Book Reviews, Books, Doubt, Movies, Opinion, Reader, Real Life, Time, Writing

Hell is being sick … and not being able to read!

By a strange coincidence, a virus felled me the day after I saw the movie Contagion. That was bad enough, but the topper was that for a couple days, I was too sick to even read. You can only sleep so much, and with my need for glasses, it’s not easy watching television lying down. And writing—even to just think the words—fuhgeddaboutit!

So, as much as I hate the word bored, I have to say I was. I kept thinking about that Twilight Zone episode where the man who wants only to be left alone with his books, gets his wish, but then isn’t able to read because he breaks his glasses. Hell, indeed. Today, I’m about 90% back to normal.

When I could read again, I finished The Help, which I’d started before I got sick, and read a little more of another one, Joy for Beginners, which I’d started over a month ago, but set aside.

For the record, I loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I mentioned in a previous post. I was astounded to learn the degree to which one woman’s cells have been instrumental in worldwide medical and biological research for over fifty years. My only reserve is discomfort over the way the author chose to portray Henrietta’s family.

I also loved The Help. It’s been a long time since I read a book of that length so quickly. I hope to see the movie soon, though I’ve heard it’s not as good as the book. Typical. I try not to read reviews before I read a book, so afterward I was surprised to read negative remarks written as though the reader expected The Help to be more history than fiction.

Despite what the cover says, Joy for Beginners is not constructed as a traditional novel, and eventually I found it less frustrating to read it as a collection of connected short stories. The writing is pretty. The reason I’m taking so long to finish the book is that I don’t care enough about the characters.

As for Contagion, it was a disappointment. The acting was good, the story premise good, the execution of that premise, not good. It started out well, developed a bit, but then waned, and finally, fizzled out. Gee. I seem to be doing nothing but blogging reviews lately, or rather opinions—which is exactly how you should view them.

I don’t really have much to say about writing because I’m sort of stumbling around again. This is a list of the writing problems I encountered this month:

  1. I kept changing my mind on which book to work on first. (Solved … I think.)
  2. I lost sight of writing for myself and started wondering what readers would think.
  3. I started worrying about who I’ll get to beta read and how I can pay an editor.

In short, I’ve been fussing and fighting with writing, but not doing much of it. I have one more novel to read, and then I’m hanging up my library card for a while, so I can do what I’m supposed to do. Write. Right?

19 thoughts on “Hell is being sick … and not being able to read!”

  1. Well, I haven’t read Henrietta Lacks, The Help, Joy for Beginners, or seen Contagion (how culturally inept am I??), but I haven’t been by for a while, so I thought I’d say “hi”. I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    I’m reading The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, and liking it a lot.


  2. Last winter I got the flu and spent several days semi-hallucinating with a high fever. There were giant chickens EVERYWHERE in and around my head. Those giant chickens eventually made it into Just Desserts, so it was ultimately worthwhile to be sick! I’ll bet this worked as some kind of gestation period for you.

    I’m not on the same love train about The Help as most people – I did find it compelling but not as believable as many other people found it.

    Now I need to go look for The Leftovers.

    Glad you’re feeling better!


    1. I didn’t hallucinate anything, Natasha. 😦 At least that would have been entertaining. Gestation period? Maybe so. I hope so. I need to get to work.

      Well, naturally, not everyone loves The Help. As always, it depends on what you bring to it. I was highly entertained by the story … improbable though it might be. That did not blind me to the error of her writing that Medgar Evers was “bludgeoned”, even though in another place (or two) she said, correctly, that he was shot. (How did her editor miss that?)

      And thank you. 🙂


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