The OF Blog: Fevered Reads

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fevered Reads

For the past six days, I've been battling a very nasty case of bronchitis. The original medication didn't help at all, as the coughing/phlegm steadily worsened until I went back to the doctor today and got a steroid shot and a different antibiotic. But this post isn't as much about my illness as it is about things read while sick and how well-received such books are under an altered condition of reality.

I find it simultaneously easier and more difficult to read anything while suffering from a fever and/or congestion. Easier in that I have all this time to devote to it (since I'm not going to be at work and going out is totally out of the question), and more difficult in that sometimes certain narratives are so difficult to process. While I normally prefer fictions that make me think as I read, I find it more and more difficult to focus while coughing, so I tend to go with shorter works, often narrative-based, such as a biography or historical tract. I shudder to think how I would have reacted to Mark Danielewski's or Thomas Ligotti's works if I had read them under the influence of certain medications!

But what about you? Do you find it easier or harder to read when you're ill? Do your reading choices change base on how ill you feel?


Gail O'Connor said...

Yes, I once had to give up on a William Gibson novel I was trying to read when I was sick, because the graphics printed on the page underneath the text were giving me a terrible headache. If I read a book when sick and don't enjoy it, I'm never sure if it's because the book wasn't very good or if it's because I was too sick to enjoy it.

If I'm running a fever I usually don't bother to read at all, and watch movies instead. I just can't concentrate enough to read.

Elena said...

i'm with gail on the fever.

if i read it has to be a very straightforward story book with a linear narrative progression, and no more than 2 points of view. more than that and i get frustrated and confused.

Charles said...

Hope you feel better soon!

As for me, it depends on what illness I'm suffering from. Yes, I tend to find reading difficult when you have a cold. Usually it helps if I'm reading from a computer screen since that leaves my hands free and I don't sneeze into the book.

At other times, I stop reading the book because my illness is affecting my judgment on the piece.

But otherwise I read systematically. I have to "to read list" (due to the reviews) which I simply go through.

ediFanoB said...

First of all get well soon!

When I'm sick with fever and so on it is impossible for me to read because I sleep most of the time. And when I'm awake I can't concentrate.

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