This is what my bedside table has looked like for the past few weeks.
I think I now own partial stock in Kleenex, my husband and I are familiar to all the late-night cashiers at the local pharmacies, and I have had my first chest x-ray and inhaler.
When we are in our most hectic days, having a few days to sit in bed and read sounds pretty nice. But in my experience, it doesn't really work that way. The kids are sick when you are, so there is less time spent resting in your own bed and more time spent checking temperatures and rocking them back to sleep. Instead of reading through a glorious pile of books during your sick days, it's much more likely you fall asleep in the middle of a page and then wake up to cough all over your book.
But all hope is not lost! Just because someone in your house has been sick for the last five weeks doesn't mean that you can't do any reading at all.
Here are my tried and true tricks for reading when you and everyone you know has fallen victim to the flu/cold/stomach bug.
1) Put The Nonfiction Down
I know, that giant biography looks really interesting, but you probably can't hack it. I certainly couldn't focus on the intricacies of Benjamin Dweyer's grammar guide or the ins and outs of paleontology in The Dinosaur Artist while I was hacking up a lung. Just put it aside--it will still be there when you feel better.
2) Go Short!
Sick days are the perfect time to tackle the novellas or short stories you've been meaning to read. If you have twenty minutes of attention before the cough medicine kicks in, that's a whole story down! I finally read the first of the Murderbot Diaries while I was sick this time and it was perfect.
3) Stay Familiar
Now is not the moment to start the new series you keep hearing about or finally learn about quantum physics. Sick reading is the time to stay familiar, with characters, authors, and stories you already know. This is your moment to pick up a sequel, re-read a favorite story, or let your inner fan out. Personally, I read Leia, Princess of Alderaan, which was perfect because I already knew some of the characters but I also learned more about our favorite princess/general.
Being sick is the worst. Don't beat yourself up if your reading falls by the wayside, just like the stack of mail on the table and the dishes in the sink. The books will be waiting for you when you're finally germ-free.