Notes on Bookish Readings When Ill

I have been writing this post in my mind for the last 3 weeks since I have recovered from a painfully long bout of bronchio-asthma, but there have been out of station weddings to attend and friends to visit and preparation for a Project Management exam, that  blogging took a back seat and worse, for a while there was not enough time to even read! Anyway, such things are happily in the past and I hope I am back to the settled rhythm of daily reading and frequent blogging!

While I was laid up three weeks, I was mostly in a irritable temper, struggling to breathe while fever came and went and the Indian summer heat rose. I could not eat much and doing almost anything gave me a headache. The only thing I was capable of was watching endless reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S , but for such bookish creature like us, you can watch only so much of sitcoms, without yearning to dive back into books. Herein lay the problem, I was too ill, to read my April reading plan books….I could not bear to look at Shakespeare or Poe, Spenser made my eyes dance and see things and Willa Cather was simply out of the question! So I decided to hunt the ever reliable internet for some suggested readings when ill. However for once, the cyber space completely let me down; while some sites suggested the tried and tested Austens and Rowlings, most sites suggested some very grim readings, biographies filled with struggle and toil and one site even suggested As I lay Dying (I don’t know if the guy was being funny!!) I don’t know why people would read such stuff when they are physically so unwell, which in turn has to have a psychological impact! Why read depressing stuff when you are already  down and out, but I guess, different strokes for different folks and for a different folk like me and I am hoping other like me, we need a much more cheerful reading list. Therefore, I humbly present to you 10 books/series/authors  you ought to read if you feel like laughing out loud or even chuckling a bit or simply take your mind off the physical trauma, when laid up with maladies –

  1. Jane Austen – Devoted as I am to Ms. Austen, I must say she has helped me recover several times in my life and made the illness more bearable. I do not recommend all her works but Pride and Prejudice, Emma and the lesser known Lady Susan! In the author’s own words – light, bright and sparkling!
  2. Terry Pratchett- I have said this before and I will keep saying it again, the world is a better place, thanks to Sir Terry. When your are completely fatigued with the mundane sameness of your surroundings, compounded by a sever iron grip variety headache, take a walk in the Discworld and meet the witches and the watch and Death and so many more characters, that will take you to whole new world and keep you there laughing, agreeing and coming out as a much more happier, healthier and even a better human being!
  3. Short Stories by Saki – The much lesser known Hector Hugo Munro, aka, Saki is the perfect anecdote when you are irritable and cannot stand your fellow creatures! Saki’s short stories filled with irreverent humor and biting sarcasm is a treat, as you wander into a 1900’s England filled with social gaities and find succinct observations, served with irony and dash of laughter to help recover your soul!
  4. Sherlock Holmes Series by Arthur Conan Doyle – You want to escape the physical discomfort, then there is no better escape than Victorian England where a hook nosed, opium using detective takes you down the lanes of England and Europe to unravel some of the most unbelievable acts of crime!
  5. Father Brown Series by G.K. Chesterton – While very different in tenor, than the Sherlock Holmes series, Father Brown is another detective, with whom you will be alert and constantly involved as you unravel one gritty mystery after another, in a intuitive, philosophical and patient way, that characterizes , one of the best detectives in Fiction!
  6. Miss Marple Series by Agatha Christie – When you are ill, and need a distraction, who better than the queen of crime. While all most all her books are addictive, I prefer Miss Marple, because I cannot get over the impression of a weak woolly old lady going after some of the most ruthless criminals and that kind of always makes me feel better and hope that I will recover soon!
  7. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – Cliched, I know! But I cannot help it! The wizard world is such a pick me up and then there are all kinds of fantastic creatures and constantly changing dynamics and yes, there are several deaths, but the books always end in hope! So it is way better option than As I Lay Dying, when ill!
  8. Lord Wimsey’s Series by Dorothy Sayers – I read my first and only Dorothy Sayers when I was ill and she did me a world of good! First impressions are not usually a thing to go buy, but I am taking a chance here – me think reading her when ill, will make you feel infinitely better! At any case I can vouch for Busman’s Journey, among all the other books in the series!
  9. Jeeves and Wooster by PG Woodhouse – Need I say anything! A Jeeves is exactly what you need when so ill,but it being in short supply and only available in fiction, wade through the mis– adventures of Bertie Wooster in 1920s England as he is rescued and saved every time by the dependable Jeeves!
  10. Asterix Comic Books by  written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo – Follow the Gauls through one magnificent adventure in Roman world after another, as they meet Caesars and Cleopatras and discover pun like never before! Laughter and more laughter!

There you go folks, that’s my list and my recommendation! What are yours?


15 thoughts on “Notes on Bookish Readings When Ill

  1. Lady Susan is ideal, you will get so work up over Lady Susan it will urge you to move, hehe. I cannot wait to see the 2016 film adaptation.

  2. Too sick to even read?! Yikes, I’m glad you’re doing better now.

    I absolutely back you up 100% with Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett books for convalescing. After a beloved pet died earlier this year I fell into a deep depression and Discworld was one of the only things that pull me out of that terrible headspace for a little while.

    When I’m ill, I tend to go back to the well-worn fantasy series of my youth — it’s comforting to know that Narnia, Middle-earth, Pern, Hogwarts, and Discworld will always be there to welcome a reader home.

    1. Yes Discworld and Sir Terry have a lot of warmth, humor and wisdom to solace the soul. I have turned to his books in some very difficult times and he has always pulled me out of the dumps! Thank you….I am much better now and it was the constant stream of medication that made my head swim, that made it difficult to read! I have a confession…I am yet to explore Narnia! (Hang my head in shame!) Hopefully I will correct that kind of a hallow hole in my reading this year…but I agree with you on the rest…Pratchett, Rowling and Tolkien for comfort and well being!

  3. I am so behind! I am sorry you were ill for so long! Glad you are feeling better now and I hope the memory of the illness is fading fast. Discworld is fabulous when one feels unwell! I was going to suggest Wodehouse too but you seem to have it all covered 🙂

  4. Oh wow, I am so lame with my comments lately. I’ve been so busy and am just now getting back to business!

    Really? You’re not all smiles and suffering patience when you’re sick?! My, my! 😉

    Don’t you hate it that when you get sick, often you’re too sick to read. What is that about? One should get just sick enough to have to stay in bed, but be alert enough to read.

    A very good sick reading list, full of books I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t quite gotten to yet: Prachett, Saki, Sayers and Wooster. Oh, and Chesterton. I’ve read his Father Brown mysteries, but I’d like to read some of his other books, as well. You need a clear head for those ones though…..

    I am glad that you’re feeling a little better! Sending healing thoughts your way! (BTW, are there any Indian natural remedies for colds/sickness?)

    1. Yeah! I am angelic when ill….LOL! I don’t like being sick and its even worse when you cannot read…I mean what is point of taking day off from work, if you cannot read???? I love Father Brown and I love Chesterton’s other works as well…however I do think I could tackle them when ill! Healing remedies are aplenty in this part of the world …. and l

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