Jilly: Comfort Reading

Comfort ReadingBooks should be available on prescription. They’re inexpensive, calorie-free, mood-enhancing, and the positive effects are long-lasting (check out this post on the subject from Kay). On the downside, they’re addictive, but they’re not even in the same depraved league as coffee, chocolate or wine. Reading must be the most benign addiction known to man.

This hasn’t been the best of weeks. I developed some kind of horrible lurgy that required a full-frontal antibiotic offensive, and while the tablets seem to be doing the job, they’re also wiping me out (maybe the disclaimer ‘may interfere with your ability to drive machinery’ should have clued me in). This post is the first thing I’ve written since Wednesday (woe); I’m not allowed wine until next Sunday (double woe); but at least I can read, which makes everything (nearly) all right with my world.

I’ve never thought about it before, but I’ve realised that my reading preferences change when I’m sick. I still like the same authors, but I choose different books. I go for something a little gentler, easier, still to my taste, but not quite so punchy as my usual favorites. The literary equivalent of a small plate of pasta with a splash of cream and a whiff of black truffle instead of a big, juicy steak with a knock-out peppercorn sauce.

Loretta Chase is exactly what the doctor ordered. Not Lord of Scoundrels, much as I love that book. Probably not the sort-of-sequel The Last Hellion, though that’s usually my second choice. The characters are too robust when I’m feeling fragile. This week I’m spoiling myself with the Carsington books. They’re funny, good-natured and delightful. The emotional roller-coaster is a series of gentle ups and downs, not stomach-churning peaks and troughs. Perfect.

I tweak my Georgette Heyer reads too. Devil’s Cub (maybe I mentioned that’s my favorite?) is too intense. Instead, I’d choose Cotillion, which I think is Heyer’s wittiest and most charming romance. I don’t really go for beta heroes, but I love Freddy with a passion. Heyer’s story-telling is so sneaky and wonderful that the reader slides almost without noticing from thinking ‘Freddy’s so lovely, I wish he was the hero instead of handsome alpha asshat Jack’ to ‘damn, Freddy is the hero. Yay!’

Even Jenny Crusie gets the treatment. I love Bet Me, and Welcome to Temptation, and Agnes and the Hitman, but you really can’t beat the feel-good factor in her early category novels Anyone But You and Charlie All Night. Both heroes are good guys with just the right degree of slacker in them – if working as a doctor in the ER can be classified as a slacker choice. These books put a smile on my face no matter how blue I’m feeling.

I’m thinking that now might also be a good time to read the Juliet Blackwell mysteries about the witch with the vintage clothing store that Jennifer O’Brien recommended a while ago.

Do you read to cheer yourself up when you’re under the weather? What’s your go-to book or author?

6 thoughts on “Jilly: Comfort Reading

  1. (-: I read anytime, anyplace to help boost myself into a better state of mind. And, yeah, there are sick books. Something easy to hold, not too hard to read, but intensely comforting. I guess the chronologically first book of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series is one of my favorites. It’s called *Shards of Honor* but my paperback is an omnibus that follows Cordelia from winning her man all the way to saving her baby. (That’s called *Cordelia’s Honor*.)

    A pot of liquid, a comforting book, a warm blanket and a box of tissue . . . really all one needs when one is a little under the weather.

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

    • Thanks, Michaeline – feeling much better today, even did some writing. I also collected the still life painting that I posted about a while ago. I’m thrilled with it, so there’s another pick-me-up right there.

      I’ve read Cordelia’s Honor a couple of times now. I liked it the first time and better on re-reading. I can see why it would be an excellent sick-bed book.

  2. Oh, no, no, no!! This is not the time to read Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mysteries. Read them, yes, but not now. They are more Agnes and the Hitman than Charlie All Night. Except, you know, with vintage clothes. 🙂

    I do have a bit of a guilty secret when it comes to under-the-weather reading. If I’m really ill, I read Christmas stories. Yes, even in July. If I’m drinking tea and eating broth and crackers, then it’s time to break out the holiday anthologies.

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

    • Christmas stories! That’s fabulous, Jennifer. I have to confess, I don’t really like Christmas stories, even at Christmas – but then I am a bit of a Bah! Humbug! about the whole holiday so not surprising that they don’t cheer me up.

      I have put Juliet Blackwell back on the shelf until I’m feeling ready for something with a little more oomph. Thanks!

  3. So sorry to hear you’re under the weather! Have you ever tried Julia Quinn? She’s gentle and funny. I can also go with Jane Austin. Reading Pride and Prejudice again is like snuggling under a quilt.

    • Julia Quinn, Kay, yes, exactly! Perfect addition to the pick-me-up list. Thank you.

      My copy of Pride & Prejudice has really small print and the glue in the binding is giving up the ghost so there are practical strikes against it as a sick-room read. It’s part of a set and I know it pretty much off by heart anyway so I never considered buying a new copy. I think it’s clearly time to put that right!

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