The Best Books About Dreams: Stay Awake to Find out!

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Dreams are stories that our brains create while we sleep. Dreams can be entertaining, romantic, boring, scary, and often are quite bizarre. There are lots of books about dreams, both the science of dreaming and dream analysis.  We will examine twenty of the best books here, providing the basics to help you decide what ones are best for you.  


Dreams are stories and images that our brains create while we sleep. Dreams can be entertaining, romantic, boring, scary, and often are quite bizarre.  

Scientists even today are not totally sure about why we dream.  Imagine how our ancestors thought about dreams!  No wonder many thought they were direct messages from the gods.  

Many people try to provide meaning to dreams.  Dreams can tell us what we are thinking, fearing, and desiring.  Dreams often occur during “REM” (rapid-eye movement) sleep.  

The subjects and contents of our dreams can be mysterious and fascinating.  Different types of people, including religious figures, psychologists, and new age thinkers have spent a lot of time trying to find out what dreams mean.  And, wrote lots of books about it.  

Read All About It 

My purpose here is to provide some of the best books out there about dreams.  I will provide you with a link to where you can buy them, providing basic information to help you decide if they are good for your needs.   This will allow you more time for dreaming, day and night related.  

Things to look for: the author’s expertise, the specific subject matter, what others are saying about them, the skillset of the intended audience, and any deficits that might be red flags.


[1]  The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text by Sigmund Freud

I’ve got to start with Sigmund!

Sigmund Freud was a German neurologist and the founder of modern-day psychoanalysis.  

This classic, translated by James Strachey with the assistance of Freud’s daughter Anna, was first published in 1899.  It explores why we dream and examines the meaning of our dreams.  This remains the most complete translation of the work in print.  

Possible Problems: This book is very technical and might be overwhelming for even the educated reader.  Also, Freud’s theories have been challenged and many consider at least some of them out of date in the 21st Century.   

[2] 12,000 Dreams Interpreted by Linda Shields, Gustavus Hindman Miller, Lenore Skomal

Gustavus Hindman Miller in the days of Freud wrote an earlier version of this book.  It was considered the most compelling and thorough study of all the symbols in our dreams.  

Now, updating the volume for the 21st Century (and adding two thousand more subjects), popular psychic and medium Linda Shields joins Lenore Skomal to re-introduce this classic.   

Possible Problems: Quantity over quality with too brief analysis of specific subjects.  

[3] The Lucid Dreaming Pack: Gateway to the Inner Self by Robert Waggoner 

A lucid dream is a type of dream in which the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming while dreaming.  The dreamer in the process might be able to control their dreams.  

Dream expert Robert Waggoner, who has logged over 1000 lucid dreams, shares his experience to help illuminate your dream world. Learn how to take control of your dreams and accomplish goals in your sleep.  Includes an 80 page dream journal.  

A “beginner” book is also available separately.  

Possible Problems: The book includes personal beliefs about higher spiritual knowledge that might not be acceptable to the reader.  

[4]  The Conscious Exploration of Dreaming by Janice E. Brooks and Jay Vogelsong

The authors are a husband and wife team of lucid dream researchers.  The foreword of this book is written by John Allan Hobson, a psychiatrist and dream researcher, who wrote the “very short introduction” book referenced below.  He vouches for their scientific research.  

The book examines how we create and control our dreams.  For those concerned that books about lucid dreaming can be too spiritual or close to pseudoscience, this book is firmly a balanced scientific focused discussion.  A good study of oneironautics, the study of the ability to travel within a dream on a conscious basis.  Praised for its “no nonsense” approach.  

Possible Problems: The tone of the book is somewhat dry and academic.  And, some challenge the conclusions reached by the authors’ scientific approach.  

[5]  Illustrated Dictionary of Dream Symbols: A Biblical Guide to Your Dreams and Visions by Dr. Joe Ibojie 

Dr. Ibojie was trained as a medical doctor and worked with Army Medical Service. He later became an ordained Pentecostal Minister.  A bishop and pastor both supply introductions.

My namesake, Joseph, was an expert on dreams in biblical Egypt. Dreams are an important part of many bible stories.  This is a Bible based analysis of dreams and visions for Christian readers or those open to the wisdom of Christianity.  

Possible Problems: Some found this too stridently Christian.  

[6]  The Neuroscience of Sleep and Dreams by Patrick McNamara

Patrick McNamara, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Neurology. His research focuses on sleep and dreams, psychology of religion and brain and cognition.

This book provides a complete introduction to the neuroscience of sleep and dreams in plain English.  The author provides up to date discoveries on the science of sleep and dreams.  The evolutionary and social background of sleep are emphasized.  

Possible Problems: A bit pricey.  Some editions have a very small font.  

[7]  The Psychology of Dreaming By Josie Malinowski

Josie Malinowski is a Lecturer in Psychology, who specializes in dream research. 

This book examines the last 100 years of dream research to provide an introduction to what happens in our minds when we sleep.  It discusses the role dreaming plays in memory, problem-solving, and processing emotions, and examines how trauma affects dreaming.  

Malinowski also covers lucid dreaming, precognitive dreams, and sleep paralysis nightmares, and questions like whether it will ever be possible for androids to dream. A full look at dreaming in a convenient small package (148 pages).  

Possible Problems: Too short and “pithy” to provide a complete look at all the topics covered. 

[8]  The Ultimate Dictionary of Dream Language by Briceida Ryan

Briceida Ryan has been a dream interpreter for over 30 years. She is also a health educator in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in California.  

This is the ultimate guide to your dreams with over 25,000 entries. Ryan covers every dream symbol and message imaginable – from sex and love, to lucid dreaming, nightmares, and intuitive and premonition dreams.  The author explains how dreams are sending messages about your past, present, and future that can help you in your waking hours

Possible Problems: So many entries provide a quantity over quality problem with many entries not providing much depth; some arbitrary sounding conclusions on meanings of dreams.  

[9]  The Oracle of Night: The History and Science of Dreams by Sidarta Ribeiro

Sidarata Ribeiro is Brazilian professor of neuroscience with a PhD in animal behavior. 

“The Oracle of Night makes a resounding case for the mystery, beauty and cognitive importance of dreams.”  [New York Times]  This book takes the reader on a tour from cave paintings to the latest research to provide a full history of the science of dreams.  

Possible Problems: Some of the analysis of the history of dreaming is speculative.  A few readers also did not like the style of writing, calling it a “slog.”  

[10]  Dreaming: A Very Short Introduction by John Allan Hobson 

J. Allan Hobson is a Harvard psychiatrist.  He has written many books on dreaming and other psychiatry related books such as Out Of Its Mind: Psychiatry In Crisis.  

This is a good addition to the “very short introduction” series that provides a summary of the science of dreaming while also addressing dream interpretation.  

Possible Problems: Too short; not enough dream analysis for those looking for that.


[11]  The Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Symbols, Signs, and Meanings by J.M. DeBord

The author aka RadOwl is the creator of Dream, where more than 2,000 students in 200 countries have taken his online courses in dream interpretation.

This dictionary brings a deep and rich understanding to a variety of images, signs, and symbols found in our dreams.  It examines how our dreams affect our day-to-day lives.  Robert Waggoner calls it a “handy reference for those completely befuddled by their dreams.”  

[12]  Psychology of the Unconscious by Carl Jung

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychologist, founder of Analytic Psychology, and a close collaborator of Sigmund Freud.  Jung later disagreed with Freud’s views in various respects.

This book is Jung’s famous work and provides evidence of his break from Freud.  Freud was more concerned with the problems of the mind.  Jung studied dreams, mythology, and literature to better understand the human mind.  This is a classic of dream studies.  

[13]  The Dream Interpretation Handbook: A Guide and Dictionary to Unlock the Meanings of Your Dreams by Karen Frazier

Karen Frazier is the author of books about metaphysics, crystal healing, energy healing, dream interpretation, and the paranormal.  

This handbook allows you to decipher the meaning of your dreams and use them to make changes in your waking life.  It has descriptions of over 100 symbols―like elephants, money, and loved ones―and what they represent.  A helpful way to examine the spiritual and psychological implications of dreams in a way that leads to practical benefits.  

[14] Llewellyn’s Complete Dictionary of Dreams: Over 1,000 Dream Symbols and Their Universal Meanings by Dr. Michael Lennox

Dr. Michael Lennox is a practicing psychologist and one of the most respected and sought after dream interpreters in the United States.  This dictionary has over a thousand cross-referenced dream symbols and their meanings to assist you in analyzing your unconscious mind.  The symbols provide guidance to build creativity, growth, and understanding.  

[15]  Sylvia Browne’s Book of Dreams by Sylvia Browne with Lindsay Harrison

Bestselling author and world-renowned psychic Sylvia Browne shows how our dreams influence everything from our memories to our health and well-being to our relationships.  This is not a dream dictionary.  It provides a means to study your dreams and how they can improve our lives.  She also explains how dreams can be a window to connect with the afterlife.  

[16] Children’s Dreams: Understanding the Most Memorable Dreams and Nightmares of Childhood by Kelly Bulkeley and Patricia M. Bulkley

Kelly Bulkeley is the author of several books on psychology, religion, and dreams. Patricia M. Bulkley is a former Interfaith Spiritual Services Director and teacher.  

This book studies the dreams of children and teens, showing how dreams can advance the healthy growth of every child’s mind and imagination.  This is a good book to help understanding and communication between parents and their children.  

[17] The Young Adult’s Guide to Dream Interpretation Learn What Your Dreams Mean By K.O. Morgan

K.O. Morgan has written multiple books about interpreting dreams.  This book is geared to young adults, though in language accessible for all ages.  

Morgan provides information regarding over  1,000 symbols and situations that appear most commonly in dreams. The book also addresses paranormal dreams, extrasensory perception, deja vu, and out-of-body experiences.

[18]  The Guided Dream Journal: Record, Reflect, and Interpret the Hidden Meanings in Your Dreams by Katherine Olivetti

Katherine Olivetti has psychoanalytic training in the Jungian tradition and is a licensed clinical social worker, family therapist, and life coach.

This journal, with a nicely colored cover, helps you record, explore, and reflect on the themes and symbols that appear in your nightly dreams.  It allows you to learn about the different types of dreams, provides a “dream escort” to record your dream journey, and a dream dictionary to understand over one hundred common symbols.  

[19]  The Dream Seekers: Native American Visionary Traditions of the Great Plains by Dr. Lee Irwin PH.D

Dr. Irwin is an expert on religious studies.  This book uses 350 visionary dreams from published and unpublished sources that span 150 years to describe the beliefs of Plain Indians. Dreams are an important part of Native American culture.  This book is a good introduction.  

[20]  The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

The author is founder and director of Ligmincha Institute, an organization dedicated to the study and practice of the teachings of the Bön tradition of Buddhism.  

Tibetan dream yoga has the goal of understanding the nature of mind or enlightenment itself.  This book gives detailed instruction for dream yoga, including how to dream lucidly. 


I hope you enjoy all these books about dreams.  Read all about dreams, daydream, and have nice dreams.  Dreams which now you will be better able to understand.