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!

Jan Sikes

Dave Astor on Literature

Books and Bakes

Book Club Mom

Mick Canning

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.

100 thoughts on “MISPLACED DREAMS

  1. The Dictionary of Lost Words looks like a great companion piece to “The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary”.by Simon Winchester. I love this book, it inspired me to start my own collection of “lemma’s”, notecards with vocabulary that is new to me or is used with a different meaning. I will look for “The Dictionary” for my next read!

    1. Robyn, I’ve noted down Simon Winchester’s book and it sounds the perfect accompaniment to ‘The Dictionary of Lost Words’!While the latter is a superb and wonderful fictionally novel based around the founding of the Oxford Dictionary I would love to read a non-fiction account as well. The novel featured a word that did not appear in the first edition and the possible reason what happened to it as well as exploring the role of women and servants within society! I cannot recommend it highly enough!

      Thank you for introducing me to my new word of the day – ‘lemma’ and its great you are using these! They sound a terrific idea!

      Happy Reading! 📚😀

      1. Hi Annika, I am so happy to hear that you will add “Meaning of Everything” to your tbr! It’s not for everyone; but it is magical for those who appreciate etymology! I will anticipate your response to creating your unique lemmas. Thank you for your exciting response! Robyn

  2. I’m so glad I inspired you, but really, Annika, you did this all on your own. And it’s GREAT (of course). Love your story, and I’m writing down some of the books you’ve read that I haven’t. Cloud Cuckoo Land I read also and as “different” as it is, I enjoyed it just like you. Reading books is almost as fun as writing about them, which is almost as much fun as writing our original stories, and then sharing them with our blogging community. WELL DONE. ❤

    1. Pam, I’m smiling at your description of this circular love of books, reading, writing and sharing about them! 😀📚 Yeah! The community here is a wonderful celebration of books and it is heartening to see the many formats this takes including a year’s reading summed up through a story! 😀

      It surprised me how easily the story flowed – once I had the titles of the books in front of me! Almost seemed as if it was waiting to be written which is a brilliant feeling!😀 Thank you for inspiring me and I can see myself being eager to try this again next January.

      Anthony Doerr is an astonishing original writer and although All The Light We Cannot See is still my favourite of his books I loved the depth and incredible skill of Cloud Cuckoo Land! A formidable feat of storytelling! Happy Reading, my dear friend! Thank you for supporting me in my writing! xx ❤️

  3. You have such a knack for storytelling Anniika and this was particularly clever and creative. Wonderful way to incorporate all of your reading list and a few titles I recognised as having read as well. Happy 2023 and happy reading this year my friend. Enjoy it all! xx

    1. Miriam, thank you so much for your lovely comment and I’m happy you enjoyed all the elements of this story. Glad you’ve read a few of these books and perhaps a few titles to tempt for reading this year! xx

  4. Hi Annika – what a clever idea and I’m so glad to read your creative story! I really enjoyed The Four Winds and have been meaning to read Cloud Cuckoo Land for a while now. These other titles are intriguing. Thanks, too, for including me in your post – much appreciated! 🧡🧡🧡

    1. Barb, it is a brilliant idea and I am grateful to Pam for inspiring me to write my own! 😀 I will be very interested to see what you think of Cloud Cuckoo Land and think it is a book that will polarise readers – very cerebral and I am sure there was quite a bit I didn’t quite ‘get’ but amazing and enjoyable novel, I found! I think I recall your excellent review of The Four Winds – definitely no Grapes of Wrath but it still captured the aching hardship of the era in a very dramatic manner and the characters became part of my life. Afterwards it felt as if I’d seen a film – such a sweeping visual novel! Happy Reading and Reviewing, Barb – see you around on YouTube as well! Xx

      1. Hi Annika – yes I got the same feeling after reading The Four Winds. A lot of younger readers might not even know about The Grapes of Wrath, so it’s a good intro to that period of American history. As for Cloud Cuckoo Land – I’ve heard mixed reviews, maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten around to reading it, although I’m so tempted because of All the Light We Cannot See. Happy Reading and Reviewing to you too, Annika!

  5. Dear Annika, Your post is witty and informative. Pam inspires many writers and readers. I greatly enjoyed “Grief Songs.” Especially, how it made me feel.

    My eyes began to leak as your words share the longings and the emotions. Your story/prose stands alone even if I have not read all of the books. Knowing you have woven together sentences from the books adds to the clever creativity of your story. I have said it before, Annika, you have a true gift of storytelling. xx ❤️

    1. Erica, bless you for your warmest, most considerate and gracious of comments! 😀 You give my writerly confidence such a boost and I love storytelling and writing a story such as Misplaced Dreams is a joy. It means a lot that you found it creative and witty – I am grateful to Pam for inspiring with this book title story and with so much of my writing as well.

      You are so right about Grief Songs and the way it made you feel! Here I would out feel in italics as the emotional impact of books can never be overstated. And those feelings stay with you, an embracing support going forwards into life. Ever since starting blogging I have read more poetry than at any stage of my life since school and it is wonderfully rewarding, engaging and an absolute delight. I have just bough Khaya’s new poetry collection and will treat myself to some quiet ‘me’ time to savour them.

      Happy Reading, my friend! ❤️

  6. Dear Annika, what a beautiful and enchanting story you have written – using titles of books. Wonderful idea and I am amazed at how seemlessly the story flows and entices.

    I have read most of the books you show and love them and yet the story took its own strong place. May you never give up writing. Hugs x


    1. Miriam, Thank you so much and it means a lot you found the story enticing – I became carried away by it myself and an absolute delight write while weaving in the book titles. Yeah! Great that so many are familiar to you but hope there are a few new ones for you to check out! Bless … never fear, I will definitely continue with my writing and can’t imagine a life without it! Hugs xx❤️

  7. What a masterful integration of the stories. If I didn’t know you’d used titles, well, I wouldn’t know! I read Pam’s and it was as good as you say. Fun approach to year-end book lists.

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for your terrific comment and glad you found it flowed naturally! Yes, it is a great way to sum up (well,partially at least) the year’s reading and I look forward to writing another one start of 2024!

  8. Beautifully written, clever and creative!
    Congratulations on your 80 books read in 2022. I read 62. The only book on your list that I have read (so far) is Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. But I did see the movie Pay It Forward – it was very striking!
    Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

    1. Donna, bless! Thank you so much for reading and your lovely comment! 😀 It’s been a fun year of books and congratulations on your reading in 2022! I love the variety of everyone’s reading. I didn’t know there was a film of Pay It Forward and would like to see this when it comes to the UK. It will be interesting to see if it as good as the book but from your thoughts it sounds very positive. Happy Reading for 2023! 📖📚

  9. Like everyone else here, I’m quite impressed with your story derived from the titles of your (again impressive) list of books read in 2022.
    I’m wondering if you have occasion to read ‘new’ books in your native Swedish?

    1. Laura, I’m glad you enjoyed the story and it’s fun to make lists – especially of books! 📚

      That is an interesting question and I must admit I don’t read any books in Swedish. Although fluent Swedish and I can read it, I came to the UK aged six and that is my natural reading language. Oddly enough I have read quite a few Swedish authors, old and new, in English translation such as the amazing series The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moeberg (1949) and the recent Fredrick Backman & Stieg Larsson books.

  10. Oh that is such a good story, very emotional and yes, with all those titles expertly woven in. A great idea and thanks for the book recommendations too. You’ve certainly read more than me.

    1. Georgina, even I still started to feel very emotional towards the end of the story as I was writing it and it seemed like serendipity as the book titles slotted neatly into place! All the credit goes to Pam for this idea and one I hope more people take up!

      1. Yes, I might try but thought it was odd how I could slot my book titles into my recent post. Serendipity or what! But it was more a review of my year as Margaret21 gave me. Might make me think what books I read! Have a great 2023.

  11. Clever story, Annika, and I enjoyed Pam’s too. What a great way to share the books you’ve read. I have read The Four Winds, Wish You Were Here, and Grief Songs, loved them all. This is my first year to take the Goodreads challenge, but it shouldn’t be hard to make my goal while also working on my next book. 🙂 We shall see. Take good care. ❤️🥰

    1. Lauren, thank you and I thoroughly enjoyed writing the story while weaving in the book titles! Over the years I’ve been in awe of Pam’s twist on the year’s read book post and I’m glad I finally got round to giving it go!

      Yeah I’m, glad there were some you’ve read too – I feel I’m devouring Kristin Hannah’s & Jodi Picoult’s books over the years (between them they’ve written over 50!!) Enjoy being on Goodreads and I’ve been a fan of it since joining as it is the only way I’ve ever kept a record of my reading and I am sure you will feel the same.

      How exciting that you are working on your next book and I wish you all the best with it! I look forward to learning more about it on your blog. Hugs xx ❤️

    1. Jacquie, thank you and that means so much! I loved writing this story and there were a couple of different endings before I settled on this one – glad you liked it. Yes, my reading is varied, I’ve noticed and much more than it used to be and I think that is since being on WP – it’s great how my genres have increased and also reading a lot more foreign literature (translated!) Oh, Four Winds was so intense and not the end I expected but even better for it! I recommended the book to friends and family who all rave about it!

  12. You and Pam are so creative. Well done!
    There’s a recurring character, Ann the librarian, on the sketch comedy show, Studio C. She has a way of pulling books out of the air and using their titles in conversation. You might find her entertaining. 🙂

    1. Betsy, I’ve just watched a bit of Ann the librarian on youtube and I’m chuckling away – it’s brightened up a very gloomy rainy afternoon! 😀 It’s great how she uses the book titles – even manages to weave ‘Faust’ in – quite an achievement. I cracked up when the poor chap said ‘I really should get a Kindle’! Thanks for letting me know about it and the bit I saw is here if anyone is interested. https://youtu.be/G8ap6QT3aC4

      1. I just rewatched it now too. She’s so gross isn’t she? Terrific acting, as I’ve seen her play such diverse rolls. There are several of these, so keep that in mind if you need another pick-me-up some day. 🙂

  13. What a creative idea! And, what interesting titles. I’ve only read Murmur of Bees so there is a lot here for me to explore, that’s why I love following book bloggers! I learn about so many great books.

    1. Lisa, exactly!😀 Since blogging I’ve broadened my reading horizons and I am much more likely to explore different genres, foreign language books etc. It’s lovely to read your enthusiasm for reading and sharing about books here on WP! Murmur of Bees was outstanding and I hope to read more by this author. Enjoy checking out some of the other titles I mention in the story.

    1. It is an unusual concept but one that is a lot of fun and as a fan of lists I enjoyed presenting these 20 books in a unique way! Glad that you’ve found a few book titles that interest you. So glad you enjoyed the post and Happy Reading! 😀

  14. Awesome post! Pam is such a trendsetter, every year she shares the books she has read in such a creative manner. You have done it equally well Annika. I’ve read two from this list. I’ve read 99 books, I think it’s a good, magical number, as I am a slow reader and like to dwell on the language more than the story. 😀

    1. Thank you so much, Balroop! 😀 I’ve always been in awe of Pam’s creative incoporation, of book titles of her favourite reads every new year and I started but failed to finish something similar a couple of time. This year, once with the list of books by my side, the story flowed naturally and was a lot of fun to write! Wow! 99 books is amazing and you had me looking up about the number. I had no idea about its meaning – fascinating. So many books and reading slowly is even more impressive – at times I slow down to absorb the lanuage, especially with poetry but overall read quickly totally carried away by the story!

  15. What a fantastic idea! I’m currently enjoying my first read of 2023 and will start keeping a list as you both have inspired me to do the same next year…I really enjoyed your sweet story, Annika…

    1. Kim, it’s great that this has inspired you to try your own book title story next year – now don’t go losing that list of read books! 😀 It’s lovely you enjoyed the story – thank you!

        1. Great titles and I can already sense the drama of any potential story! 😀 Off to check them out and realise it’s ages since I read anything by Clare Mackintosh. Happy Reading & Writing!

  16. I recognise many of the titles, Annika, and the story works well. I really should return to using Goodreads because, as you say, it’s a great way of keeping track. I read and a fortnight later I’ve forgotten the book. One of these days I’ll forget my way home!

    1. Jo, it’s great you’ve come across a lot of these books and I’m glad you enjoyed the story! It was a fun challenge and one I think I will take up on a yearly basis! Without Goodreads, I would have no order of the books I read at all. My only real use of the website. Happy Reading and hope you’re having a lovely start to the year. x

    1. Lori, the credit for this idea all goes to Pam!😀 I’m so glad I finally got round to giving it a go. Ever since I was young people said I was a quick reader – I try to slow down but then find myself speeding up! 😀 Reading when I wake up at night also ensures I get through the books quickly!

    1. Robbie, thank you and I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story – at first I thought it would be nigh impossible to weave the stories in but it flowed well. Would you be tempted to have a go?

      Thank you, we had a great Christmas and New Year! Hope you did too? xx

      1. Hi Annika, it is a fun idea and I may do it at some point when life is a little more settled and worrisome than now. My Christmas was lovely but hubby became ill on 27 December and was admitted into intensive care with a blood clot in the membrane of the brain last Wednesday. It has been a very stressful time. Hugs.

  17. I’m glad Pam inspired you, Annika. Your story is such fun and you wove the titles in there perfectly. The only one of your top 20 that I’ve read is Grief Songs, and it was indeed beautiful and touching. Thanks for sharing my wrap-up post too. Maybe next year I’ll write a book title story too. You two have inspired me. 🙂

    1. Diane, I would love to read a book title post and do hope you write one next year! 😀 It’s lovely when we can inspire each other – the gift of sharing! I’m glad you found that the story flowed naturally as I was only too aware not to make it feel contrived around the titles. It was fun to write and edit – and even I missed some titles first time when creating the order list of the books! Happy Reading & Writing!

    1. Audrey, congratulations on your 56 read books last year and also for being such a great supporter of indie writers! Looking on your Goodreads I see you seem to have written a review for every book. Wow! That is fantastic and the ones I read are superb and engaging. It is indeed hard to pick favourites and I’m impressed with readers who can narrow it down to top five or such.

      For those who want to look closer at your reads of 2022 the link is https://audreydriscoll.com/2023/01/01/my-year-of-books/

    1. Thank you so much, Brad and it was a lot of fun to write – I started to carried away and had to reign myself in a bit! 😀 Without Goodreads I wouldn’t have a clue what I read or when – that’s really my only reason for being on there.

    1. Haha!😀 I’ve been found out! 😀 I’m always reading but particularly during the long summer break in Sweden – ideal time to become totally immersed in the world of fiction! So glad you liked the presentation, Jill! This was one with links galore and I hope it’s not taking too long to display for readers.

  18. What a super way to share your reading list, Annika! Kudos to you for tackling this and for creating such a wonderful story. Thank you for the link to my blog! Much appreciated!

    1. The credit for the story of book titles goes all to Pam and I’ve wanted to try it for years and glad I finally got round to it! It was a lot of fun to write and I quickly fell for the characters of the story myself!

    1. Dave, thank you so much – to my surprise the story flowed easily with a list of the twenty titles by my side! It was an interesting year of books and there were many I just did not want them to end!

  19. Very clever, Annika. I had read Pam’s list and enjoyed your story too. The only book on your list that I have read is The Dictionary of Lost Words. Some of the other titles you mention sound interesting too.

    1. Norah, before starting I thought it would be tricky to incoporate the titles but I was surprised how much the story flowed on its own! Recently I have read quite a few posts summing up people’s reading from 2022 and every time only recognise one or two titles – I suppose that is wonder of the rich diversity and number of publications! I’m glad some of these titles interest you and enjoy if you have a chance to read them.

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