2) I'm absolutely and non-sarcastically sure that it is a coincidence that the things I packed for comfort reading are all by Minnesotans. Still: Teckla, Brothers in Arms, The Secret Country, and Growing Up Weightless. Strange, that. (I picked those particular volumes of Brust and Bujold because that's where I am in my rereading of those two series, not because they're any more favorite than Orca and Cetaganda.)
(In my head, I now hear pameladean's inflections when I read the dialog she's written. It's very like having her read me a bedtime story. I mentally snuggle into the covers and relax. I never was put to sleep by bedtime stories, so that part isn't a problem. My poor Aunt Doris would try to get me to read to put me to sleep. Hah.)
Take care. Hug your old people if you can.