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Marissa Lingen

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Sick reading [Jan. 4th, 2014|12:02 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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I have been shuffling and snozzling around the house this week with the cold my sister-in-law’s family had at Christmas, and I’m also at a point of increasing vertigo, with which the head congestion is not helping in the least. So naturally it seemed like the perfect time to talk about what I want to read when I’m different kinds of sick.


With a cold like this, when my head feels thick and stupid, I do not want a big chewy piece of nonfiction–in fact, I set aside the one I was reading when I came down with it and will go back to it later, because if there is ever a time for not trying to keep track of the Soviet takeover of various Polish community groups, it’s when you’re blowing your nose every five seconds. In contrast, when the vertigo is moderately bad, there is nothing for it like trying to keep track of things like that. Thick chewy nonfiction (that will last and not make me get up to get more) is just the thing for that kind of sick.


Moderately high fever sick calls for very vivid books. I read Sean Stewart’s Galveston with a moderately high fever, and honestly I recommend this course of action. It was quite good that way. (I checked later. It’s also good healthy.)


When the vertigo is catastrophically bad–when my work-arounds are not enough to work and I can’t do anythingreally–the right kind of books are rereads, because Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan and Mervyn Bunter hold still when the world will not.


But this kind of miserable dragging-on cold, with some vertigo, the best thing for this kind of sick is books by authors whose other works I have enjoyed, and not highly complicated ones, either. Much though I was enchanted by Aurorarama, I am leaving Luminous Chaos for when I feel better and will apprehend it properly. One of you lovely people sent me some Dodie Smith novels, and they have been just perfect. Mystery series would do beautifully, which reminds me of an email I should send, but things for which I have to go to the library are not really useful at the moment. So: rereads and known authors, not too horribly complicated but enough to be engaging. That’s where I am now.


What do you want to read when you’re sick?




Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: guppiecat
2014-01-04 05:50 pm (UTC)
I have Travel and Sick books.

In the Travel category, it's mostly books that I can stop reading at any time and not worry about having to go back to them. This is like the trash romance of scifi, mostly genre stuff.


In the Sick category:

* Life Classics - Not True Classics, these are books that I have read so often, I can re-read them while sick and still enjoy them.

* Mainstream Comic Books - I can't read true comic art (like Kabuki) while sick, but most things published by DC and Marvel work fine here.

* Finnegan's Wake. Yes, really. If I have a fever, I read Finnegan's Wake. Sometimes I read it out loud, to my cats. If they answer, it's a clue to go to the Doctor.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-01-04 05:52 pm (UTC)
I should think so! Everyone knows cats have a great deal more to say about The Dubliners.
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[User Picture]From: aedifica
2014-01-05 08:43 pm (UTC)
My travel books are anthologies, for a similar reason--there are lots of good stopping points, and I don't have to keep track of the thread of a novel for whenever I next pick up that travel book.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-01-04 06:41 pm (UTC)
Graphic novels seem like they would be great except for having to constantly get up to get more of them! Maybe if I sat down with an entire stack....
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[User Picture]From: alecaustin
2014-01-04 09:06 pm (UTC)
I suspect reading speed is a relevant factor here. (I have also, on occasion, reread entire manga series while sick.)
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[User Picture]From: vcmw
2014-01-04 09:04 pm (UTC)
If the fever is well over 102 for more than a day, I usually end up reading Nora Roberts or very low key regency romance.
In the dragging-on-cold phase I like to read upbeat urban fantasy or middle grade / YA fantasy, or things I loved as a kid and have half-memorized.
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From: sheff_dogs
2014-01-04 11:22 pm (UTC)
I am another reading books I loved as a child if I am very sick, some of which I would object to when well (the assumed politics being very much not mine).

If less sick as I am at the moment re-reading easy things like Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Dianna Wynne Jones or Nora Roberts. Or reading short stories from collections that won't have anything too unpleasant in them. And cookery books, they are safe and while I might be bemused by them there is a sense of order I find comforting when ill.

Basically nothing that requires a great deal of concentration.

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[User Picture]From: ethelmay
2014-01-04 11:45 pm (UTC)
Basically nothing that requires a great deal of concentration.

Yes. Which is why I personally can't do anything graphics-intensive when sick, because I process words much more automatically. Manga would be Right Out.
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[User Picture]From: athenais
2014-01-04 11:23 pm (UTC)
Sherwood Smith's Inda series, Georgette Heyer and Patrick O'Brian. Nothing else will do.
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[User Picture]From: mkille
2014-01-05 06:19 am (UTC)
To be honest, I less have books that I like to read when I am sick than books that I like to set beside me with every intention of reading when I am sick--and then falling asleep after reading only a couple pages, if I even get that far.

Hope the snozzliness passes!
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[User Picture]From: wshaffer
2014-01-05 08:42 am (UTC)
When I'm really sick, I often switch to audiobooks, so I can read with my eyes closed. It does introduce the problem of figuring out where you left off when you fall asleep and then try to pick up again.

I read a lot of mysteries when I'm feeling under the weather. Recently, I've been rounding out my acquaintance with British golden age mystery writers by reading some of Josephine Tey's Alan Grant novels (which on the whole I quite enjoy - she has a few odd social attitudes, but her plots are clever and her characterization is good) and Gladys Mitchell's Mrs. Bradley mysteries (which I have a mixed opinion of. I quite enjoyed _The Saltmarsh Murders_, but thought that _The Mystery of the Butcher's Shop_ wasn't nearly as good. Still, they've just released a couple dozen of them rather inexpensively in Kindle editions, so I'm sure I'll try a few more.)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-01-05 05:28 pm (UTC)
How interesting, this seems to imply that you classify reading and listening to audiobooks as in some way the same activity!

I am fond of Josephine Tey too, and I have just discovered Zoe Ferraris, who is starting well.
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[User Picture]From: wshaffer
2014-01-05 06:20 pm (UTC)
You're right, that is interesting. I don't think of them as exactly the same activity. For example, that Amazon Whispersync thing where it will keep an ebook and an audiobook of the same title in sync so that you can flip back and forth between them just makes me go, "Noooo, don't cross the streams!" But when I was in bed feeling really grotty for a couple of days in December, I worked my way through a mystery novel on audio, and my thought was pretty much exactly, "How nice to be able to read while lying flat on my back with my eyes shut!"

I think it depends a little bit on the book in question. Listening to a leisurely-paced first-person-narrated detective story feels subjectively like a very similar experience to reading it myself. (Except that reading it myself is much quicker.) Listening to non-fiction feels more different from reading it. I think.
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From: sheff_dogs
2014-01-05 06:50 pm (UTC)
Gladys Mitchells Mrs Bradley mysteries vary rather more than is normal in character series, not just in terms of the quality, but also in the kind of story they are. While the earlier ones are cosy mysteries, others are certinly not and include satires of cosy mysteries! There is enough variation that reading the different types one after another gave me mental whiplash, because my expecations were so thoroughly subverted. There is a decent site that may help you sort out the ones that will suit you http://gladysmitchell.com/
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[User Picture]From: wshaffer
2014-01-06 01:45 am (UTC)
It's possible that part of my problem is that I'm not familiar enough with the cosy sub genre as a whole to know when it's being satirized or not. But thank you for pointing out that site - I'll read some of the reviews before choosing my next Mitchell.
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From: sheff_dogs
2014-01-06 08:23 pm (UTC)
Maybe so, but it's certainly true that some of her books are just not very good!
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-01-06 06:28 am (UTC)
The Chalet School. The problem is that the series is a lot longer than any sickness I have yet discovered, and I kinda lack the ability to stop, merely because I am now healthy again...
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[User Picture]From: blue_hat_guru
2014-01-15 02:48 am (UTC)
I've actually had good luck with histories of the Boer War, twice. An advantage is that they encourage staying in bed and resting.
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