#BOOKS: AR Rahman book Notes of a Dream has been released

From being the sole breadwinner of his family as a child to winning the country an Oscar, Krishna Trilok’s biography is full of insights.

Oscar winning musician A.R. Rahman, whose biography “Notes
of a Dream: The Authorized Biography” of A.R. Rahman” was launched on Saturday,
November 3rd.

Rahman says the book has been a journey for him and took him
to those corners of his life which have remained candid for a long time.

Author Krishna Trilok in association with Landmark and
Penguin Random House, India has written the biographical book.

A journey for Rahman through this book

“‘Notes of a Dream’ has been a journey for me that took me to those corners of my life which have remained candid for a long time. The insightful conversations with Krishna Trilok have unravelled parts of my creative and personal life which are not known to many,” Rahman said in a statement.

He said the people who have showered their love and prayers
on him by loving his work humble him.

“Nothing could be possible without their acceptance. Hope
this book creates a sense of positivity, perseverance, and love among the
readers. It is an uplifting and balancing act of words put together in soothing
sentences by Trilok,” he added.

Trilok called it a magical journey as an author to be able
to tell the story of Rahman.

“Hearing this legend talk about so many parts of his professional and personal life, his way of looking at the world and the universe, the future, was a song in itself. This journey of making it happen was nothing short of a dream,” he added.

At the event, Rahman also thanked author Nasreen Munni Kabir, who wrote a book titled, A.R. Rahman: The Spirit of Music in 2011.

Before attending the book launch, Rahman was in Chennai for the trailer launch of 2.0, starring Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth, for which he has composed the music.

A R Rahman has earned various credits for his work, including six National Film Awards, two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, and fifteen Filmfare Awards, among many other accolades. 

Book review: Notes of a Dream by Krishna Trilok

 All my life, I had a choice of hate and love. I chose love. And I am here. God bless,” said Allah Rakha Rahman as he received his second Oscar, jointly with lyricist Gulzar, for Best Original Song for Jai ho from the film Slumdog Millionaire. Simple words, spoken from the heart, conveying volumes.

In Krishna Trilok’s authorised biography of A R Rahman, Notes of a Dream, it is anecdotes like these that give you a detailed understanding of an amazing personality. Rahman’s life has been one of both, severe hardships and spectacular triumph. The triumph happened because he did not allow life’s tribulations to knock him down, points out Trilok. Nine-year-old Dilip Kumar, as he was known then, could have turned bitter when he lost his father and was thrown into the deep end of earning a living after school hours, often losing his night’s sleep as he played delivery boy of his father’s musical instruments that were rented out to augment domestic income. He could have resented playing the keyboard at recording sessions when only 13, or composing advertising jingles while still in his teens, but he didn’t. Opting to love rather than hate, the diligent boy plunged himself into every activity with sincerity. Learning, creating at every stage, he became the best in every field, and by the time he was in his 20s, he had become one of the most sought-after music composers. This is what his biographer finds most inspirational.

Amongst filmmakers, Mani Ratnam was one of the early ones to enquire about ‘this boy’ who was creating a name for himself. Trilok’s recounting of how these two talents finally got together for Roja makes interesting and amusing reading. After dropping in at the music composer’s studio and listening to his music for several hours, Ratnam left without saying anything! Twenty-five years later, Ratnam revealed, “I was stunned… the music he played for me was fabulous!” But on that fateful day, AR, as he is popularly referred to, thought Ratnam would never come back.

Come back, he did, a few days later. With a decision to sign the young prodigy. “It was a decision that would end up altering the course of AR’s life, as well as Tamil, Indian and world music and cinema,” Trilok points out.

Roja rained awards but AR accepted them with equanimity. No going wild with jubilation. His sisters pointed out to Trilok that he accepted his success just as he had the hardships, believing that it was all part of the plan of a higher power.

“Indeed,” says Trilok, “AR’s positivity at this time was tied to a deep spiritual rootedness which came with his formal embracing of Islam… only days before the release of Roja.” AR, who was born as Dilip Kumar to Hindu parents, got drawn to Sufism after the death of his father. In a moment of deep introspection, he told Trilok, “I thought to myself, ‘What if I have this infinite source of strength and joy?’…that’s what Sufism and spirituality are to me. They are my fuel.”

If spirituality is AR’s fuel, his backbone during his growing years was his mother. It was she who made him give up studies to concentrate on music, who sold her jewellery to buy him a 16-track mixer-recorder for his studio, who bought rugs to clad its walls for better sound absorption, who had her son’s name changed to A R Rahman in the credits of Roja just before its release, who found a lovely bride for him who is as supportive of AR’s work as she is. His mother means the world to AR, and Trilok believes that Maa tujhe salaam, AR’s moving ode to his motherland, was sung so passionately because of its metaphor of a mother. “It is easy to view the track as AR’s tribute to Kareema Begum (his mother’s name after converting to Islam) as much as it was to his country,” opines Trilok.

The blurb on the cover of the book by Danny Boyle sums up AR’s personality rather aptly. “His talent is matched by his modesty and generosity,” states the director of Slumdog Millionaire.

Trilok’s book is studded with instances of all three qualities. While AR’s talent is acknowledged globally, his charitable deeds may not be known to too many outside Chennai. Trilok says his generosity is not a one-off activity but a constant and endless process. From giving opportunities to his staff to widen their horizons, to starting foundations for underprivileged children to learn music, to financing penniless, aged musicians, to setting up a state-of-the-art college of music and technology… A R Rahman is constantly devising means to share the bounty God has given him. Helping others to find a foothold is as important to this devout man as setting global benchmarks in music.

Being the son of Sharada and Trilok Nair, well-known advertising filmmakers and very dear friends of AR, no doubt gave the 23-year-old writer of this book easy access to AR’s family and friends. What emerges from his interactions is a rich tapestry with Allah Rakha Rahman at the centre, perfectionist, humorous, kind-hearted, uncompromising.

For fans who would want to know the where and how of A R Rahman’s work, the book is packed with information about it. It also tells the reader a lot about the evolution of music, advertising, and filmmaking in Chennai.


October 30, 2018

By Jeremy Reif, CRPS®, Financial Advisor and Owner of Point Wealth Management

Do you ever find yourself wondering where to start when planning for retirement? Between setting goals, choosing savings vehicles, determining how much you need to save, and just keeping up with everyday life, preparing for retirement can be overwhelming. At Point Wealth Management, our mission is to help you embrace financial independence and pursue retirement freedom. Whatever your ideal retirement looks like, we can walk you through the steps to you help get you there.

And now, we have another resource to help you get from point A to point B. It is with much excitement that I announce the release of my book,

Living The Retirement Dream: Financial Preparation To Last Through Your Golden Years



The reality is that retirement almost never goes as planned. You will always need income in retirement but, with rising inflation and healthcare costs, plus unexpected expenses, it may feel like you’ll never have enough. In this book, you will read about one client’s retirement journey, see their financial plan in action, and read about the advice they received.

Their story is an example of that of the many retirees that I have encountered in my career. As their lives moved forward, their retirement plan needed to adjust and transform to keep up. Retirement planning is not a one-time deal. Many people desire to keep costs down and tackle the retirement planning process on their own, but the advice of experienced professionals that can make all the difference in your retirement. Throughout this book, you will find advice and tips to help you avoid common mistakes. My goal is to educate you and help you set up your retirement distributions to meet your retirement goals, taking market cycles into account.

The real-life examples you will read about will help you as a current retiree or soon-to-be-retiree understand what money truly means to you and what it can do for you. This perspective goes beyond spreadsheets of day-to-day fixed expenses and budgeting and looks at the things that give you purpose in life, because these are what will help you pursue your ideal retirement.

Living The Retirement Dream: Financial Preparation To Last Through Your Golden Years

is now available on



Before, during, or after reading, I invite you to reach out to me if you have any questions about retirement, your financial opportunities, and what steps you need to take to work toward your goals. Call me at 715-870-2450 or use my online calendar to

schedule an appointment to meet me virtually.


Jeremy Reif is an independent financial advisor with more than a decade of experience in the financial services industry. He is also the owner of Point Wealth, LLC, an independent financial planning and investment management firm. With advanced credentials and training in retirement planning and financial planning, Jeremy focuses on helping individuals and families pursue financial independence. Regardless of the services he’s providing, he focuses on talking openly about financial planning, the industry, common questions about retirement planning, and more to help everyday investors gain more confidence in their financial opportunities. Based in Wausau, Wisconsin, Jeremy serves clients throughout the state and can work virtually with clients throughout the country. To learn more, visit

and connect with


on LinkedIn.

Investment Advisory Services offered through Retirement Wealth Advisors, (RWA) a Registered Investment Advisor. Point Wealth Management, TCM, and RWA are not affiliated. Securities offered through TCM Securities, Inc. Members FINRA-SIPC. Material discussed is meant for general/informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary, therefore, the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Diversification does not ensure against loss.

Breeders’ Cup: Brian Ellison eyes winning end to Mackem Bullet dream | Sport

Racehorses can take their owners and trainers on some unlikely expeditions but there are few in recent memory to match the journey with The Mackem Bullet that has carried Brian Ellison all the way to the Breeders’ Cup in Kentucky. “This is the dream,” he said on Wednesday as he watched her exercise on the track. “You stand here and watch all these beautiful horses, they’re the best of the best, and it’s nice to have one with a really good chance.”

The Mackem Bullet cost only £9,000 as a yearling, and made her debut in front of 1,000 paying spectators at Carlisle in May. She started at 22-1 and finished sixth. Just over five months later, she will go into the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Churchill Downs, a million-dollar race at one of the sport’s most famous and iconic venues.

Ellison started out as a trainer nearly 30 years ago, with three horses in his yard. In recent years he has been more closely associated with jumping horses, including the high-class chaser Definitly Red, who is due to run in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday. He is very much a dual-purpose trainer, however, whose big-race wins include the Ebor Handicap in 2011 with Moyenne Corniche, but a victory for The Mackem Bullet on Friday would trump anything Ellison has achieved to date, under either code.

“I can’t take the credit for buying her,” Ellison said. “That was the [former] owner [Brian Robe], who bought her at Doncaster at the back-end of the sale, sheer luck really.

“That first run was about getting to know her but every run since she’s improved on, and her last two runs [when narrowly beaten in both the Lowther Stakes and Cheveley Park Stakes] have been amazing. She didn’t come down the hill [in the Cheveley Park] and Oisin [Murphy] says that if she had, she’d have won. She’s game and all heart and Oisin says she’s crying out for further, so I hope he’s right.”

Ellison’s journey with The Mackem Bullet will end on Friday, as Robe sold his filly to the leading Japanese breeder Katsumi Yoshida before her run at Newmarket, and she will race in the US next season before retiring to the paddocks. Win or lose, though, she has already underlined Ellison’s reputation as one of the best dual-purpose trainers in the business.

“We’ve been training 28 years and it’s been very up and down,” Ellison said, recalling the first decade of his career when he struggled to reach double figures for winners under either code. “But in the last few years it’s really picked up. I’ve got a good family behind me and the yard’s like a family too. It’s just down to graft, that’s all it is.”

Will graft have its reward on Friday evening? There are obvious reasons for doubt, as The Mackem Bullet (8.00) is stepping up two furlongs in trip on rain-softened ground. Her rating, though, suggests she is a match for anything in the field, which is only to be expected given her form in a Group One last time, while Murphy’s confidence in her ability to last home is infectious. At 14-1, she looks an outstanding each-way bet to bring her journey from Carlisle to Kentucky to a memorable conclusion.

Elsewhere on the Friday card, the new Juvenile Turf Sprint looks tailor-made for the Europeans and Archie Watson’s Soldier’s Call (7.21), another of Murphy’s fine book of rides at the meeting, could be the one to take advantage. Line Of Duty (9.22) is still improving and has a big chance for Charlie Appleby in the Juvenile Turf, while Sippican Harbour (8.40) and Game Winner (10.05) stand out in the Juvenile Fillies’ and the Juvenile respectively.

Newmarket 12.30 Battle For Glory 1.05 Madkhal 1.40 Kurious (nb) 2.15 Livvys Dream (nap) 2.50 Graceful Lady 3.25 Hawridge Flyer 4.00 Mr Top Hat

Uttoxeter 12.55 Wenceslaus 1.30 Executive Capilano 2.05 Mystical Clouds 2.40 Claimantakinforgan 3.15 Mr Mafia 3.50 Dawnieriver 4.20 Simply Loveleh

Wetherby 1.20 Askari 1.55 Poetic Rhythm 2.30 Cracker Factory 3.05 Copain De Classe 3.40 Storm Rising 4.10 Denmead

Kempton Park 5.45 Poppy May 6.15 Mums Hope 6.45 Silverturnstogold 7.15 Cuillin 7.45 Envoy 8.15 Danecase 8.45 Charlie Alpha 9.15 Avon Green

Churchill Downs 7.21 Soldier’s Call 8.00 The Mackem Bullet 8.40 Sippican Harbour 9.22 Line Of Duty 10.05 Game Winner

Tips by Greg Wood

Dream Ambassador ‘Job’ For Oakdale Seventh Grader

Some might say Maya Baza is living a
“dream year.” In the day and age of celebrities, with adults and children alike
proclaiming living their “best life,” the Oakdale 12-year-old is well on her

Maya, an Oakdale Junior High School seventh
grader, was named one of six winners earlier this year in a “Dream Big”
Competition hosted by Claire’s, a worldwide fashion jewelry and accessory

“It was what your dream is when you grow
up and how would you achieve that dream,” Maya said of the online competition.

Participants submitted writings based on
a list of questions, as well as a video submission.

A total of six young women from
thousands of submissions were chosen, three from the United States and three
from the United Kingdom.

“My dream is to become a pastry chef,”
Maya said, recalling little of what she actually wrote in the spring, but much
of what transpired after learning she was a winner.

As reward for her submission and to kick
off her position as a Claire’s Brand Ambassador, Maya, along with her mother
Sarah Walther were flown to Los Angeles. The all-expense paid five day trip
included hotel and accommodations, shopping, fun with her fellow winners, as
well as photo shoots and the Claire’s Dream Big Awards.

“It was a private event at the Beverly
Hills Hotel,” Maya said of the awards event.

“They paid for everything,” mom Sarah shared
of the memorable experience with her daughter. “We didn’t spend a penny.”

“Claire’s also had a pajama party with
the six of us and three social media influencers,” Maya stated of spending time
with her fellow winners. The event doubled as a photo shoot, which may be used
at a later date for promotional graphics on the Claire’s Style Book website or
in stores.

In addition to being named a brand ambassador,
Maya was also asked to be a part of the Cybersmile Foundation collaborating to
prevent cyber bullying.

“I was chosen as one of the Dream Big
Ambassadors for the Cybersmile Foundation,” she said, noting that in her
writings/blog entries she encourages kids to speak up when bullied.

It’s not all work and no fun for the
seventh grader, however. She regularly receives packages of current merchandise
from the accessory retail store. Most recently one package contained a mermaid
costume and accompanying accessories. The request that came along with the
product … simple; bake up three original Halloween-themed cakes, write a blog
about her creations and submit to Claire’s with photos for the website.

As both a typical tween girl, as well as
a lover of all things baking, this hardly felt like work.

“I just really love baking a lot,” Maya
said of the recent assignment, as well as the cakes she created herself.

“My favorite thing to bake is triple
chocolate chunk cookies,” Maya shared.

That comes from a recipe she created
herself at the age of eight and has “tweeked” a few times. The recipe includes
semi sweet, white and milk chocolate chips. She and her mother further shared,
nothing is ever written down, but rather committed to memory.

Maya describes the overall experience as
both fun and rewarding.

Now with that support, some fun exposure
and a bright future ahead of her, the 12-year-old has her eyes set on pursuing
her dream.

“I would describe myself as determined,”
she said. “I’ve applied for the Kids Baking Championship Show two years in a
row now and I keep trying. I’ve been baking since I was four years old and by
five I was baking independently.”

Getting to bake as part of her
ambassador ‘job’ is truly icing on the cake.

“I feel happy about it,” she said of
being selected. “I feel really happy and I feel inspired to go achieve my
dream, because I know there’s so many people supporting me now. I also like it
because I’ve made some lifelong friends that I’m best friends with now.”

Game of Thrones ending: George RR Martin’s revealed how ASOIAF ends? | Books | Entertainment

With The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring to go, the ending of A Song of Ice and Fire is still years away.

Nevertheless, the TV show finishes next year and is expected to have a similar ending to Martin’s novels.

Fans have long been speculating who will fulfil the prophecy of Azor Ahai, the hero who ended the Long Night thousands of years ago.

He had a sword called Lightbringer which may be key in defeating the White Walkers.

But could Jon Snow be Azor Ahai and take the Iron Throne at the end of A Song of Ice and Fire?

One fan reckons this has already been revealed in the latest Game of Thrones book, A Dance with Dragon.

Reddit user LadyBethOfHouseStark quoted chapter 32 of the novel.

The fan quoted: “Melissandre is looking into the flames for a sign of Stannis’ well-being, and all she keeps seeing is Jon Snow.

“I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.

They added: “Thoughts? If R’hllor is the one true god, didn’t we just get the answer to the ending of the books?”

What’s concerning, however, is that Azor Ahai had to empower Lightbringer by stabbing his lover Nissa Nissa, in the heart.

Now if Winds of Winter and its follow up, A Dream of Spring, have a similar pattern to the Game of Thrones TV show – which is ahead of book’s narrative – then Jon will end up involved romantically with Daenerys.

If this is the case and Jon is Azor reborn, then it looks very likely that he will have to slaughter his lover – who’s also his auntie, let’s not forget.

Perhaps Daenerys will sacrifice herself so that Jon’s magic sword can be lit on fire to defeat the White Walkers and save Westeros?

The Winds of Winter will hopefully be released in 2019.

Review: Lina Iris Viktor’s ‘A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred’ | Events coverage

The Republic of Liberia was intended to be a home for formerly enslaved people, and the U.S. officially recognized it during the Civil War. British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor’s work recalls its history as an offshoot of the American abolitionists’ romantic vision of a “Libyan Sibyl” — a mythic prophetess of the slave trade. In her mixed-media works, Viktor not only invokes the arcane mysteries of the past but also, using herself as a model, morphs into a modern, time-transcending sibyl who embodies an Afro-futurist notion of boundless possibility. Civilization began in Africa, and if Viktor’s gilded baroque invocations of deeply personal possibility recall Austrian maestro Gustav Klimt’s use of gold as an elemental agent of timelessness, her imagery’s roots in the Egyptian Book of the Dead suggest a vision in which time becomes an infinitely variable color on the artist’s palette, a form of energy that transcends traditional limits through the sheer force of artistic imagination.

Unfettered imagination and intuition were the babies postmodernism unintentionally threw out with the bathwater, but Viktor’s exhibit of 11 large works in the atrium lobby of the New Orleans Museum of Art conveys a sense of boundless resourcefulness in works like “Eleventh” (pictured), in which the artist’s retro-Egyptian pose appears integrated into a Liberian tribal map where geographical forms meld seamlessly with the patterns of the African fabrics she wears. In “First” she reticently gazes backward at a floral grid that looks like a trellis in which time appears as an organic efflorescence. In “Fourth” she appears as a mythic being who merges the gilded formalism of ancient Egypt with the infinitely shimmering depths of the sub-Saharan world. Sir David Adjaye, who consulted on New Orleans’ Crescent Park and was the lead architect for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, recently said about Viktor that her work “crosses confidently across a landscape of science, technology, culture and identity with a timeless elegance and a casual defiance that is definitively modern.”

Through Jan. 6, 2019. New Orleans Museum of Art, 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, (504) 658-4100; www.noma.org.

Library to host “Dream Gathering”

BAR HARBOR — Twenty years ago, a ranger at Acadia National Park released her first book in the “Green Rider” series. A series of events at the Jesup Memorial Library next week help commemorate the anniversary.

On Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m., composer Kristina A. Bischoff and photographer Madeline Shayne will explain how they used Kickstarter to raise $99,297 to create the “Green Rider” soundtrack and photo book based on the Kristen Britain novel of the same name.

Bischoff and Shayne originally set out to raise $30,000 to fund their project and set $60,000, $90,000 and $120,000 goals. For each goal they reached more incentives were added on top of the regular incentives they gave to the backers of their project. The $90,000 goal allowed them to record the CD with a full orchestra and choir. After they met their goal in May, they released the full album in September.

Bischoff is a composer and 3-time nominee for Best Music in Utah Film/Music Awards. She has written music for Salt Lake Pops, Pretty Darn Funny web-series, commercials for businesses, and alternative pop artists including Robyn Cage

Shayne is a fine art photographer and artist. Her work has appeared in several online and offline publications, including Duende Magazine, Boston Voyager Magazine, Blacksburg Belle, and Whim Magazine. Her work is influenced by her love of fantasy, the natural world and couture fashion.

This event is part of the “Dream Gathering” weekend to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publishing of Kristen Britain’s “Green Rider.”

Contact the Jesup at 288-4245.

Author talk

Author Kristen Britain will give a book talk and reading Saturday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. to mark the release of the next book in the series.

Britain will share memories of creating Green Rider, answering questions, and reading from “The Dream Gatherer.” The newest book includes a novella and two short stories set in the universe of the Green Rider series.

For the event, the Jesup will be turned into Professor Berry’s library from the books. “Explore the wonders of Professor Berry’s library and examine the many arcane artifacts that have been collected from the land of Sacoridia and beyond,” event organizers said. “Costumes are welcome, but not required.”

Contact the Jesup at 288-4245.

Why do I always have the same stress dream? | MNN

My very first job was working at a Blockbuster. It also ended up being by third job.

It’s been around 10 years since I last scanned a bar code on a DVD rental case or explained that, no, a Blu-Ray disc will not play in a DVD player, yet I still dream about Blockbuster. It’s the same dream every time: It’s always closing time, but I can’t get the door to lock and customers keep coming into the store, and they’re renting a ton of movies, so there’s always a lot of scanning to do. Sometimes the scanner gun stops working, so I have to find another one and, naturally, I can’t.

I normally wake up from this dream, which just tapers off, feeling incredibly anxious and stressed because the dream is weirdly intense. And also because it’s been a decade since I even worked at Blockbuster. So why am I still dreaming about it?

Common dream feelings

A man covers his face while in bed
Dreams with negative emotions are very common. (Photo: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock)

Anxiety dreams, like my Blockbuster experience, differ from nightmares in that they don’t cause you to wake up; they just increase your stress level, according to Vice. (But maybe if one of those scanner guns turned into a piranha …) Like nightmares, however, anxiety dreams still kick in during REM sleep.

That I have anxiety-inducing dreams isn’t particularly rare. In fact, most recorded dreams involve some type of negative emotion. Dr. Michael Nardoff, a clinical psychologist speaking to Vice, explained that more than half of all dreams involve some kind of negative emotion, regardless of if we remember them or not. Historical data backs this up. The 1966 book “The Content Analysis of Dreams” found that one-third of dreams contained some kind of “misfortune,” with 80 percent of men and 77 percent of women experiencing dreams with some kind of “negative element.”

Given the time the book was written, that isn’t too surprising. Between the Cold War and political turmoil, people in the late ’60s had reasons to be anxious. We’re not too different now. The World Health Organization reports that there was a 50 percent increase in the amount of people with depression or anxiety between 1990 and 2013. The upside is that general anxiety isn’t necessarily going to result in more anxious dreams.

“It’s not just being more anxious that makes you likely to have anxious dreams,” Antonio Zadra, a psychologist, told The Guardian. “It’s being more anxious and finding yourself in a stressful situation.”

Of course, anxiety dreams can make you feel more stressed when you’re awake, too, leading to a vicious cycle of being stressed regardless of when you’re awake. It could cause you to avoid sleep altogether, and the result can be ill effects of chronic unrest. This can include REM rebound, where your brain prioritizes REM sleep and induces it sooner in the sleep cycle. This can, as Vice notes, result in more bad dreams than usual.

How to relax the grip of stress dreams

So what’s an anxious dreamer to do? It depends on who you ask.

1. Try image rehearsal therapy (IRT). This process requires you to write out your stress dream and alter it in ways that make it less negative. This process is to be done several times a day for 10 to 20 minutes, according to recommendations published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. IRT “acts to inhibit the original nightmare, providing a cognitive shift that empirically refutes the original premise” of the dream.

While IRT is recommended for helping to alleviate nightmares, it could easily help alter the flow of anxiety dreams. For instance, I could rewrite my Blockbuster dream so that the door locks. This might simply stop the dream in its tracks.

A woman speaks with a psychologist
Speaking with a therapist about your dreams can help you process them or improve your sleep. (Photo: Stock-Asso/Shutterstock)

2. Don’t do anything. Provided the dreams aren’t truly causing you too much distress, you may just want to allow the dreams to run their course. According to The Guardian, psychoanalysts could see something like IRT “as a contamination of good material” that could lead to a better understanding of what’s happening in your brain and your life. Indeed, a Jungian psychologist told The New York Times that changing up a dream robs the dreamer of an “opportunity to really get some meaning out of it.”

3. Address the potential root cause. Perhaps better considered as a continuation of not doing anything, figuring out what’s happening in your life to trigger the dream could stop it from happening.

Given that my dream occurs in the first job I ever had, I’ve always assumed that the dream was connected to some kind of professional stress, whether it be that I felt I wasn’t doing a good enough job, or not taking enough breaks or something else along those lines. I’m keeping an eye on that idea, to see if there’s a connection between a tense day at work and a recurrence of the dream. But unless the scanner gun really does turn into a piranha in one of my dreams, I think I will let this dream run its course.

Why do I always have the same stress dream?

Anxiety dreams can haunt our sleeping and waking hours, but there are steps you can take to reduce their effects.

Graphic novels: What are graphic novels? Recommended titles.

The book marketplace is exploding with graphic novels, a catch-all term for books with amazing illustrations and often more pictures than text.

They’re not comic books, though the words and images are contained in panels, much like the comic books of old.

They’re also not just for kids. New York Times best-selling author Jarrett J. Krosoczka wrote his memoir in the only way he knew how — through illustrations. His “Hey, Kiddo,” written about growing up with his mother’s drug addiction, was named a finalist for the YA National Book Award the day after it was published earlier this month.


Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s “Hey, Kiddo,” about growing up with his mother’s drug addiction, was named a finalist for the YA National Book Award.


And this week, a graphic version of the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” will be published, with Harper Lee’s words adapted and illustrated by British artist Fred Fordham.

In other words, graphic novels are expanding in expression, subject and form. With so much innovation, I’ve been taking a second look at them, examining new books to better understand the genre.

I think of the child I knew who was not an impassioned reader until he discovered graphic novels. He consumed them until he was told by his teacher that this genre didn’t count for assignments. Attention teachers and parents: know that graphic novels are real reading.

Graphic novels provide visually rich literary adventures, requiring the reader’s skill of blending image and text. They have captured many young people who were previously non-readers.

Here’s a look at some frequently asked questions about graphic novels, and some of my recent favorites.

Who are graphic novels for?

One of the wonders of this genre of is how it reaches young children, young adults and adults. Graphic novels come in fiction and non-fiction, retellings, memoir and more. Some tones are slapstick while others are serious. The range and experience is wide and wonderful. These two titles show the range of reading levels they can reach.

“Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths,” by Graham Annable (First Second, ages 5-8) is for younger readers. This early graphic novel follows the friendship of two very different sloths. When they watch clouds together, Ernesto “likes this piece of sky” but “wants to see ALL of the sky!” He takes on travel challenges with aplomb, but misses Peter. Peter misses his best friend Ernesto and is desperate to reunite, but he approaches travel with nerves aplenty. Missing each other, the two have their own adventures until they reconnect, and celebrate their differences and their friendship.

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“Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths,” by Graham Annable.

First Second

Both words and pictures are simple, and together they work well for an early reader. This graphic novel can serve as a dramatic vehicle for shared reading when adults and children take on the different roles.

“Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide,” by Isabel Quintero (The Paul Getty Museum, ages 12 to adult). This non-linear biography of the famous Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide blends Quintero’s lyrical writing, Zeke Pena’s gray-scale illustrations and Iturbide’s own photographs. Together, these portray important events in her life and her gift for creating vivid reality-bending images of life around her. Mixed media and combinations of unique styles honor the photographer with surprising twists on a traditional biography. It captures Iturbide’s views of the world, art, richness of Mexico’s indigenous peoples and the landscapes that nurtured the artist and her work.


“Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide” by Isabel Quintero.

Harry N. Abrams

What is a graphic novel?

“Graphic novel” has become a broad term. Many new picture books, called hybrids, have a strong graphic component, but aren’t considered graphic novels by definition. These two books for younger children define the difference.

“Baby Monkey Private Eye,” by Brian Selznick (Scholastic, ages 4-8). This 200-page book weds words and illustrations, humor and simplicity in a book for new readers who seek the accomplishment of finishing a longer book. Five chapters follow a simian sleuth as he takes a similar path to solving each of his cases. The emphasis is more on process than solution, specifically the silly ways he puts on his pants. Pages are filled with parent-pleasing references (all revealed in the index). Predictable patterns support new readers, and there’s a pitch-perfect twist at the end.


“Baby Monkey Private Eye,” by Brian Selznick.


“Smiley’s Dream Book,” by Jeff Smith (Graphix, ages 3-6). Unlike “Baby Monkey,” this is composed with graphic novel conventions of panels and dialogue balloons. For almost three decades, Smith has been publishing graphic novels. His popular “Bone” series was first created for adults, but newer incarnations have been for 7- to 10-year-olds. There’s a new spin-off for younger audiences starring Bone’s cousin, Smiley Bone, whose first picture book in the series is “Smiley’s Dream Book.” This fantastical book shows Smiley’s vivid imagination. His attention is caught in counting brightly colored birds. He rises, flies along with them happily until being frightened by a bird of prey. And then he wakes from this dream.


“Smiley’s Dream Book,” by Jeff Smith.


How do I choose an age appropriate graphic novel?

Graphic novels are accessible to even advanced young readers. However, the content is less easy to define in terms of appropriate age levels. I suggest parents read the books first. Know that more sophisticated concepts will not harm children, but may go right over the heads of those who aren’t developmentally ready for them. That said, adults should decided what content they’re comfortable having their children read, particularly with serious issues like gun violence.


“The Prince and the Dressmaker,” by Jen Wang.

First Second

“The Prince and the Dressmaker,” by Jen Wang (First Second, ages 10-14). Hard-working seamstress Frances has dreams of working on costuming for the Paris Ballet, but how will her talents ever be discovered? The path unfolds — in a series of frames that are dark with muted colors — when a mysterious stranger transports her blindfolded to a palatial home. But when the seamstress learns this home belongs to Prince Sebastian, her creative journey begins, and the book’s tone changes, too. The graphic format and color choices add humor to the plot and accent the romantic setting world where Frances’ vivid gowns find fame. Children will understand this book and the expressive characters in different ways. It’s a story of friendship, prejudice, self-expression, self-acceptance and making dreams come true. Inherent, but less stressed, are themes of gender and sexual identity.


“The Cardboard Kingdom,” by Chad Sell.


“The Cardboard Kingdom,” by Chad Sell (Knopf; ages 6-10). The characters of this graphic novel are diverse in color, gender preference and roles, class and culture. The beauty of this book is that none of these facets are emphasized. Stress is on the individual powerful choices that a crew of neighborhood children make when designing cardboard costumes that fit their inner characters. Jack is happy in his evil sorceress gown. Sophie is only temporarily stopped by her Latina grandmother before she allows herself the pleasure of transforming into “Big Banshee.” Diversity shows up too, in the ways these children interact. As colorful illustrations switch between their fantastical imaginings and reality, plot lines grow and tangle and teach without preaching the complexities of life.

More graphic novel recommendations

Here are other suggestions for new graphic novels, comics or hybrids in fiction and nonfiction.

Books for children ages 4-7

“Good Rosie!” by Kate Dicamillo (Candlewick). A hybrid books meets first reads in this early chapter story of a lonely dog who learns to make canine friends.


“Good Rosie!” by Kate Dicamillo.


Popular series: Tedd Arnold’s “Noodleheads” (Holiday House); Aaron Blabey’s “The Bad Guys” (Scholastic); James Kochalka’s “Johnny Boo”; Dav Pilkey’s “Dogman” (Graphix); Dana Simpson’s “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” (Andrews McMeal); Ashley Spires’ “Binky” (Kids Can Press)

Books for ages 7-10

“Tom’s Midnight Garden: A Graphic Adaptation of the Philippa Pearce Classic,” by Philippa Pearce and Edith (Greenwillow). Color changes reflect Tom’s world transformation from dull to magical when he discovers an enchanted garden and a sweet friendship with a girl from the past.

Updated classics: Hope Larson’s “A Wrinkle In Time” (FSG); Stephanie Melchior-Durand’s “The Golden Compass” series (Knopf); Mariah Marsden’s “Anne of Green Gables” series (Andrews McMeel); Robert Venditti’s “Percy Jackson” series (Disney/Hyperion).


“The Witch Boy,” by Molly Ostertag.

Graphix, Scholastic

“The Witch Boy,” by Molly Ostertag (Graphix, Scholastic). Aster, a young man who is supposed to be a shapeshifter, is more drawn to witchcraft. Gender roles, prejudice and self-discovery are defined with clear panels, subtle hues, emotive expressions and well-chosen typefaces.

Popular series: Fajardo Alexis’ “Kid Beowulf” series (Andrews McMeel); Barry Deutsch’s “Wings of Fire” series (Graphix); Raina Telemier’s “Smile” and “Sisters” companion books (Graphix); Ursula Vernon’s “Hamster Princess” series (Dial); Science Comics created by various authors (First Second); Judd Winick’s “Hilo” books (Random House).

Books for ages 10-12

“All’s Faire in Middle School,” by Victoria Jamieson (Dial). The author of “Roller Girl” views Imogene’s entry into middle school and how she juggles this new identity with her Renaissance Faire persona.

“Be Prepared,” by Vera Brosgol (First Second). The award-winning graphic novelist pens a story based on her pre-teen experiences at a Russian-American summer camp. Brosgol places a cartoonish version of herself in a realistic setting in a way that emphasizes humor and heart.


“All’s Faire in Middle School,” by Victoria Jamieson.


“Making Friends,” by Kristen Gudsnuk (Scholastic). In this new series, the author-artist depicts friendship’s ups and downs with the intriguing element of a magic sketch book.

“Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter,” by Marcus Sedgwick (First Second). Twists and turns abound as this strong, orphaned, monster-fighting heroine struggles to save her city in this series start.

Popular series: Faith Hicks’ “The Nameless City” series (First Second); Barry Lyga’s “The Flash” series (Amulet)

Graphic novels for YA readers

“All Summmer Long,” by Hope Larson (FSG). Bina and Austin, best friends since babyhood, face changes as they grow up. Musical themes and expressive panels mark their coming of age.

“Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World,” by Penelope Bagieu (First Second, ages 13 and up). These 29 biographies from the French cartoonist have a cumulative power that transcends boundaries of time, race, region and race.


“Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World” is a graphic novel by French cartoonist Penelope Bagieu. These 29 biographies have a cumulative power that transcends boundaries of time, race, region and race.

“Speak: The Graphic Novel,” by Laurie Halse Anderson, artwork by Emily Carroll (FSG). After almost 20 years, this popular award-winning story comes to graphic novel. Melinda’s life changes when she’s raped at a party, bullied by peers for calling the police and stops speaking. Carroll, known for her horror comics, uses gray-scale illustrations and a spare style to show the dulled, depressive and vulnerability Melinda experiences in school.

“The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees,” by Don Brown (HMH, ages 13 and up). This graphic novel begins in 2011 as young teens protest and follows them as Bashar al-Assad’s armies arrest and torture them. Brown relates history and events through emotive panels showing the horrific lives of refugees escaping Syria.

Popular series: Various authors’ Superheroes series (Marvel); Miles Morales series written by various authors (Marvel); Marissa Meyer’s “Wires and Nerves” (Square Fish).

Susie Wilde is a Chapel Hill-based writer. She can be reached through her website ignitingwriting.com.