It’s that time of year again! To reflect on the previous twelve months and especially in terms of books!
One blogger in particular sums up her reading with a creative and unique approach; namely, a short story using some of the titles of the books she’s read the year before. (You can read her wonderful short story A Walk in the Wood, Book by Book on her blog ROUGHWIGHTING) Many thanks, Pam for inspiring me to write the story below which features the titles of my top twenty of the eighty books I read in 2022.
Enjoy and see how many titles you can spot! A full list is at the end of the story.
On the island of missing trees, the grief songs resonated in the absence of the light through the leaves. Songs which spun through the air in the secret language of lost dreams; when the world of sleep took on a life of its own across the four winds of the continents and set forth into the wilderness seeking their beloved recipients.
Abigail considered herself to be one of many perfectly ordinary people until the day she joined the puzzle women. Here she realised she was uniquely placed to help others, to reconcile dreams with their owners. Many claimed she lived in cloud cuckoo land however she knew in her heart she must try and in the process find the dreams waiting for her.
It was impossible to forget the day she met him. There were so many funny things about Norman Foreman after all; a congenial chap with a triangular beard bustling down his chest, the white a comfortable padding upon his generous stomach.
“Here’s the reading list, to get you started,” he’d uttered as they sat on the bench that first meeting. The ducks waddled by the river, ignoring the bread thrown to them.
Abigail had taken the list and in that second of handover it quadruped in size and she almost lost it in the sudden gust of wind.
“I’ll do it,” she nervously promised this unusual man.
On the way home the girl at the back of the bus tried to peer over her shoulder, gasping at the impossible dreams on one side of the page, the never-ending list of names on the other. She might very well gasp in wonder, Abigail thought. She too was flummoxed. How was it possible to unite the two?
“I wish you were here,” Abigail muttered to herself in the evenings, resting in the favourite well-worn armchair, the armrests sunk in the middle disconsolately. Any energy on their part to remain puffed up long since abandoned following the passing of its regular occupant, her dear William. It was nearly fourteen years ago but still she talked to him every day.
“I’m coming home,” she reassured him. “I’m coming home.”
“Never forget the forty rules of love, my darling,” he used to remind her every morning as Radio 3 and its classical music played softly. They’d written their own rules for fun on a napkin in the local Italian restaurant on their second date. The day had forever changed their lives, love bound them into infinity.
The writing was now faded, the white of the tissue a dour brown yet certain words were legible. She’d framed it as a 20th wedding anniversary present. William died ten months later.
The napkin had become an ideal ornament of remembrance at the place of their first outing as an engaged couple. The unique museum of ordinary people struck a chord with them both and they were touched by how everyday objects of deceased loved ones were displayed with tenderness and thoughtfulness. The everyday items in the museum ensuring that the extraordinary of every life lived on. Her precious napkin was now an exhibit of its own.
Oh, how she missed her treasured hubby, how she ached to see him again and every morning the way home gets longer and longer, she thought wistfully. The way home to seeing him again seemed insurmountable.
Grief, the absolute abyss of sorrow swallowed her up, her vocal chords unused to speaking, she’d become a dictionary of lost words. Until the day she discovered the mad, insane yet incredible project.
She’d help everyone she could to be reunited with their dreams and perhaps one of the others would find hers. In the process she would find herself again and the refrain of ‘the rest of me, the rest of me’ rang in her mind.
She’d wandered alone for so long!
Years after their first talk she met Norman again and he made her the new leader of the puzzle women. To the backdrop of the murmur of bees in Glenn Gardens Abigail finally declared her longing to Norman – to dream of William every night for the rest of her life. To be reunited with him for eternity in the living and dead.
“It is quite possible,” he’d confirmed as he chewed the remains of the beef sandwich, the crumbs trailing down the white-bearded mass.
One night months later she turned off the Mozart CD that she’d been listening to whilst working away. Mozart! One of William’s favourites and how they had dreamed of going to Vienna. It was not to be.
Abigail put the massive sheaf of papers aside and stepped away from her overflowing desk. The buzzing of the computer faded with one last sighing whine and became silent. The house was quiet. Perfectly still.
Sleep, once again, Abigail fell into her dreamless sleep, the darkness overwhelming until the silence was broken by music from the secret piano. Overwhelmed she listened in bliss before William stepped forth from the piano and bowed to her. At last, her wish had been granted and they were finally reunited!
©Annika Perry, January 2023
Here are the books with links to them in chronological order as they appear in Misplaced Dreams.
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
Grief Songs by Liz Gauffreau My Review of Grief Songs
The Light Through the Leaves by Glendy Vanderah
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Perfectly Ordinary People by Nick Alexander
The Puzzle Women by Anna Ellory
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Impossible to Forget by Imogen Clark
The Funny Things about Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson
The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
The Girl at the Back of the Bus by Suzette D. Harrison
wish you were here by Jodi Picoult
Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
the rest of me by Katie Marsh
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia
The Secret Piano by Zhu Xiao-Mei
As I mentioned every New Year is a treat for all book lovers here on WordPress as the community shares some of their best reads from the previous year. Here are just a few posts I have come across. Please let me know if you have written a post featuring your books of 2022 or have enjoyed some other ones!
Dave Astor on Literature
Books and Bakes
Book Club Mom
Darlene Foster’s Blog
Myths of the Mirror
Finally, to view all the books I read in 2022 as part of the Goodreads Reading Challenge please click here.