My friends, I have been miserably sick for over 36 hours now, and there’s no end in sight. As I see myself logging a lot of Bed Time in the near future, let’s take a look at some books that star characters who’re convalescing from one thing or another:
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge
When I think of convalescing, this is always the first book that comes to mind—possibly because my own personal Summer Of Mono memories are so, so clear, and because in Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, Koertge captures that feeling of lost time, of cranky exhaustion, of playing catch-up when it’s time to re-enter the world so beautifully. It’s a verse novel that makes sense as a verse novel, too—there’s a reason for the choice of format—which is a rarity. So I’m thinking that it’s time for a re-read, and time to finally get around to reading the sequel, Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs.
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
It’s been almost ten years since Graceling came out, and I’ve still never read either of the two follow-ups, Fire and Bitterblue. (I know, I know.) While I’m thinking that I might need to just curl up into my bed with all three of them, it’s Bitterblue that is really calling to me at the moment—it deals with not only the main character’s recovery from her father’s mind-control and reign of terror over their kingdom, but with the entire kingdom’s recovery. Which makes me think of two other lovely fantasies that involve the main characters working to healing the land itself: Chalice, by Robin McKinley, and Uprooted, by Naomi Novik.
Untwine by Edwidge Danticat
I wrote a bit about this one on a recent list about books set in Florida, but it belongs here as well, as it’s largely set in a hospital bed in the aftermath of a horrible car accident. It sounds dreamy and quiet and sad and thoughtful and loving and ultimately hopeful—all feelings that would perfectly complement my current state.
The Short Seller by Elissa Brent Weissman
Middle grade book about a seventh-grader who starts playing the stock market while recovering from mono… and it turns out that she’s got a knack for it! This might be the first time I’ve seen the stock market show up in a children’s book—you?
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This one isn’t exactly about recovery—the premise involves a girl who is so violently allergic to so many things that she’s spent her whole life indoors… and what happens when she falls in love with the boy next door—but I’m including it due to the Stuck Inside angle. I had some minor issues with suspension of disbelief when I read it last year, but Yoon’s writing is lovely, as is the romance. And as this recent Buzzfeed article made me reconsider my issues in re: suspension of disbelief, it’s time for a revisit.
The Gawgon and the Boy by Lloyd Alexander
Rather than return to school, a boy recovering from pneumonia is tutored at home by his “Aunt,” who the Kirkus reviewer described as “a true battleaxe.” Which, of course, is all I really needed to hear—I’m always here for the battleaxes. A focus on family and the power of stories, with a large dose of wordplay—it sounds like this might be a great readalike for Polly Horvath’s The Trolls.
With Malice by Eileen Cook
A car accident leads to one girl dead, and the other in the hospital with massive head trauma. But who was driving, and what caused the accident? The survivor’s narration and struggles to remember tell part of the story, and blog posts, police reports, and instant messages round it out. Kirkus dinged With Malice for weak characterization, but it sounds just soapy enough that I might give it a try anyway.
While I wasn’t able to find a whole lot of books in this realm—maybe authors and publishers figure that there’s not enough potential drama when a character is at home, sick in bed?—I know there must be more. What I’m really craving is some sort of mystery/horror/thriller about someone stuck in bed or on the couch... something like Rear Window. Any ideas?
Other recommendations—and your favorite chicken soup recipes—are very welcome!
In addition to running a library in rural Maine, Leila Roy blogs at Bookshelves of Doom, is currently serving on the Amelia Bloomer Project committee, is a contributor at Book Riot, hangs out on Twitter a lot—possibly too much—and watches a shocking amount of television. Her cat is a murderer.