The Book of Dreams and Ghosts - Andrew Lang Available here on Gutenberg.[As always, when this is on the currently reading shelf I'm not done and will continue adding bits to this. And it will continue to pop up again and again in your updates feed when I forget to check that "add to my updates box. Sorry 'bout that.]Because of the other work of Lang's (specifically the fairy tales) I've read I thought that this book would be a collection of stories. So far it appears to be an essay on dreams, ghosts and reality, with brief anecdotes/accounts here and there to illustrate a point. (I'm still just starting this so this could turn out to be a really long introduction.) This looks to be the book I'll slowly read, specifically before going to bed, as I've found that anything highly interesting/suspenseful/etc. will not make me at all sleepy. This is important as I've accidentally stayed up all night reading more than once. Random quotes:Noting this one because I had to immediately look something up (3% in): "...Arbuthnot, in his humorous work on Political Lying, commends the Whigs for occasionally trying the people with "great swingeing falsehoods." When these are once got down by the populace, anything may follow without difficulty. Excellently as this practice has worked out in politics (compare the warming pan lie of 1688), in the telling of ghost stories a different plan has its merits."Lang goes on to say that a narrator who begins with stories of the familiar and then goes on to those more incredible can make ghosts seem more possible. What did I have to look up? The warming pan comment of course!History link time! (Thanks to google of course.) The quote refers to Mary of Modena, and via that wikipedia link:"Born a princess of the Italian Duchy of Modena, Mary is primarily remembered for the controversial birth of James Francis Edward, her only surviving son. It was widely rumoured that he was a changeling, brought into the birth-chamber in a warming-pan, in order to perpetuate King James II's Catholic dynasty. Although the accusation was entirely false, and the subsequent privy council investigation only reaffirmed this, James Francis Edward's birth was a contributing factor to the Glorious Revolution. The revolution deposed James II and replaced him with his daughter from his first marriage Mary and her husband, William III of Orange."I do love immediate gratification. And knowing that in 1897 when this book was published apparently everyone would have understood the warming pan reference. Or so Lang thought, anyway.