Somehow in the last two or three days I have acquired one of those vile throat viruses that make me feel as though evil gnomes have carefully sanded my pharynx overnight and are steadily working their way down. (Clearly they’re not English gnomes, who would down tools every few hours for a good chin wag and a pint of tea. These are industrious little suckers.) Everything feels raw and swollen. Swallowing hurts. Talking hurts. Even smiling bravely hurts–which I do a lot, because then I get fussed over with weak tea and luscious soft fruits and delicately poached salmon. (Nope, my appetite isn’t affected. That takes more than a few runty little gnomes.)

But here’s the cruelest cut of all: I can’t eat chocolate! Tuh.

So I’m pissed off. My toe has just about recovered, and I’m ready to exercise, stretch out, rebuild some strength–and now this reduction to viral puddletude. I have so much to do but have to settle for huddling in a corner cradling my thumping head and looking pitiful.

My solution: load up Kindle with free books–seriously crappy offerings for seriously compromised minds. First up: Sidney Sheldon. (Dear god that man wrote some rubbish.) I expect I’ll be done with it by this afternoon, so I need to find something else. Riproaring reads that are either free or seriously inexpensive (less than $2) because the kind of thing that will make sense to me right now isn’t worth more than that.

Any suggestions? I’ll read anything from shopping-and-fucking (Judith Krantz!) to sword-and-pony (where’s the next George RR Martin, anyway?) to ticking-clock-thriller to angsty-lesbian-lurve to noble-historical to YA-chosen-one to gunslingers-at-noon. It’s just got to have a story that clips right along.