Thanks, but I’m fine. I caught up on reading my issues of Booklist recently, and Bill Ott (“The Back Page”) wrote a column that resonated with me. Titled “My Aching Back,” he writes that back trouble forced him to rerun a column from 1995 about books and movies that appeal when you’re sick in bed. Bill recommends avoiding ambiguity, human relationships, sex (doesn’t that fall under human relationships?), tricky camera angles, and Woody Allen. That got me thinking about what I read when I’m sick – I don’t watch much TV when I’m well, and when I’m sick, it seems to take too much effort.
At any rate, I have some standbys when I’m sick. I prefer books I’ve read – in some cases re-read many times – as I find it relaxing, and if I nod off, well, I’m not missing anything, am I?
- Agatha Christie – Easily available from the library and always entertaining. Plus, it’s always been so long since I last read them, that I rarely remember whodunnit.
- Janet Evanovich – I can honestly say that Evanovich is the only author who can make me laugh with a 101 degree fever and nausea. Stephanie PLum’s exploits are guaranteed to make me forget how lousy I feel.
- Guy Gavriel Kay – Kay’s fantasies are excellent, yet not as tiring as George R.R. Martin or J.R.R. Tolkien. Fewer characters and battles, perhaps?
- J.K. Rowling – Who doesn’t love a little Harry Potter when under the weather? Skip the last few books if feeling weak in the arms. 😉
- Stephanie Barron – While the divine Jane is always appropriate, in sickness and in health, once in a while I like to mix things up and enjoy Barron’s take on Jane herself as sleuth.
- Miss Read or Eve Houston/Evelyn Hood – Cozy villages make for comforting reading. (Patrick Taylor and Alexander McCall Smith might be good choices, too.)
Do you sense a pattern? Light, a little mystery to keep the attention, and compelling characters. You know, I feel great, but it *is* pretty hot out. Maybe I’ll get a glass of lemonade and a book…