1 – Nothing. Even when you’re bored out of what’s left of your tiny mind, there are times when reading is not an option. This is endurance mode. Concentrate on not dying, try not to sob too much or you’ll dehydrate (and anyway, being jolted by each harsh inbreath Does Not Help).
2 – Knitting magazines. Surprisingly soothing. Ooh, look, you think vaguely, little cardigans. Cute. And a hat. I shall look at the hat. Actually, it’s a stupid hat. But the little cardigans are nice. Hmm. One of the models is wearing a hat. No, I don’t care for the hat. What else can I see on this page? Cardigans! And many peaceful hours can be passed like this. Especially when opiates have been taken.
3 – Detective stories, preferably cosy, preferably ones you’ve read before, so you don’t have to waste mental energy trying to keep up with the clues. Agatha Christie, Ngaio March, Margery Allingham are your friends. And the things you find out! It is desireable for the detective to have thin, sensitive hands and a side-kick who looks like an ambulatory garden shed. Failing that, the detective has to be as eccentric as possible and have an associate who is alternately patronising and bewildered. Neither of the young couple in love have done it, unless, very rarely, one may be allowed to do it for the other’s sake, and it ends disastrously [which is the 1930's all over, if you ask me - Ed]. At this point in the recovery process, you are actually able to drink tea.
4 – The newspapers, specifically, the book reviews. May be consumed with a bowl of soup, sitting up in bed.
5 – Trollope. When not bundled up in an armchair, watching junk TV (which is extremely good for overworked synapses. Especially Star Trek re-runs).
6 – By the time you’re up for Robert Browning or Arthur Koestler, you may as well have a shower and get dressed.