Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read while You're Sick

Technically, today's topic is Books I'd Recommend As Good Beach Reads, but I've already done that one. Since I've been down with a cold for a week, however, and since head colds, like the beach, generally demand uncomplicated reading material, I figured the matter of what to read when sick deserved its own list.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...
Perhaps this will differ from reader to reader and from cold to flu bug, but when I'm feeling really awful, I shamelessly choose books that won't ask much of me. This means that a) they won't test my reading comprehension with mind-bending concepts or overly intricate prose or a lot of new vocabulary, b) they are unlikely to prove irritating or unsettling, and c) I can count on a happy ending.

With those qualifications in mind, then:

1. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Mystery, romance, heroism, fashion, simplicity. It's a fantastic read and won't let you down.

2. P.G. Wodehouse—anything by him, I suppose, if I may judge entirely by Psmith in the City. Lots of humor, and laughter is supposed to be good for the health.

3. Any Lord Peter Wimsey book, by Dorothy Sayers. For the same basic reasons as the Wodehouse recommendation, plus the fact that Lord Peter is just delightful.

4. Moonraker's Bride by Madeleine Brent. Historical romance with a Gothic flair and an absurdly capable, wonderful heroine. If the rest of Brent's books are as relaxing and intriguing as this one, I recommend them, too. This was one of Arabella's offerings, so I actually read it during this cold. Review coming soon.

5. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls. Hilarious, old-fashioned, with just a touch of the mystical—rather like his better known work, Where the Red Fern Grows, but with a happy ending this time. Five stars.

6. The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I also loved The Secret Garden and liked Little Lord Fauntleroy, but this was always my favorite. Sara was a childhood hero of mine, and I've never given her up.

7. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Kid lit can be particularly enjoyable when you're sick or tired or just needing a break. I keep forgetting that I recently bought a copy of this and need to read it, as I haven't since childhood.

8. Anything by Jane Austen. Yes, Austen can make you think, and yes, you need to be pre-accustomed to the phrasing and sometimes the spelling of Regency England, but Austen is my go-to girl when I need an optimistic read with lots of laughter.

9. Any of Patricia St. John's works. Most of them are for children, and all of them are quick, easy reads. They're among the few works of categorical Christian fiction that I don't hesitate to recommend. My favorites are If You Love Me (her one adult novel) and Star of Light.

10. Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. It's one of those over-dramatic old romances, but a thoroughly delightful one. Porter makes the Limberlost a place you'll want to visit.

What books do you read when you're under the weather?


  1. I love Summer Of The Monkeys and all the ways he tries to catch the monkeys for that reward money. Sigh.

    AND ALSO! Love love love The Wind In The Willows. Mr. Toad was so awesome.

    Sigh. This makes me want to read those classics all over again.

    My Top Ten Tuesday

  2. Thanks, both of you! The Wind in the Willows is a great book. And April, it's always fun to find another Summer of the Monkeys fan!

  3. Anything by L.M. Montgomery is going to be a good choice. All those great characters and stories.

    Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith. I love the story of young Annie and Carl's first two years of marriage, and reread it often.

    Madeleine Brent's romantic mystery adventures.

    Harry Potter or the Twilight Saga. Or Meyer's The Host.

    Girl of the Limberlost is a favorite.

    Jubilee Trail, Calico Palace, or Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow. Historical romances brimming with wonderful characters (especially JT's Florinda Grove).

    Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Deavitt Bell. So fun! Ditto The Fair Godmother by Jeannette Rallison, a screwball fairy godmother comedy--be careful what you wish for! (I'm saving the sequel--for my next respiratory infection?)

    The Missouri Traveler by John Burress. Confession: I loved this book so much that as a teen I didn't return it to the library. I paid for it as a lost book because I wanted to keep it, and didn't know one could (gasp!) actually buy it. A great favorite of mine. Jenna, I think you would love it.

    Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter. A wealthy socialite's family loses their money. A warm book about loss, what counts, how we find our identity, and a good marriage that struggles. (It takes place in Bellevue, WA, where my husband and I usually stay when we go to the west side of the state; a couple weeks ago we had coffee at the protag's Starbucks.)

    If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern. What's not to like about an imaginary friend?

    Any of the People stories by Zenna Henderson.

    Fannie Flagg or Lorna Landvik novels.

    Of course, I can think of many more that are wonderful "invalid" reads. I need to get sick more often! :-D


  4. Anything by Tolstoy (he alone goes for actually sick, and "I have a headache because I drank too much last night" sick).

    The James Bond books (who wrote them?) They're wonderful!

    Magazines. Lots and lots of Magazines.

    The Lord of the Rings.

    Pride and Prejudice.

    Fear & Trembling - Kierkegaard

    ..There are a few others, I like a big pile of books and things next to me when I'm sick, and I hardly ever finish anything, just doze surrounded by all my comforts. :)

  5. Great list. I hope you feel better soon. I like to read funny when I'm sick.

  6. Arabella, so many of those sound fascinating. And I've still got to read the Rallison book, which you've recommended to me a number of times. :)

    Masha, P&P is definitely a favorite while-sick read. And pretty-much-any-time read. I'm not sure I could get through Kierkegaard with a stuffy head, but Tolstoy maybe. Still need to read War and Peace one of these days!

    Angela, thanks! I'm feeling a lot better today. And I like funny when I'm sick, too. :)

  7. F&T and War & Peace are my go-to comfort books, primarily, I think, becuase I've read them enough to know what I'm going into and I have all sorts of cozy memories associated with them both. It's way more about the memories when I'm sick than the books themselves. :)


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