Absent Without Leave...

Miss Lawrence's bitmoji avatar, a woman with long brown hair and big glasses, beside the letters BRB, standing for 'be right back'.
Whilst all my reviews are written propped up on a nest of pillows in a comfy bed, on this occasion it is not my own! Far from being the beginning of a salacious anecdote it is instead an explanation for my recent absence. Due to an unfortunate (but not uncommon) complication of previous surgery, I was taken back into hospital a couple of weeks ago and had another emergency operation at the beginning of August. This was never meant as a personal blog so I won't bore you with the spectacularly-gory details, but suffice to say that it is going to impact my review schedule for the immediate future.

Like many with chronic illnesses, I've found that audiobooks are a great way to pass the time in hospital and block out some of the incessant noise, which is particularly draining for anyone with M.E/CFS. But it can be difficult to concentrate on a new book amidst the constant interruptions from well-meaning nurses, bored patients, attentive visitors, and a bladder that's trying to keep up with litres of intravenous fluid. (Though I am guarding my Plugfones with my life, as they are one of the only things that can drown out other patients' snoring and the less obnoxious of the IV alarms.)

Whenever I'm in hospital I switch back to books with which I am already familiar, children's books that are short and easy to follow, or non fiction books I can dip in and out of without missing something crucial because a nurse was checking my blood pressure. (And anything too tense or exciting would certainly skew those results!)

Throughout this particular stay I have also listened to a lot of podcasts, as their brevity and more casual listening experience is perfect for hospital. I had just begun listening to Simon Armitage's book Walking Home before my admission, and his languid delivery was wonderful to fall asleep to as I waited for painkillers to take effect. Continuing the nature theme led me to borrow January Man by Christopher Somerville, and The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben; both from Listening Books' library. They have proved to be a delightful antidote while I remain unavoidably detained in this clinical, isolated, environment so far removed from the outside world. Their descriptions of the landscape and its flora and fauna are so evocative that they have helped transport me to a more soothing - and far less sterile - place in which to lose myself. 

I will add reviews in due course, but as with my current ARCs and other listening, everything is likely to be delayed a while longer.

Whether you are a fellow listener looking for new reviews, or an author, narrator, or publisher awaiting my thoughts, I hope you will all bear with me over the coming weeks. I will honour all my commitments but it may take time. I am very grateful for your patience and am excited to share more about the books I've listened to lately.

If anyone has any recommendations for relaxing audiobooks then I'd love to hear them, either in the comments below or via our social media pages.

Yours (in a few more pieces than usual),
-Kate

A photo from my hospital bed, of legs clad in surgical support stockings and propped up on a pillow, wuth headphones resting on my lap.

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