Reading when you’re ill

For the last four days, I have felt awful. I spent most of my time on my couch not doing much of anything. Because I felt so awful, I didn’t even read much. I couldn’t summon the concentration to turn scribbles on pages into coherent, meaningful statements with my brain.

The other problem with being so ill is that I am really behind on writing book reviews. I had finished Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Laws of Medicine before I got sick, one audiobook during, and one novella and novel since I started to perk up. Expect a flurry of new reviews soon.

A lot of readers—and I am no exception here—report that their circumstances and setting affect their memory of a book and vice versa. For example, re-reading Stephen King’s The Stand reminds me of a days-long car trip across the prairie with my family. That said, I never worry that a book I read while sick will become inextricably linked with a wicked bout of stomach flu. Reading while sick often helps distract me from my symptoms. While I suffered with a monstrous headache and migraine-ish symptoms this weekend, David Greene took me along on a trip across Siberia in the audiobook I listened to. I’ll write more about the content of Midnight in Siberia later, but I might always have a soft spot for the book because I was able to set up my laptop in a dark room, close my eyes, and let Greene’s experiences distract me from how rotten I was feeling.

Thank goodness for audiobooks.

Frederick Childe Hassam


  1. I’m sorry you were poorly, I hope you are on the mend now. I totally second your opinion on audiobooks, they have the ability to transport you. As I was pregnant and feeling queasy all the time for a trimester or more, the whole Harry Potter series managed to make me oblivious of it!


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