Dammit, friends–working full-time at a place where there are no cats and you can’t just stay in your pajamas is hard. I like the work and my coworkers are great and there are windows. But: So. Damned. Hard.

I shouldn’t even be writing this; I should be getting ready for work tomorrow, but I’ve come down with a bad-ish cold (a cold imported from Mexico by my globe-trotting husband; no locavore illnesses for me, thank you, I’m too fancy for that). I’m going to play the “I’m rumpled because my throat really effing hurts, and my head hurts even more, and these dizzy spells are not as delightful as you might think” card tomorrow and go in, not in pj’s, but in jeans that come close to feeling like pj’s.

So, there are two things: What to read when there’s no time to read. And then there’s what to read when you’re sick.

Ship BreakerThe second one first: I am happy to note that YA and/or Fantasy is still good reading medicine for me when I’m under the weather. Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker is a delicious morsel of post-apocalyptic reality wrapped up in super-tasty writing.

Don’t tell me that doesn’t make sense; I know it doesn’t. And yet, it does, because you are certain, as am I, that if I weren’t distracted by the claws that are clawing at my throat from the inside, I’d be writing something incredibly brilliant–no, actually, I’d be getting ready for work. Ne’er mind!

The first now: Short books–as in 200 pages or less, ideally–are what to read when you’re averaging 7-15 pages a day. I have read a number of books since my blogging began its terrible sabbatical; some of them have been really excellent. Which ones, which ones, you ask, my voracious reading friends? These ones were excellent:

The Mating Season, P.G. Wodehouse–larfs!!

Cousin Henry, Anthony Trollope–AT could sure write a convincing portrait of a craven worm, without ever calling said subject either worm-like or cravenly.

Rudin, Ivan Turgenev (trans. David McDuff)–CAN’T BREATHE. Why did no one tell me about Turgenev??

Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson–Perfect. My heart broke when I learned how young RLS was when he died. So many unwritten perfect short novels.

Le Grand Meulnes, Alain-Fournier (trans. Frank Davison)–The love affair with France continues.

What are you reading? What super-short novels should I be adding to my commuting repertoire? (I’ve already got Chekhov waiting for me–woot!)

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Thomas says:

    My bad. Turgenev is amazing. Though, like Dostoyevski, probably better in English, as a Russian friend of mine keeps telling me.

    Also, thought you’d died. Been a spell.

    1. Colleen says:

      Thinking I had died is a little extreme. ;p But yes, I too have heard that D. is better in English–lucky for us! I’m looking forward to reading On the Eve this year…and I’m looking for a good translation of Fathers and Sons.

      1. Sylvia says:

        My translation of _Fathers and Sons_ is quite good. It’s by Michael R Katz, 1994. Of course, there may be newer and better ones around.

  2. Hang on now. Someone told you about Turgenev. For more, try On the Eve or First Love or – well, as far as I know, any or all of it.

    Get well.

    1. Colleen says:

      I have On the Eve waiting for me…and I now realized I have read First Love (and that I enjoyed it), but Rudin is far superior (in my opinion). And it’s my loss doubled that not only that I haven’t read enough Turgenev, but also that I missed your posts about him.

  3. Tony says:

    Yep, Rudin’s a great read (and the Alain-Fournier’s not bad either). Hopefully, I’ll find the time to meet Cousin Henry at some point this year…

    1. Colleen says:

      I’m sure you’ll find the time…you’re one of the greatest readers out there. 🙂

  4. Guy Savage says:

    I’m a Turgenev fan. Just read Spring Torrents. Currently on AT’s Lady Anna which isn’t his best but still entertaining.

    1. Colleen says:

      I haven’t read Lady Anna yet, but just began Rachel Ray. I would probably say the same thing about it. Trollope is always comfortably readable, even when he’s not “on.”

  5. Stefanie says:

    I’m reading David Copperfield on my daily commute, definitely not short but it does move right along. Hope you are feeling better!

    1. Colleen says:

      David Copperfield! I love that book; it’s the one that made me realize just how gifted a writer Dickens was. I envy you having the pleasure of reading it for the first time!

      Not feeling better…but trying not to get demoralized. The internet is full of things to distract me, so I’ll keep going down the rabbit hole until I feel better.

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