Great Books to Read During Bed Rest

September 4, 2017
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One of my friends has a friend currently on bed rest, and she asked for some book recommendations to help make the time pass. My friend asked me for some suggestions.

It reminded me of how I passed the month of November 2008. I had just donated my bone marrow to a stranger, and the recovery was longer and more painful than I expected. (I would happily do it again, though.)

My friend Maria showed up to my condo with a brown grocery sack of novels, including the Undead paranormal romance series, about a woman named Elizabeth (Betsy) Taylor who loses her job, gets killed, and becomes queen of the vampires, all on the same day. Betsy is kind of like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless-meets-Pam from True Blood, and the books are every bit as addictive as drinking blood. Or so I’m told.

Maria also brought me a little series called Twilight. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

I loved these books with no regrets, even while others might scoff at them, because they brought me out of my body at a time I didn’t want to be in it. Each novel was highly engaging, page-turny, and exactly what I needed at that time — and I still think about all those stories fondly.

So trust me, I know what a joy it is to receive a huge stack of books during a time of forced rest. The ideal bed rest book is immersive, has quick action, and is compelling enough to transport the reader to some far-off place.

Here are the suggestions I gave my friend. If you have others, I’d love to hear them in the comments:

The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

This is a YA book about two tenagers who fall in love on a street in New York just hours before the girl’s family is about to be deported. The story is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of different characters (not just the two teenagers, but the security guard at the court building, for instance), and it’s sweet without being sappy.

• Anything by Rainbow Rowell, because her stories are always sharp and funny and compulsively readable, particularly Eleanor & Park, and Attachments

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

This was less of an instructional self-help book and more of a memoir. Shonda is funny, her life experiences are relatable, and the book is a quick, inspiring read.

What You Don’t Know – JoAnn Chaney

Into thrillers? I am not, and I loved every word of this one. My friend JoAnn wrote this twisted and gripping novel about a serial killer in Denver and the female reporter who gets a little too close to the story.

Girl in the Dark – Anna Lyndsey

This is memoir that might be relatable for someone on bed rest. It’s about a woman who develops an allergy to light, so she is forced to stay in her house, only going outside on moonless nights.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest – J. Ryan Stradal

A novel in connected stories about a Midwestern girl who becomes an acclaimed chef. J. Ryan is from the Midwest and he tells the story with so much warmth for the region and the cuisine.

• Love Me Anyway – Tiffany Hawk

This is another book written by a friend. It’s a novel about two young flight attendants experiencing the world, taking journeys, and coming of age at 35,000 feet.

Yes, Please – Amy Poehler

Funny, of course. It’s Amy Poehler, and everything she does is gold. And the birth plan chapter still hits home for me.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Follow Karou through the streets of Prague with this fanciful, mysterious novel. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious errands, she speaks many languages, and her hair actually grows out of her head blue. Who is she?

The Uglies series – Scott Westerfeld

The Hunger Games meets that awful show The Swan in this series about a dystopian world in which every 16-year-old is required to have cosmetic surgery to become “pretty.” It’s chilling how such a beautiful world can become so ugly.

Full disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. If you buy something through the link, you won’t pay any more, but I will get a small percentage that helps keep the lights on around here. Thank you!

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