Nine Days of Covid: Whining and Reading

Nine days. It’s been nine days of Covid here for Hubby and me. Nine days since I suddenly began to sneeze my brains out, rough violent sneezes that left me breathless, with an aching chest. A sneezing fit that came from seemingly nowhere, and which catapulted me into Covid-land. Odd too, when I had only a couple of hours earlier been laughing with Hubby and feeling great. Oh, it took another day before I really felt terrible. I mean, really terrible. And two days before I finally took a Covid test. But that sneezing fit was the beginning.

Not that you should give a hoot. Not really. I don’t have any idea why I’m being so ultra-dramatic about the situation. When so many of you have experienced the same thing. Let’s chalk it up to nine days of social isolation. Of living inside my own head, ringing ears and all. Of Hubby’s and my mutual groaning and moaning. Of slumping about the house in my pyjamas, from bedroom to sunroom sofa, back to bedroom. Of shuffling downstairs to the laundry with a pile of damp sheets after waking in the middle of the night bathed in sweat. Of sitting as upright as I could to ward off the middle-of-the-night coughing fits that didn’t seem to quit. Of listening to Hubby do the same in the spare bedroom. Of no appetite. And then of weird taste manifestations. I never lost my sense of taste. But I was all of a sudden made nauseous by the smell or even the thought of certain foods. Like Brussels sprouts. Or bacon.

Seriously, my friends, forgive me for whining. And being so dramatic. I mean… most of you have been there. Maybe are there now. If you are I am sorry. It’s not nice is it? Not the “mild cold symptoms” we’ve all been hearing about. Ha. I wish.

I love a dramatic-looking pumpkin field.

So let’s blame the drama on Covid, shall we? That and the fact that when I’ve not been sleeping, coughing, or whining, I have had my face buried in books, and audio books, and old BBC television series for nine days. It’s no wonder that my grasp of reality seems a bit shaky.

I read Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. This book came highly recommended by friends. And by a myriad of reviews and by lots of readers on Goodreads: “a witty and empowering novel set in the 1960s that challenges societal norms and celebrates the resilience and intelligence of its remarkable protagonist, Elizabeth Zott.”

I was charmed and entertained by the novel right away and thought: “Thank god, my long drought of booklessness is over.” Ha. “Don’t speak too soon, Susan,” I should have said.

I finished the darned thing because I really, really wanted to find out what happened in the end. And even though I laughed in places, and was charmed at times by the inventiveness of the author in creating such a character as Elizabeth Zott, I mostly thought that Bonnie Garmus took the easy way out in the end. In the end and in the middle and in the beginning, actually. Lessons is Chemistry is unique. The plot is clever. And I really liked many of the characters. But I found the novel riddled with stereotypes, especially stereotypes of male characters who were so flat, and unrelentingly nasty that they appeared almost cartoonish to me.

Of course I know that such men existed in the fifties and sixties. Men who hated women and who could not stand for women to succeed in a man’s world. But did Garmus have to make virtually every man in the novel, bar the three or four “decent men,” that kind of man? Ugly inside and out? So even when I cheered at Zott’s victories in the book, I felt uneasy, felt that hating the male antagonists was just that teensy bit too easy. Plus the ending. That really pissed me off. I won’t say why. But if the book hadn’t been loaded onto my iPad, I might have chucked it across the room. You can read the reviews here on Goodreads if you’re interested.

Dramatic sky in New Brunswick, November 2019

I had such a good run of books when we were away in Portugal. Many of them I’d purchased and saved for our trip. For the long plane journeys and for those days when we’d planned to slow down our travels and put our feet up. I devoured Murder Most Royal, the third in S.J. Bennett’s lovely, lovely series featuring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as crime fighter and detective extraordinaire. I read Richard Osman’s latest and long-awaited Thursday Murder Club Mystery, The Last Devil to Die. And Another Girl, the newest in Peter Grainger’s Kings Lake Investigation series. And when we came home I read Alice Slater’s Death of a Bookseller and loved it. Four lovely books in a row. Bliss.

Then my luck turned. And I could not find a book to love despite long hours of research, reading samples on line, and borrowing books from the library only to return them later the same night. At the moment, after finishing Lessons in Chemistry, I am currently reading my way through all my old W.J. Burley Wycliffe mysteries. I need a few calm and competently written mysteries to assuage my frustration. I do love Wycliffe. So soothing. Even if it is about murder.

Evening rambles on the Saint John in November 2019

While I have been sick and sleepless in my bed late at night, besides way too much Tik Tok, I’ve also been watching an old BBC series on Prime, Vanity Fair from back in 1987. I enjoyed it so much. And I’ve been listening to the latest Cormoran Strike novel by Robert Galbraith. The Running Grave is Galbraith/J.K. Rowling at her best. I’ve loved all the books in that series, so excellently read by Robert Glenister.

Dramatic sky in Osgoode, November 2017

I always was someone who needed books to get through illness. Even as a kid. I can still conjure up the sight of the books I read when I was eight and I was sick most of the summer. The books. And the meals Mum made to tempt me to eat. Butterscotch pudding with bananas still entices me when I’m feeling ill. Or vanilla ice cream and bananas, as Hubby and I have been eating. So soothing on the throat. So comforting.

I remember the year in my late twenties when I lived at home with Mum and Lloyd, and I contracted a really bad cold. I stayed in bed for days reading old mysteries from my grandmother Sullivans’ book closet. I hadn’t been sick at home for years. And I remember Mum brought me homemade soup and toasted homemade bread for lunch. Then tea and molasses cookies. And one day a package that had been delivered by the mailman. A new sweater pattern and the yarn to make it that I had ordered from Chatelaine magazine.

Seriously, I can still hear the sound of the screen door bang, and Lloyd saying that there was “a package for Suz.” Mum brought it upstairs and sat on the edge of my bed as we opened it together and read the pattern. Then she brought up her needle basket, and I cast on the stitches and began my sweater. I knit happily all afternoon. And later I could smell something delicious in the oven. I’m pretty sure I went downstairs in my pyjamas for supper that night. But maybe not. Maybe that’s just me and my dramatic imagination wrapping that story up in a cosy bow.

I am looking forward to late fall, late afternoon walks.

So that’s pretty much it for me, today, my friends. The story of our nine days of Covid. Of whining and reading and shuffling around the house.

Tomorrow will be day ten. I am going to make an effort to go for a walk. Not just a lethargic shuffle around to the front of the house to watch the geese on the river. But a real walk. I’ll wear my wooly hat, and my down jacket and mittens. And maybe Hubby and I will put a roast chicken in the oven, and leave just before sunset.

There’s nothing like a late fall, late afternoon walk. The cold, fresh air. The dramatic skies. The warmth of the house when we come back inside. The smell of dinner in the oven. As long as it’s not Brussels sprouts. Or bacon. Ha.

What are you reading these days that might tempt me, my friends? Anything good?

P.S. The book links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a small commission which helps to pay for the blog.

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48 thoughts on “Nine Days of Covid: Whining and Reading”

  1. Hi Sue, I wanted to let you know that Richard Osman has 2 more books after The Man Who Died Twice. His 3rd book is The Bullet That Missed, and his 4th Book and latest is The Last Devil To Die. (Something new to read while you continue to recover. ) I also read in the back of Richard Osman’s latest book that he is working on a new future series about a father-in-law/ daughter-in-law detective duo. Something new and exciting to look forward to reading.
    When a teaspoon of honey in hot water doesn’t stop my cough, I switch to a fudge sickle and it freezes or numbs my throat. It is hard to be patient while the body heals, isn’t it? Thank you for the Galbraith book recommendations.
    Also, thank you for writing and posting another of your wonderfully written blogs, even when you are ill. Your blogs are always a pleasure to read.

    1. Oh dear… I meant to write the Last Devil to Die. Wish I was only on the second book. I’d have the last two to still to read. I do the honey and lemon in hot water thing too. The Pharmacist I spoke to said to use at least 1-2 tablespoons of honey with fresh lemon. I do that now and the larger amount of honey although sweet works much better. A fudgesickle sounds wonderful though. I used to love those as a kid.

  2. I have just finished a series on Prime that I loved. It is called The Village and the characters are rich and the main character a very strong determined woman who challenges the norms of the day. I am reading the last in the 7 Sisters books which bring the story of PA Salt and the Seven Sisters to a conclusion.
    I sincerely hope you manage that walk and feel more like yourself tomorrow.

  3. That does sound absolutely ghastly. Perhaps ten will be your magic number, a turning point in the travails. I too read my way through illness as a child, the first Agatha Christie that got me hooked – Hickory Dickory Dock – sprang immediately to mind. I suppose I was about 10 or 11. At present, I have three books on the go…a very good history of the Interregnum in the mid 17th century, a book of ghost stories and David Copperfield. I seem incapable of just reading one book at a time these days, and there are another two which I have started but can’t seem to really get my teeth into. David Copperfield is perfect for these misty November days. Hoping that the coming week brings a definite upturn in the household.

  4. I had the flu last Christmas and a week later got COVID. For me, I did loose my sense of taste and my taste has changed since. On to books. Right now I’m reading North Woods by Daniel Mason. I’ve just started it but his writing is interesting and I can’t wait to see the direction the novel goes. You lists of murder mysteries sounds intriguing. Murder mysteries are my comfort books.

  5. Hi Sue … so sorry that Stu become unwell shortly after you …
    Pretty much all that you’ve written about how you feel, resonates … I didn’t loose my sense of taste but it was definitely effected. I didn’t eat for a few days then all I fancied were ham sandwiches with Dijon mustard and grapefruit and mandarin oranges … but not fresh they had to be tinned with natural juice, not sugary!! Crazy! Nothing I’d normally eat or that I’ve fancied since lol
    I hope you enjoyed your walk but didn’t push yourself too much. I normally walk daily but I found I tired very easily with Covid and for a while after.
    I finally bought Lessons in Chemistry en route to Cornwall but I haven’t started to read it yet. I wondered if maybe it was over hyped but thought I’d give it a go, as there was only a limited choice of books available in the little shop.
    Take care both of you!
    Rosie xx

  6. SO sorry about your Covid experience! Just wretched. Your memories of reading while sick reminded me of my dad reading Gulliver’s Travels to me when I was 7 and had the measles. Back then, I was kept in a dark room and not allowed to read (to protect my eyes, supposedly). My siblings were out hunting Easter eggs, so the treat of having my dad all to myself, along with the thrilling adventures of Gulliver, kept me entertained.

  7. Ironically, we are just getting over Covid as well, for the first time. I didn’t have it nearly as badly as my husband, and truth be told, he isn’t really over it yet. I have read the Osman series and really enjoyed it. I’m currently reading a Kate Ellis (British crime writer) and drinking tea, as one must when these kinds of books. -Jenn

  8. Not covid but a broken ankle and a long stretch of non-weight-bearing recovery ahead of me. And I AM BUMMED. Thankful for my kneeling scooter and books! Started the Inspector Lynley (Elizabeth George) series last Spring and am currently on book 18. Never did I imagine I’d commit to this series but I just keep going. Not all of the books are gems but I’ve become deeply attached to Lynley, Havers, Nkata, and St. James and I’m not ready to let them go. They help me to forget that our Christmas plans are dubious, I can’t drive, I can’t exercise, I can only wear 2 pairs of [wide-leg] pants, etc. That’s what books are for.

    Wishing you and Hubby speedy recoveries.

    Lianne

  9. Love your ramblings. My husband and I, too, are isolating with COVID. Managed to miss it until now. Not happy. Like you, so tired all I can do is shuffle, then rest after making the bed or picking up. Happily my husband has the “light symptoms “ and is a really good cook, or we would probably starve. Just finished “The Direction of the Wind” by Mansi Shah for my book club. Very good. Feel better
    Rebecca Kleinman
    Uffalo Grove, Illinois

  10. So sorry, Sue. Covid is NO picnic. “Just like a cold…” bah! I’m glad you are able to focus on books and share what you’re reading and enjoying. I love your recommendations – and, as I had another TIA the day after my birthday, we’ve cancelled a long-awaited romantic getaway. I need a good murder mystery to make things better. Off to the library. Thank you, enjoy your walk, hope you both recover quickly!

  11. Thank God. I thought I was the only person on the planet who disliked Lessons in Chemistry. I couldn’t even finish it — the stereotypes drove me insane.

  12. Sorry to hear you all were both so sick – and recovery in my observation and experience takes more time than expected – I had a long stretch of feeling much better mid morning and totally drained by early afternoon! And I wasn’t very smart about not over extending, in retrospect; kept deciding that I was surely over it and then spending the next day in bed. Hopefully you all will have a better recovery experience!

    Cheers,
    Ceci

  13. I totally agree with you about Lessons in Chemistry. I found the main character unlikeable and the book was full of stereotypes. I finished it only because I was just curious enough about what would happen. I don’t understand how so many loved that book. I’m curious to know if you had been vaccinated for Covid? I had it for the first time before the lockdown and landed in the hospital. Not a fun time, for sure. I wish you a good recovery from this point forward.

  14. Also meant to mention a show I love. River, starring Stellan Skarsgard and Nicola Walker. So good, haunting, romantic, I’ve watched it twice.

    A book recommendation is Tom Lake by Ann Patchett.

  15. Suz from Vancouver

    So sorry to hear about you both getting Covid. I can totally relate to your experience. Husband and I both got it for the first time about 5 weeks ago, just before our flight to Salzburg. Our first trip off the continent since Covid.
    We had to eliminate that part of our trip and go straight to Budapest a week later.
    Ugh – we had avoided Covid thus far and I foolishly figured it would be a mild case since we had all those recommended vaccines. No, I was much sicker than anticipated….and still have a cough, probably the 100 day cough I often get with respiratory….
    On the positive side, better to be ill at home and not away.
    Like yourselves, we did have a great fall holiday. Your Portugal trip looked amazing.
    Books If you’re still looking for something different
    Do No Harm by Henry Marsh
    Killers of The Flower Moon by David Grann
    Thanks for taking the time to post, so appreciated.
    Suz from Vancouver

  16. So sorry to hear about the ugly old Covid raising its ugly head to bite you. My sister ( vaccinated with every new dose-probably 7 now) got Covid twice! My neighbor got Covid 2 days after this latest vaccination. He was very ill-for 10 days at least. It is a beast that keeps coming back to life.
    Take time to recover, read, slow down and eat well. Cheers to making it through.

  17. Sorry to hear you both got Covid! Living in pjs and shuffling around the house sounds par for the course. I got a booster shot Friday and am just now starting to move. We always plan a day of bed/couch time, as we both get aches and fever from each booster. So far we’ve not had Covid, although I often think it’s just a matter of time.

    I wasn’t wowed by Lessons in Chemistry either, but I am enjoying the Apple TV+ series. There are some days when I don’t have the energy to read in the evening (I think the fall/winter darkness tires my eyes more quickly), but finding a series to watch keeps me going. I’ve also enjoyed The Morning Show and we are looking forward to the latest season of Annika and Hotel Portofino.

  18. Oh my Covid is scary. I haven’t had it and hope not to get it. But who knows!
    Anyway I am reading Lessons in Chemistry and now am anxious to get to the end. I agree with you about the stereotype of men. It has kept my interest though. Then I’ll have to look for another to read. I always have to have a book going.
    Take care hope you feel better soon.

  19. I’m so sorry you are having a long bout. My Covid was not terrible, but somehow very unnerving because the collection of symptoms was so random. I knew I’d never had something like that before and that was scary. I also did not get very far with Lessons in Chemistry because of the opening rape scene. I have just finished the excellent Jane Austen mystery series by Jennifer Barron, am in the middle of Bookshops and Bonedust (cheerful fantasy), and have a Jane Smiley on deck. What a pleasure it is to live walking distance from the library!

  20. I hear you Sue, my husband and I are still covid bound. Brain fog and loss of taste has made him meaner than a bear. This is definitely taking awhile to recover. Yesterday I vacuumed the house and raked a few leaves, today I’ll be lucky to get dressed. I envy your ability to read, I just watch Poirot and a bit of Marples on BritBox, over and over. I tried to post earlier, no luck, brain fog has got me too. Get well soon.

  21. I liked to be (a little bit) sick and read in bed. Not any more,oh,no,no ( the first part)
    I’m so sorry that you both have to deal with Covid- you are not whining!
    Please,be careful and slow with chores- my mother has Covid for 10 days right now,with pneumonia as a complication ( X rays and everything prooved). It is serious and nasty. And we both got vaccine (again) 4 weeks ago . So far, I’m negative, tested multiple times, and without symptoms.
    God save the inventor of a dish washer!
    I’m reading Murder Most Royal right now,perfect for times like this,next will be Coleen Cambridge’s Murder By Invitation Only
    I’ve read Another Girl and have all the others mentioned here ( Tom Lake included ) waiting for me,but,too complicated( yes,I’m in a state) or long at the moment ( it seems that I have some kind of fog,too. Hence the typos and all)
    I’ve mentioned here recently C. W. Craven’s Washington Poe series. Not so cozy as Wycliffe ,but I liked him( even Avison Fluke series). I’ve started Sara Blaedel books ( Den Tavse Enke- I’ve read it in Croatian translation and couldn’t find English name- when I could leave my mother, I’ll go to the store and buy what I could find of the series
    I’m sharing your opinion of Lessons……although it was not bad
    Reviews could be like they never have read the book and I was often not sure if we’ve read the same book at all
    So,this is my whining for today! Take care!
    Dottoressa

  22. Poor baby! You are allowed all the whining you want, it’s no fun being sick. And since Covid hit upon your return home, there is no doubt a feeling of isolation and no full re-entry. It’s brave of you to write for us in the midst of it.
    I just finished Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, and liked it very much. It’s an absorbing story, good for long days on the couch and the bed.
    I haven’t seen Lessons in Chemistry yet. I also felt like the author took the easy way out, so that it could be a mostly happily-ever-after kind of story. For me, after a lifetime working in male dominated industries, the sexism was altogether too familiar. Kind of grim in real life, actually.
    But thanks for all the good book ideas.

  23. I am watching Lessons in Chemistry on Apple TV. I am really enjoying it. I can’t compare it to the book, as I haven’t read the book, but the TV series is very well done.

  24. Sorry you were bummed by Lessons in Chemistry, yes the stereotypes were rampant in the book..but working as an allied health professional (now retired) the characters are not far from the reality that older women in my profession and others often discussed at break time. Maybe not as violent but misogyny existed in the mid century ‘halls of academe’ and women that tried to walk their own path often found a well shod male foot tripping them up. Young, uber smart STEM females were so often pushed into ‘safe’ female professions…Nursing, Dietetics, Teaching, Lab technician. Of course these are all honorable professions but students today choose to go into them by choice. My brilliant aunt who should have gone to med school became a lab tech because her father felt that medicine was not an appropriate profession for a woman! My grandfather was not cruel and unkind but he was a result of his Victorian upbringing.
    When Elizabeth asks Calvin to name a female scientist and all he can come up with is Marie Curie says a lot about the male superiority in STEM professions in the ‘50’s and the fear that some men had of ‘smart women’ . There were many more women who made valuable contributions to science other then Mme Curie. A famous 1950’s scientist should have been able to reference a few more names! And Calvin is one of the ‘good guys’!
    The AppleTV adaptation gives the characters more dimension. A new character and her family is introduced who adds an interesting spin to Elizabeth’s mid century story.
    I find the characters are more well rounded and not as ‘caricatured’ as they are in the book. There is more darkness (trigger warnings are given before those episodes) which are not gratuitous as they occur in the book and help carry the plot forward.
    I too found the book ending unsatisfying so am eagerly awaiting the last episode to see how that is handled in the TV version. I am not a fan of the jolly, mid century vibe opening credits so skip that..nor was the book cover art appealing…but like the times, all appears well on the outside but it doesn’t take much of a dive to see the reality.
    Hope you & your husband are feeling better soon.

  25. I hope you are soon better. I understand your feeling about being unable to find your next book! I never want to be without a book to read! I comb the NYT book review on Sunday and then immediately go to my online library to put myself on the ebook list if a book is available there, after adding my name to the hardcover list in the actual library. Sometimes your recs for books by British authors are unavailable here because I live in the US, and then I’m disappointed. Lately I have enjoyed The Bee Sting by Paul Murray and Absolution by Alice McDermott.

  26. Covid is no picnic, as my husband and I also learned last year, after attending a small outdoor wedding, where about a third of the attendees got sick. I know several people who have contracted it recently during their travels. I suppose those are the hazards of resuming a “normal” life. At least having survived it makes one a little more certain of the risk v the rewards of venturing out. So happy you are feeling well enough finally to contemplate a walk!

    I agree that Lessons in Chemistry was over-hyped. I’m enjoying the series somewhat more, mostly because of the actors involved. But they can do only so much with the story itself.

    I’m desperate enough for material that I’m reading a book about Harvey Weinstein. Now THERE’S a truly abhorrent man. I think I need to follow your lead and get into some murders, which would be an improvement, lol.

  27. You are not whiny in the least, and I’m sorry you’ve had such a nasty bout of COVID. My symptoms were milder than yours (though still not fun!) when I was infected last year, but the frustrating thing was that when I was feeling otherwise fully recovered, I would continue to hit a wall of fatigue on a daily basis. It didn’t take too long to resolve, but my two cents would be not to attempt to jump back into all of your normal routines too quickly.

    If you’re going to have your feet up reading, are you familiar with the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard? I had never heard of this author until a friend mentioned her a few months ago, and I found this 2016 article by Hilary Mantel, which was enough of a recommendation to give the series a try. It’s a long family saga set in pre- to post-WWII England, and I am now engrossed in the fourth volume. I have found the series to improve as it goes along, so it’s worth persisting through the first volume even it it doesn’t grab you immediately.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/30/hilary-mantel-elizabeth-jane-howard-novelist

    Wishing you and Stu a good continued recovery!

  28. As fate would have it, I have just gotten covid, too, despite keeping up with the boosters. I can so identify with the sneezing! My audible book keeping me company is The Deep River set in Finland and Washington State. And i binge watched Payback on Britbox. Was that ever a great thriller! Today I got out of my pjs and feel halfway human again.

  29. Glad to hear you are finally coming up for air from this wretched virus. Hubby and I both got it the week before Christmas last year despite being fully vaccinated so Christmas dinner was a slice of toast and some instant soup. Our daughter and her family were due to arrive from Australia for a two week holiday and ended up in a hotel for a few nights as we were still in isolation. Now I’ve caught it again although we’ve had more vaccinations. A month later I am still coughing and feeling like a wrung out dish cloth. Added to the general woes it looks as if I might have ruptured a disc or cracked a vertebrae so waiting to see what is going to happen on that front. The result of hitting a large pothole in the road! I seem to spend most of my time either in bed or on a recliner chair watching reruns of Midsomer Murders and Vera. Also reading some murder mystery books by Blake Banner which don’t require too much thought or concentration as brain is working a bit in slow motion.
    Hope you enjoy your walk and the fresh air. Just take recovery slowly.

  30. I’m just wondering if Covid was a souvenir from your lovely vacation and were you up to date with the latest vaccine? Two sick in one house isn’t idea but I suppose having another human with whom to commiserate might have helped?

  31. Sue, I’m sorry that this has happened to you two. Can anyone tell me…does Paxlovid actually help with this situation? Hope you feel better soon and that there are no lingering effects. We have, so far, been lucky – but that’s it…it doesn’t seem to matter whether your vaccs are up to date.

    1. My personal experience with Paxlovid is that it helped immensely with symptoms. After a day or so on it I went from feeling quite ill (pretty high fever, throat so sore I dreaded swallowing) to feeling as if I had a very mild cold. However I did develop a rebound case just as I was about to emerge from isolation. During the rebound I had a slight scratchy throat, nothing else, but it did double my time in isolation which wasn’t fun. However, all in all, I would take it again if I get Covid again.

  32. Margaretanne Clinton

    I’m so sorry to hear how long and harsh your Covid has been. I was extremely sick with it in 2020. I had it again in 2022. This time my husband called our doctor. He ordered Paxlovid. On the second day of my symptoms I took the medication . The next day I’d improved.
    Sue , I love, Berlin Diaries 1940-1945
    Marie Vassiltchikov .
    Also , any book by Charles Williams , War in Heaven ,All Hallows’ Eve ,again all of his books. You’ll read one and then you’ll read them all.
    Wonderful photos. Thanks for those.!

  33. I hope you both are soon feeling better. Touch wood….I have yet to catch it. The benefits of being a fully vaccinated hermit I guess.
    In no order…..recent reads I have quite enjoyed.
    Demon Copperhead. Barbara Kingsolver
    Old God’s Time. Sebastian Barry.
    Outlive- the Science and Art of Longevity. Peter Attia, MD lol
    Orwell’s Roses . Rebecca Solnit (also by her Recollections of my
    Nonexistence.) And I have her Wanderlust on deck.
    The Marriage Portrait. Maggie O’Farrell
    The Friend. Sigrid Nunez (also by her
    What are you going through?)
    The Door. Magda Szabo
    And….finally….I just started SaintX. Alexis Schaitkin. (Here’s hoping ….)
    Oh….just remembered. Historical. Not my usual fare, but really enjoyed The Wager- a tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder. David Grann.
    Take care.

  34. Hope you are on your way to good health by now. Anyone who has been sick for nine days deserves to whine!
    I put Lessons in Chemistry firmly in the “chick lit” category, meaning that I expect caricatures instead of real characters. As for better-written books, Tender Mercies by Dennis Lehane is a gripping story (I guess you could call it a thriller?) about school integration in Boston in the 1970s. The main character is not particularly likable but felt like a real person to me. I’m midway through On Beauty by Zadie Smith – also set in the Boston area. Very well written and engrossing, supposedly loosely based on Howard’s End. Wikipedia says it “addresses ethnic and cultural differences in both the USA and the UK, as well as the nature of beauty, and the clash between liberal and conservative academic values,” but for all that it’s an enjoyable read.

  35. Oh dear! Do feel better. Just got my #5 booster last week and have not yet had the virus.
    My husband did have it during Christmas 2021. Our son, DIL, and granddaughter were visiting. I isolated alongside of husband in our bedroom even though I had no symptoms. Our son, an excellent cook, delivered meals outside our door like room service. Even with my husband’s illness, those meals were a beautiful treat.
    I am a bit stunned by the number of your readers who have had or have CoVid. The numbers are, indeed, rising again. I’ll be hopping on a plane in a week for an American Thanksgiving visit to said son in Seattle. Saying my prayers for a smooth trip.
    Do get well, Sue. Thank you for posting when not feeling your best. It was still good to hear from you!

  36. I’m near tears as I read your blog. I’m feeling the feels. Whenever I’m sick, I long for my mom and the comfort she gave me. I laugh when women say “men are babies when they’re sick”. Meet me!
    Vanilla pudding & bananas or tomato soup made with milk were healthy choices when I was a child. Then not knowing I was lactose intolerant and feeling worse shortly thereafter. Ha!!
    I’ve recently tested myself twice for Covid , it showed negative. But this cough lingers. I’m finding as I get older I’m not bouncing back as quickly as I did.
    A moving post with raw honesty along with great reading material suggestions.
    Hopefully you and Stu are feeling better!

  37. I agree about Lessons in Chemistry though most people I know quite liked it. Two novels that I have liked recently are Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (to my surprise, since I know nothing about gaming, but it is about so much more) and Hello, Beautiful.

  38. Sue – I’m hoping you’ll both have turned a corner by now, but if I can pass on my own experience of covid lurgy. A neighbour warned me that the temptation when starting to improve and pick up chores and activities was a mistake and to allow oneself a month to recover properly. It certainly helped. I rather like Lessons in Chemistry: my own early career in publishing suffered some of the same problems. I didn’t ‘get’ the Richard Osman novels, but have just discovered Katherine Heiny after a search for something light-hearted in the current challenging times.

  39. Sorry I’m late . I’m well but my iPad has been very poorly . All fixed now . I hope you & Stu are pulling round a little but , as others have said , be careful & don’t rush back to normal life . Perhaps best you don’t tire yourself responding to everyone here , they’ll understand.
    My recent reads – The Silent Patient , overhyped but still enjoyed it . The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo , ditto . Ready for Absolutely Nothing by Susannah Constantine , good gossipy read by an ‘ upper class ‘ girl who mingled with the rich & famous including a long relationship with Princess Margaret’s son , which gave her plenty of insights on the royals .

  40. Oh Sue sounds awful! I guess the one comfort is that you’ll have built up some hybrid immunity once you are recovered. Do you have any idea where you picked it up?

    I enjoy reading the comments from your books community. I have less time to read these days but it does paint a nice picture for the future/retirement!

    I’ve avoided COVID so far, even though I travel a great deal and work in an office tower. I take more measures to avoid it than most, however, with continued masking in some circumstances and avoiding indoor dining where possible, largely because my partner is one of those who really should not get the virus (or the flu for that matter). Some think it’s a bit ridiculous at this point, but I’ve found I’ve been able to live well while keeping him safe so far. It’s a balancing act. I wonder myself when we’ll feel comfortable dropping the extra safety precautions.

    Wishing you well!

  41. Good morning, everyone.
    Thank you so much for all the book and movie/series suggestions. I appreciate them so much. I’m not going to answer all the comments individually this week. I’m conserving my energy for housecleaning.
    Seriously. I told Stu yesterday that I would do one productive thing each day. Yesterday I dusted and vacuumed one bedroom. Sunday I did the bathroom. Today I think I’ll make muffins. Then it’s back to my couch. The advice about taking it easy is wise, I think. My energy runs out quickly. But if I don’t do anything productive I do tend to sink into a slough of despond. Ha.
    To answer a couple of questions in your comments. Yes, we were up to date on our booster shots. I tried to book shots before we left for Portugal but it was too early, and by the time we came home, we were right at the six month limit. So I do wonder if waning immunity contributed to our falling ill. I don’t believe we contracted the virus until we came home. I went nowhere for a week after our homecoming, and I tested negative. Then had coffee with a friend in a crowded coffee shop and three days later fell ill. Bad timing. Next time we take a trip I will be more mindful of when our booster immunity runs out.
    Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone. It is very much appreciated. xox

  42. Yup, it’s no fun, Sue! Glad to know you (and I) are feeling better. When I was coming out of COVID, I took to going to the apartment’s gym at 6 or 7 am. At that time of day, no one was there and I didn’t feel much guilt about exercising without a mask. I hope to keep this new habit. As for the new TV habit … I’m now hooked on Call the Midwife. There’s only 11 seasons to get through, free thanks to CBC Gem, so I’m set when the next flu/RSV/cold hits town.

  43. I do hope you are both feeling better.
    I am currently reading the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. Set in England pre, during, and post WW1. Maisie is a detective , coming through the ranks of service in a stately home,; becoming a nurse in France during the Great War; returning to London to set up a private investigating business.
    I like the series because it is gentle (if you can imagine a detective series being such) and Maisie is an elegant independent woman. I am currently reading the 4th of 13 books in the series,,,,,and do recommend them.

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