Don’t worry, your screen isn’t about to start eating itself. You needn’t even close the page down and tell your computer security to run a check. This is a pre-technology virus: the kind that’s been around since the world began, and possibly even before that.
There I was, all ready for a New Year rant about something or other about the book trade that annoys me, when the tickle in my throat turned into the kind of intermittent cough and general lethargy that disturbed my sleep and sapped the energy for ranting about anything at all. Or indeed doing anything at all, other than curling up in my armchair with a large mug of something warm and comforting and one of the must-reads currently stacking up on the appropriately labelled bookshelf.
Though I have to admit that if this is as bad as the winter virus attack gets in 2012, I don’t really have much cause for complaint. For once it’s chosen a time which doesn’t interfere with urgent work or enjoyable social life; the cough and lethargy are pretty much the only symptoms; and curling up in an armchair with a good book is one of my favourite occupations, so a legitimate excuse to do it can’t be altogether a bad thing.
There’s a poster on the wall of my family doctor’s waiting room which points out that swallowing medication isn’t the solution to winter viruses, since it has very little effect and the virus usually goes away on its own after a few days. Unless the virus is the knock-out variety that puts me under the duvet for a few days, I find the best cure is comfort reading. And today some of my favourite authors, of whom there are many, are all lined up to ease my symptoms.
This morning I finished Lee Child’s Worth Dying For, and found out how he escaped at the end of 61 Hours, which to my mind is still the standard to which every other thriller should aspire. I did enjoy Worth Dying For, but some titles in a great series stand out above the rest.
This afternoon I’ll be going back to Reginald Hill as soon as I post this, um, post. Somehow the must-read shelf has acquired a multiplicity of Dalziel and Pascoe (I’m catching up with the early ones I missed) so I seem to be reading them alternately with everything else. So far I haven’t found the stand-out title in this wonderful series. There may not even be one; Reg Hill seems to have a knack of making each one subtly (or sometimes radically) different from the others.
After Reg I have Susan Hill, C J Sansom, Meg Gardiner and a couple of other favourites to choose from; and for later, when I’m feeling better, but not better enough for serious work (not that I’m really semi-retired, you understand, just taking things a little easier these days), my first-ever Tess Gerritsen to sample. (Yeah, OK, how did she come this far as a fan of crime fiction without reading Tess Gerritsen? All I can say is, so many books, so little time...)
So the ranting can wait a week or two. And maybe by the time the virus has taken off to land elsewhere, I’ll have something sensible to say about editing again.
Meanwhile, a pleasant, successful and virus-free New Year to anyone who happens to be reading this.