!