Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Comfort reading etc.

The status here, it just keeps quoing. For those of you who did not buy the souvenir scorecard, that means that the vertigo PT continues to be extremely nasty and eat much of my time and energy. Wednesday will be the fortnight mark. Two weeks of nasty was the initial estimate without the PT eval; the physical therapists said "up to a month." So it would sure be nice if we could finish up the "worse before better" segment of this program and get to the "better" part, but we're not counting on it any time soon. If you say, "How are you?" and I say, "About the same," that's not such a great thing.

But it's tolerable; we're doing our best to make it tolerable around here. My mom had a whole slew of great suggestions the first day out, about wearing soft clothing and in other ways keeping myself from being physically miserable as much as possible. I'm thinking of trying to get scones from somewhere, because breakfast is the one bit of food I can sometimes enjoy at the moment. I mean, it's me, and it's breakfast. Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of waking up too early with the sensation that I am about to fall out of bed and land on my head on the ceiling can stay this mrissa from her appointed breakfast, nor, apparently, from enjoyment of same. I have often said that breakfast is part of why I'm an optimist, because at the end of the day, no matter what it's been like, either you know you get breakfast in the morning, or if you have a bad stomach bug, you can have hopes that you will feel better enough for breakfast after some sleep. So I think maybe I could squeeze some extra joy out of breakfast with scones. We'll see; I'm not really up for making them right now, nor does a run up to Turtle Bread for their orange chocolate chip kind seem like a good use of my time and riding-in-car capabilities.

Reading Dorothy Sayers and Lois McMaster Bujold, for those segments of the day when I can read without wanting to throw up, is a very very good thing. I've talked a couple of people in the last few days who have worn out their own comfort reading, and so I thought I would suggest some of mine and see who else wanted to discuss theirs in the comments. My comfort reading walks a fine line, because much of it involves dead bodies in some way or another. It is often bloody. But it is never a depressing kind of bloody, from my perspective. The worlds my comfort reading covers are flawed and often violent, and terrible things happen to perfectly lovely people. But there are always at least some trustworthy allies; more, there are generally actual friends. When I want comfort reading, I am like Chesterton's notion of children reading fairy tales: I know there are monsters, I just want to know they can be beaten. I would be surprised if your mileage didn't vary at least a bit.

Also, long series are a plus for me in comfort reading. If I've read half a dozen of something and the need for comfort reading has passed, well and good; if it hasn't passed, all the better if there's a seventh one and possibly an eighth, just in case it's needed. Not all comfort reading fits this category, of course.

Lloyd Alexander, the Westmark trilogy. The Vesper Holly books and the Prydain books are good, don't get me wrong. But when the world is bleak and barren, nothing perks a body up like blood, love, and rhetoric of the revolutionary variety. There are barricades, people.* There are so many other good things in these books, but: barricades. The Kestrel is a book for all season. Provided that you like bloody revolution in all seasons, I mean. (See also: Teckla.)

Lois McMaster Bujold, the Vorkosigan series. Not, I think, her fantasy novels. Again, I like them. I named the dog after one. But they don't have the same appeal for snuggling into a corner of the sofa with an afghan for me.

I suspect that at some point I will try C.J. Cherryh's atevi novels for comfort reading, but I haven't yet. But the nice big mathy aliens have a very comfortable sort of feel to me.

I suspect that in the right mood, Helen Cresswell's Bagthorpe's series might be comfort reading to me, but I haven't got enough of them collected to give it a try, and the silliness will almost certainly hit me wrong some of the time.

D'Aulaire's Norse Gods and Giants, which is now being called D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths. There is still a part of me that's amazed that I'm big enough to hold this book and don't have to put it on the floor and lie down next to it to read. Men die, cattle die, even the gods themselves must one day die. Did you know that when I was small, I imagined Mimir to have my great-uncle Lloyd's voice? up there with his head in the well with Odin's eye. I never said it wasn't idiosyncratic, the set of things I find comforting.

pameladean's books except for Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary. I don't know why the exception. Or rather I do: it's all the stuff in the Secret Country universe, plus Tam Lin for other reasons completely. The other reasons completely for Tam Lin: how much I loved my college years in some ways, and how exceedingly grateful I am to be out of them in others. "Wasn't that fun? and thank God it's over!" sort of thing.

dduane's Young Wizards books. Possibly the kitties as well. Haven't tried them.

Alexandre Dumas, everything with the Musketeers after The Three Musketeers itself. No, I don't know why the distinction there. I think because for all its wandering, The Three Musketeers is going where it's going somewhat more quickly, less chance to catch one's breath and have a sandwich in the middle. (I don't want a sandwich just now, but they're like train travel that way. They go with a nice sandwich, possibly with arugula.)

If Nicola Griffith would go and write two or three more of Aud's books, those might be just the extremely violent thing. So she should get on that, maybe.

Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, The Fall of the Kings.

Madeleine L'Engle, the ones with Polyhymnia O'Keefe as the main character, and also Camilla.

Astrid Lindgren, The Brothers Lionheart or Ronia the Robber's Daughter.

L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle. This is specifically against the series idea, I realize, but I just can't see the Anne books in that light, and the Emily books, while I love them quite a bit better than the Anne books, are likely to make me want to throw a screaming hissy fit at appropriate moments, so: not comfort. No. (Although it's a very reliable screaming hissy fit of rather distinguished pedigree at this point; it's a screaming hissy fit that, notionally at least, has remained with me for decades, un-acted-upon, and yet present all the same. Still, even venerable conniptions are conniptions.)

Patrick O'Brian, the Aubrey and Maturin novels.

Ellis Peters, the Brother Cadfael mysteries.

I should probably try Sharon Kay Penman's first trilogy in this light and see how it goes.

Terry Pratchett, the Tiffany Aching books, and possibly the one with the (say it with me, kids!) barricades, Night Watch, I think that is.

Dorothy Sayers.

I want to say Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, for those times when you want to make your brain go clickety-whirrr, to make it stop doing whatever other thing it's doing. But that would require that your wrists be very strong and healthy, whatever else the rest of your life is up to.

Kate Wilhelm, the Constance and Charlie mysteries, but maybe the early Barbara Holloways as well, I'd have to check that.

And you?

*If you manage to figure out how to write a book with sea serpents and peasant revolutionaries at the barricades in it, prepare to have me following you around conventions beaming adoringly at you.
Tags: bookses precious, stupid vertigo
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