Reading for the Sick Room

sick-momCan any one tell me why it is that a Summer cold always feels so much worse than one that you catch during the Winter? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you’re likely to be glad of an excuse to stay inside and cosset yourself when the wind and rain are doing their worst out of doors, whereas in the Summer months you are simply resentful of not being able to get out and about.  Whatever the reason I have woken up this morning with a dry throat, swollen glands and feeling dreadful.  There is absolutely no point in my trying to do anything profitable; it will only need doing again once I am well.  So, it’s a couple of days dozing in a chair punctuated by short bursts of re-reading for me.

When I’m not well I always seem to return to books that I’ve read in the past and which will therefore demand very little of me in the way of exercising any brain cells that haven’t already waved a white flag and surrendered in the face of the enemy. Often they will be children’s books that I knew and loved when I was teaching Children’s Literature.  In fact I think I am going to dig out my copies of Diana Wynne Jones’ novels and work my way through one or two of those.  But what do you turn to when the bugs have done their worst and you feel like nothing better than a weak and wimpy dishrag?  Even though I hope this isn’t going to be a protracted nor a recurring event, any suggestions would be very welcome.

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14 thoughts on “Reading for the Sick Room

  1. My comfort reading is almost always children’s literature, Peter Dickinson for instance but recently I’ve been reading the detectives: Rebus, Resnick, a genre completely neglected since girlhood. I’m intending to reread Allingham, Sayers and Ngaio Marsh sometime too. Elizabeth Goudge is a reliable pleasure too.

  2. Sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling unwell. I normally can’t read when I feel like that. I tend to go towards TV comedies and things on the radio. Sometimes I try an audio book, but I often find I just fall asleep listening to them when I’m ill. Hope you’re back to normal soon.

  3. Glad to hear you can still read. I can’t when I’m sick. My eyes water too much, and I end up re-reading the same page over and over again.

    Agreed – summer colds are 100x worse for the exact reason you mentioned. Feel better!

  4. I’m also sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. For me it’s the heat that makes summer colds worse, an extra layer of discomfort. I often go back to children’s books too, Louisa May Alcott & Laura Ingalls Wilder.

  5. Hope you feel better soon, Alex. I think it’s worse because you feel as if everyone else is outside having a wonderful time, even though they aren’t. No suggestions in the reading line to offer, I’m afraid. I usually have Radio 4 on low volume which helps send me to sleep.

  6. Sorry you are unwell! I think with summer colds there is no snuggling under blankets to get warm and cozy and hide from the world because it is just too warm. I usually can’t read when I am sick. I spend a lot of time sleeping and when I am awake watch movies or play computer games. I hope you feel better soon!

  7. Always something light and well-known for me – Georgette Heyer’s romances are my main comfort food for the brain. Or a weel-kent crime – like a Dalziel & Pascoe, or possibly a Rebus when I get to the recovery phase. Or an audio book of Jonathan Cecil reading Jeeves to me…

    Hope you feel better soon!

  8. I keep some books in my bedside table for when I don’t feel well enough to try anything else, and because some of them are romance novels that a friend brings over, I’m not tempted to read them when I am feeling well. The others are mostly mystery series novels that I know I will like because I’ve read the first few. There are some Laura Lippman Baltimore mysteries in there. A few Kage Bakers. And I noticed a Noel Streatfeild, which is a reread–so I’m stocked in case of the kind of flu that hits you suddenly.
    Summer colds really are a drag.

  9. I second the Noel Streatfeild recommendation. Or Edward Eager, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. Or I often reread Dorothy Sayers’s Harriet Vane mysteries when I’m feeling cruddy. But Diana Wynne Jones is one of my very good stand-bys for sick days. She wrote loads of books, too, so you always have plenty to choose from.

  10. How horrid for you — hope you feel better soon. I agree with everyone who says children’s literature. But I am also a fan of audio books, and find them very good when I haven’t even got the strength to read. My Audible app has a timer, so I set it for 15 minutes if I think I won’t make it past there before falling asleep!

    • Hope you feel better soon – summer colds certainly suck. I read short stories and essays and/or listen to audiobooks.

  11. Summer colds are awful. I agree with you and Stefanie – it’s not having the pleasure of snuggling up warm that makes them unredeemable. I tend to listen to audio books when I’m really poorly. I just love the old Paul and Steve Temple mysteries by Francis Durbridge. Only the ones dramatized in the 50s and 60s, though, with Marjorie Westbury and Peter Cook (the new ones aren’t anywhere near as good). I can practically quote them, now, I love them so. Do take care of you and feel better very soon!

  12. summer colds certainly are not much fun, I wonder if its because (in the UK at least) our summers are so short that we want to enjoy every minute and feel resentful when we’re stuck sniffling indoors. Now then, comfort reads you ask. Hm, that has me stuck. Other than Austen I don’t honestly think I have anything i always return to in those circumstances.

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