We all know the feeling. Go to bed, feeling fine, then wake in the middle of the night, feeling as though we’ve been run over by a freight train, our throats dry and scratchy, eyes watering, nose doing its best Niagara Falls impression. In short, we’re sick. Naturally, one of the first things that comes to mind is: what are we going to read?
This time of year, colds and flu are frequent visitors to many households, and, for romance readers, sick days (when we can take them, but that’s a whole other topic) do have one upside. We get to read. Naturally, being readers, we can sneak some reading in, pretty much anywhere, but there is something special about climbing into a blanket fort on our beds, with tissues and cough drops, a beverage of choice at hand, and our trusty TBR pile to keep us company.
Okay, okay, TBR piles, and Kindle. Also Overdrive. Libby, for those who get their library books that way, and probably a few other sources, but let’s stick with those for now. There’s nothing that can add a bit of pleasure to a sick day than a really good book, and being able to get a new one at the click of a mouse button is extremely good medicine, any way you look at it. Depending on the outlet, it’s entirely possible for a dedicated reader to one click their way into an entire series, delivered on the spot, and spend the next couple of days doing nothing but reading through it. That is, granted, a simplistic view, because sick (or healthy) significant others, children, parents, pets, etc, may have demands on our time, even on sick days, but the promise that there is a great book waiting for us can get us through.
Personally, one of my favorite things to do when at the pharmacy, or even grocery store, is tro cruise past the book aisle, and pick out what book I would want a loved one to bring me home, if they’d gone out for me. Sure, I could get myself the book, and sometimes I do, but it’s that extra bit of the loved one making the gesture that gets to me. Kind of like something out of a romance novel, eh? I know, I know, non-romance readers might call that unrealistic, but is it? Consideration? I’d like to think that’s more commonplace.
The important thing is not to be caught with a cold or flu, but no book. I will give you all a minute to contemplate the horror. It happens. Less frequently now that e-books are a thing,and most of us do have a book or two on hand for future reading (hence TBR shelves) but, when we get a chance to know that the cold is coming, we have time to prepare. Time to put fresh sheets on the bed, buy plenty of orange juice, favorite flavor of cough drops, and the comfy tissues with the aloe or coconut oil, and the most important choice of all: the chance to choose our sick reading before we are actually sick.
This, for me, is why it’s fun to do that fantasy shopping by proxy. If I’m going to spend two to four days, laid up, without energy to do the other stuff that makes me happy, then diving into a good book is the next best thing (and sometime the plain best thing, for that matter) and the ability to fine tune that reading, well, that’s something special. We can do this on a broader scale when we look to our e-readers, because there are literally endless options. What are we up for, while sick? Time for a dip into a cozy small town contemporary? Escape to another world, literally, with a paranormal? Dive back in time with a historical? Pump up the mood music and go for something erotic, because if we’re going to be stuck in bed, there are other things a bed can be used for, knowhatImean? Those other things are much more fun than dealing with fevers and chills, and, well, we’ll move along from that. Ahem.
Point is, there are far worse ways to ride out a cold than en route to a Happily Ever After. I have to confess that, sometimes, there is nothing cozier for a winter’s cold, than historical Christmas anthologies. Westerns in particular, but other times and places will also suit. This is also true if the cold arrives during other times of year besides winter. These anthologies are perfect, because A) the individual entries are shorter than a full novel, so by the time I have three hundred and some pages under the belt of my bathrobe, I haven’t read only one story, but four, five, or even six. Not too shabby there. If the stories are intertwined, it can be nice to see familiar faces from one story to the next, or if they are truly standalone, it’s a whole new experience, without needing to remember who’s who. Really no way to lose, in either event, and, if the shorter piece is related to another work by the same author, be it one novel, or more, it’s like taking a quick dip into that story world, either as a newcomer, or a frequent flyer.
Thankfully, colds don’t last forever, and, at some point, we’ll be back on our feet, which will, no doubt, take us directly to the bookstore or library, to stock up on more books. Now that we’ve got the energy, we’re raring to go. Maybe we’ve found a new author in one of those anthologies, and can’t wait to see what else they have out there, or maybe it’s finally release day for the book we’ve been waiting for, for ages. Maybe we just want to be the heck out of the house and in our happy place. That’s important aftercare, and, besides, we want to stock up for the next cold.