Reading Through Con Crud

I don’t wind up with con crud after every con, but it seems like it sometimes. The First Reader, on the other hand, has had it once. The current theory is that some people are most susceptible to it, like me. It could also be because I’m a hugger and he isn’t. For whatever reason, I got it this year after LibertyCon. Took me down for two days, and messed up my planned schedule. Which is why I’m writing this post instead of something a bit more planned.

Steps for dealing with con crud:

  • try not to over-schedule during the con and actually get some sleep
  • Eat and drink regularly during the con. Drink some more, and no, I don’t mean alcohol.
  • After the con, get rest.
  • When the tickle at the back of the throat starts, gargle with warm salt water.
  • When the sore throat erupts, an equal blend of lemon juice and honey, taken in teaspoonfuls, is soothing
  • When the fever hits, recognize that it is a regulatory function of your immune system and don’t try to knock it down with NSAIDs right away.
  • Try to sleep, or at least get in bed and stay there.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • When the fever breaks, don’t immediately get up and go back to normal routines. Stay in bed a little longer.
  • Drink more water…

If you’re me, you’ll skip some of these steps (like the first three!). I also supplement with reading, if I’m in too much pain to sleep or have other reasons to stay awake. Reading while I’m sick is… interesting.

For one thing, I need to be able to easily immerse into the world. Some writers make this very easy, others I have to work at a bit, and some are just impossible. I tend to avoid new books/authors when I’m sick, returning to old friends and reliable reads. On the other hand, really complex reads are just not fun when you are all foggy with a fever. Yesterday I had some old familiar books in the form of several Margery Allingham’s that have been re-released and which are available through KU (yay!) and a Dorothy Sayers. I did manage a couple of new books for review, too. I also discovered that I had stuff on my Kindle app I don’t remember putting on there: Zombie Fallout? Really?

I have discovered that it is so much better to read on the kindle app while sick than to attempt paper. I have in the past found myself wound ’round stacks of books on my bed… this at least means I can push it to my nightstand and roll over without fear of damage to me or books. Reading ebooks has the advantage of allowing me to pick through hundreds of choices to find the one thing that suits my mood without getting up from bed and prowling through the shelves. It’s got the unfortunate side effect of allowing me to easily binge-read and buy more books in a series with a single click: dangerous when one is in a lowered mental state that can’t do the math on one’s book budget!

Reading while I’m ill, I discovered a long time ago, makes me a bit more porous. I’m not sure how best to describe this, so I will approach it in a roundabout sort of fashion. Those who meet and speak with me will sometimes comment on my accent. Especially when I have been talking to someone only on the phone, I get asked if I am from Britain. I am not, and have spent only six weeks over there, but I have a theory. Well, two of them, really. The First Reader and I were talking on this topic recently: my voice is affected by my reading habits. Whether it is my word choices, or my pronunciation, my voice, he tells me, can be a bit ‘posh’ to the American ear. He was more aware of it than I, as he went though a period of time where he deliberately removed his speaking vocabulary from broad to narrow, as he was being harassed when he first went into the military. Earlier than that, he took the trouble to lose his Kentucky accent, although to my delight he can put it back on when he wants. I like the drawl.

I never had that particular crab-bucket experience, where others mocked me for my vocabulary. I have noticed that if I am reading a lot of a particular style, I will start to use and think in words that aren’t my normal ones. Right now, that’s because I’ve been heavily immersed in British mysteries. In high school, when I was most certainly not allowed to swear, I picked up the habit of ‘oh bother’ and ‘Bloody!’ which stay with me to this day. I knew what I was doing, but I could get away with it!

I’m looking at this rambling and thinking I may need to go back to bed for a while. I’m still not myself. I wonder which book I shall take with me this time?


  1. Reading as pain killer- oh yeah. You could amputate my leg if the book is good enough.

    Tablet, rather than kindle or i-something. I like to control my own hardware.

  2. Sorry you’re feeling low. Rest is best. The step I skip is bed rest. Reading tastes doesn’t really change.

    On accents: Since there is a bias against a certain accent in this country, it’s best to have some fun. Such as laying on the thick South of the Mason-Dixon line accent with something like “Waall, as the old folks uses to say, ‘Repensium est canicula.'” Or pull a Jim Nabors.

    1. I’ve seen him do that for fun, yes. And the only time I’ve seen it really come out naturally was when he was as close to drunk as I’ve ever seen him.

      I’m resting. I’m impatient with this – I have too much to do and it’s keeping me from doing it.

      1. You should read some more. Have I mentioned that I have new stuff up on Amazon? (Was that sufficiently mercenary? I can never tell…)

          1. As soon as I can figure out what to do about a cover. I’ve had an image in mind forever, but I’m not sure how to realize it. Also, it probably doesn’t send quite the right message, as it’s in line with the rest of the covers. I need to start working on getting a print version ready, too.

          2. My reviews to episodes 1 – 3 are up right now on amazon, and I’m about to write 4 – 6. Except Amazon reminded me I haven’t reviewed “One Drink” yet. That can’t be right! I blogged it? Better check that out.
            BUT I have reviewed Shadow Hands, Fallen Knight, and Heal Thyself.

            1. Okay, now I have reviewed all six, and they have gone live to Amazon. The last three are: By Hands and Knees, Wizard Training, and Within Range. I will blog on the entire series, perhaps today.
              Internet friends, you know that you can leave a ‘Helpful’ check mark on my reviews other than on the books that I review which YOU wrote, right? Through some in-depth investigative research by a gifted younger gentleman, I now know that if you click on my name in any review I write, it will bring up ALL my reviews. My reviewer rating as of this moment is 45,344, and that means I’ve DROPPED 2000 places in a few days.
              Why is that important? We have reason to believe that Amazon is giving weighted values to reviews. They have stated that KU ratings aren’t as significant as Verified Purchaser ratings.
              LOOK: I have two purposes in doing these reviews. The first is to provide feedback to authors. The second is to promote those books I think are good books.
              I have written 120 reviews on Amazon. I have received 98 votes as ‘Helpful.’
              Dorothy Grant. is this gaming the system and should it be an object of shame ?

              1. If it results in more sales of my stuff, it can’t possibly be gaming the system. It’s capitalism, which is approved by apple pie, George Washington, and firearms across the face of the globe!

                On the other hand, if it doesn’t result in increased lucre in my pocket, it’s deefinitely gaming the system…

  3. Cedar, I wonder if con crud might be mitigated if you took a bottle of waterless hand cleaner with you and used it after every event? Just a thought. My own con crud hit before the con, so I was pounded flat in advance.
    Regards the language thing, I am sometimes able if I try really hard to mildly implement a Scots accent in my writin’ Tis nae bad thing, ye know, ta hae a bit of bluidy marder in yer thoughts as ye write.

    1. Scots accents are fun to write – the sprites in the Pixie series have a very thick brogue. When I was a teen I read a lot of George MacDonald, and some in the dialect as I couldn’t find translations of all of his. It’s heavy going at first but once you get used to it, very readable.

  4. I LOVE British mysteries, especially the ones I grew up on. Which Sayers did you read?

    My go to when under the weather is Busman’s Honeymoon.

    Hope you’re feeling better – but at least you get to go to cons and have some fun BEFORE you catch something.

    Drink LOTS of water, but don’t forget to replace electrolytes.

        1. I think the first time I read it I was 14, and as I have re-read it through the years it has deepened until this last re-read it was astonishing how much of myself I could see in Harriet.

  5. You think reading is bad, try living with a South African-American. I’m picking up his accent when I don’t think about it, and my spelling has extra u’s showing up after o’s…. I cannot, however, get the addiction to curry. My stomach won’t handle it.

    1. I’ve had conversations with my editors about my spelling – I switch back and forth from American to British at random.

      I love garam masala. Curry not so much.

    2. I picked up . . . British punctuation. Had no idea until grad school, and I’m still not certain where I got it from (other than reading lots of British history and science books). My spoken accent is semi-Texan with a Midwestern flat pitch, but my vocabulary is Southern. Talk about confusing people! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I can’t read when I’m sick, because I usually get light-headed and the last thing I need is to try and read as the world is swirling. I generally end up flat on my back listening to music on my headphones.

      1. I just reviewed Fledermaus Murphy on Amazon. It’s GREAT, I LOVE the way you softly under-tell the stories. It’s like a punch in the nose with dandelion fuzz, while eating Key Lime pie, and you have to sneeze. Face away from your friends first!

    3. The Indian restaurant we like has a Lamb Madras so hot it’s physically painful to eat. Delicious, but unfinishable. Which makes me sad. And my gut sad, too.

      1. Thai is what gets me. Alas, this week I discovered that Thai curries + stress-induced heartburn = much sorrow and woe. (Not that it will stop me from making curry tomorrow, mind, or from getting more Thai food, just I’ll go armed and pre-loaded with acid-blocker from now on.)

        1. Alas, my hot-pepper days are at an end since they no longer agree with me. In my younger days, slices of Habanero were my limit, and I preferred to grow my own tabasco chilis for slicing and pickling. These days I use Tabasco ™ sparingly and eat pickled jalapeno only occasionally.

          1. I was, for a while, getting the burn in the middle of the night – every night. Acid blockers only last so long.

            Changed my diet to get rid of the hot stuff – no help whatsoever. Then finally started paying attention to what I eat – and stopped the “unreduced” dairy at least ten hours before bed (milk, ice cream, etc. – cheese is OK).

            Went right back to my hot foods – not a problem since!

            It’s not ALWAYS the peppers.

  6. Re: Zombie Fallout

    After reading your post I couldn’t resist the urge to look it up on Amazon. After noting that it was free (yay!), I noticed the first line in the “blurb”: It was a flu season like no other.

    Considering your “con crud”, maybe someone somewhere was trying to tell you that you neeeeeed to read that book.

    Or not.

    Get well, drink plenty of fluids, and think happy thoughts, at least when you aren’t immersed in a book.

  7. I also have a bit of a British/transatlantic accent and turn of idioms myself – partly from having read a lot of English material over the years, but also through having English grandparents who were quite fanatical about proper pronunciation … and a summer spent in England and Scotland. We were out and away from other Americans for much of the summer, and it became very natural to start pronouncing words as the locals did, just so that we could be understood! In the first couple of weeks it was, “So, what part of the States are you from?” and then it was, “You really don’t have much of an accent for an American,” and finally, towards the end of summer, it was, “Are you from the States or from Canada?”

  8. Cedar,

    You forgot the bourbon to go with the honey and lemon. May not actually cure you but in any case you won’t care.

        1. No idea on the turmeric, but I do strongly recommend cutting the honey and lemon juice with Crown Royal. I find that 1 tblsp honey, 1 tsp lemon juice (the real stuff, from a lemon, not a jar), and 2 tblsp Crown Royal, and taken in tiny sips over an hour or so, repeat as necessary, really does soothe a sore throat better than anything else I have tried, and I have tried it all, I was very prone (couldn’t spell succeptable) to strep throat up to 30 or 35 years old.

  9. Hope you feel better soon.

    Zombie Fallout is actually pretty good. Mark Tufo writes some pretty funny dialogue and characters. The series is up to book 8 so far.

  10. Amazingly, I didn’t get the Crud this time, even after being cooped up in tubes for hours at a stretch with coughing people.

    Don’t they teach people to cover their mouths when they cough any more?

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