What I read when I had the flu


Recently I found myself at home with the flu and I was woefully unprepared in the amount of reading material I had at home.  I had a nice assortment of cookbooks, one new cozy mystery, a celebrity autobiography and a YA-adult crossover so for a regular weekend that is a pretty good pile of books but when you are sick in bed with the flu.. you can run out of things to read pretty fast.  Even more so when you have to discard several of them right away because they are cookbooks filled with images of food.  Who wants to read Maria Rodale’s gorgeous new book called Scratch when even looking at that freshly roasted bird on the cover makes your stomach turn?  And, then Ina Garten’s new cookbook for her husband?  Well, it was a little easier to look at that cover because it is just the two of them smiling but it still had way too much food in it.  I just set the cookbooks aside right away.  Covers facing down.

The celebrity autobiography was written by Joel McHale.  The not so cleverly titled Thanks for the money: how to use my life story to become the best Joel McHale you can be seemed like a light choice for learning a bit about the world of a Hollywood star.  He played a character in a TV show that I enjoyed for several years called “Community”.  It is still one of the shows that I can dip into for a reliable laugh and find that their parodies of films and TV shows that I have loved will just pop into my head in the middle of a workday.  The book though?  It was okay.  It read a lot like his character in the TV show – sarcastic and very fond of himself – more of a quick read.  It didn’t really extend my knowledge of him as a person although I did learn that he was born in Rome which is a nice nugget I might pull out once in a while at parties and he is the middle child of three brothers which explains a fair bit about his personality.  It did not take a long time to read though so my time in bed with the flu loomed large.

The new cozy mystery was a treat but did not take up very much time to read through.  It’s the first in a series which is delightful and I enjoy meeting a supportive cast of characters in a quirky new setting for the first time so I was very happy with this little paperback called A beeline to murder.  Now, I am 100% aware that the cozy mystery genre is not for everyone and that is just fine with me.  If you aren’t reading that colourful paperback with the pun-laden title then it is much easier for me to get to it first.  This one was about a police officer who recently left the force and is running a small farm and also happens to be a beekeeper.  She was such an incredibly successful detective that when a local chef is found dead her colleagues ask her to help out.  How does it all end?  I won’t spoil it for you.  It was good enough for me to look forward to the second in this series.  It’s not the first time an apiarist has been featured in a cozy mystery though, if you were wondering.  Hannah Reed also does a nice cozy series about a beekeeper and we have four or five of those in the collection here at WPL.  Still, this sweet little paperback did not take up enough of my time although it did cheer me up a bit thinking about the next book.  Even more puns about bees and crime to look forward to.


The YA book was fun.  It’s the latest from Lauren Oliver, called Replica.  She is not in my top tier of YA authors but she is a reliable storyteller and you know that you will be kept turning the pages every time.  I can always pass her books on to someone with the reassurance that it will get them through a boring afternoon at the cottage or a long plane ride.  Her books would make great movies and I’ve read that more than one have been optioned for films.  The most recent one is actually two stories (both in the same book – you flip it upside down and begin from the other side to read the other character’s perspective) and I won’t tell you too much but it is set in a time very close to ours but with advances in science and medicine that you certainly hope are far into the future.  If these kinds of things are happening right now?  Oh dear.  There was a touch of romance and more than a smidgen of violence but it was the perfect way to spend a few hours in bed coughing and using up far too many tissues and cups of tea.

As my reading pile dwindled I started to panic and then turned to the Download Library for support – it’s available 24-hrs a day in the most convenient little package.  I just love showing it to customers but rarely have time to peruse the titles for my own pleasure and this extra time stuck at home with my germs gave me lots of time to settle down to find myself something comforting and diverting.  I went with… Alan Bradley.  That genius who has given us Flavia de Luce – called “part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire” by the New York Times – has also given us a 3 book bundle of the first books in this series on the DownloadLibrary.   It’s as if he knew that I would need it someday.  And, since I was experiencing a most uncomfortable chill, I only went as far as downloading it to my smartphone so that I would just poke one finger out of the blankets to advance each page.  It was perfect, every other part of me could stay comfortably cozy inside a nest while I waited out my illness.

I’m perfectly shipshape now and have a new pile of books all ready to enjoy but I know that I have the DownloadLibrary (and my friend Flavia) if I need a little something extra when times get rough during the flu season.