What You Read When You’re Sick

Josie Leavitt -- February 10th, 2012

I have been sick this week. It’s the first time a long time I can remember being home for days on end with little energy to do anything productive. My reading tends towards dystopia and outdoor survival when I don’t feel well. I think perhaps it’s the struggle and triumph of others that makes me feel better, and the tension of day-to-day or moment-to-moment survival keeps me alert.

Currently, I’m reading a May galley by Dayna Lorentz called No Safety in Numbers.  The book follows four teens as they deal with a biological bomb that has gone off, threatening all the folks trapped in the mall. Each chapter is from a different point of view and this helps my clogged brain. I can focus on short, gripping chapters. The characters are well drawn and the situation seems all too plausible. It’s part of a trilogy, and I now find myself thinking about what’s going to happen next and hating that I have to wait.

The other book I’m reading just came out. Will Weaver’s The Survivors is the sequel to Memory Boy. Volcanoes have ruined the earth and Sarah and her brother, Miles, are doing their best to weather the violence brought on by the extreme living conditions. This is a gripping book that has been a delight to read while my sinuses keep a drumbeat in my head. And there’s something about that drumbeat that actually heightens the action.

Lastly, perhaps my favorite thing to read when I’m sick are my New Yorker cartoon collections. Currently, I’m going through the CDs that come with The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker. I have been working my way through all 60,000+ cartoons, focusing on the late 1980s. The cartoons, grouped by decade, really provide a humorous commentary on the history of the country.

So, while I sip yet another cup of Thera-Flu, I was wondering: what do other people read when they’re sick? And what do you recommend to customers who came in seeking books for sick family members?

9 thoughts on “What You Read When You’re Sick

  1. Jennifer

    I think you can’t beat a good romance when you’re sick. Especially the historical romances – women getting swept away to the castles of England and enjoying the illicit embraces of their lovers. It’s a lovely way to keep your mind off your running nose.

  2. Lauri

    I too, have been home sick this week. Somthing nasty has struck the nation, that is for certain. I am a big fan of rereading. When I am sick I reach for my main comfort book–Dune, by Frank Herbert or The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley. I have also been known to reread the entire Dick Francis series in order.

    Once while really sick (going through chemo) and too jittery to sit still and read, a friend brought me the complete short stories from Ray Bradbury on tape. “Dark they were, and golden-eyed.” It was magical.

  3. Silver

    Really big, long, epic fantasy. It must be unusual fantasy too – I’ve grown tired of “Hero defeates hoards of orcs/demons to save the world.” Depending on how sick I am, the weirder the better.
    The longer, the better. Since I am a fast reader, a long book ensures I am in bed for a while without having to get up….

  4. Ann Perrigo

    Time travel! It takes you some completely away from where you are. My favorites are by Connie Willis. I read The Doomsday Book when I was home with pneumonia–it felt like I was right there with them, experiencing The Plague!

  5. Fran Manushkin

    When I’m sick I listen to audios of books. I go to the Libravox Website which has out-of-copyright books read by volunteers. It’s free, and it’s how I finally “read” MIDDLEMARCH. I enjoyed GREAT EXPECTATIONS even more. I love the surprise of each chapter being read by a different reader.

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