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updated 9/19/2011 12:28:42 PM ET 2011-09-19T16:28:42

Welcome back to flu season! Before you scramble out the door to get that shot, remember that the silver lining is actually black and white, as a juicy book just might be what the doctor ordered next time you get laid up with that nasty virus. Here is your bedrest reading list, tried-and-true tomes that will pull you into their world and make you forget your own misery. And speaking of "Misery," don’t read that, particularly if you're sporting an ankle injury. We’re not kidding.

‘The Stand’
By Stephen King
(Anchor)
You may be illin’ but at least you’re not one of the few people who are mysteriously unaffected by a biological weapon that has wiped out the rest of humanity. The few survivors fall into two camps—one in Boulder headed by spiritual leader Mother Abagail and the other in Vegas led by evil brute Randall Flagg. The two groups eventually, inevitably face off, as good makes a “stand” against evil. King’s 1000+ page opus will keep you enthralled throughout even the longest bedrest…and maybe reaching for the Purell.

‘Gone with the Wind’
by Margaret Mitchell
(Scribner)
Short of breath? You’ve got nothing on the men in Scarlett O’Hara’s life. With a bat of an eye and a “fiddle dee dee,” she takes their breath away, even as the War Between the States ravages the South and leaves her family’s plantation Tara in tatters. She meets her match in rogue Rhett Butler and while you may be familiar with their love story, it’s still delicious to watch their combustible relationship unfold and play out against the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Frankly, Scarlett, after all these years, we do give a damn.

10 books you really should have read in high school

‘Scruples’
by Judith Krantz
(Bantam)
For a guilty pleasure, turn to Krantz’s 70s classic and watch ugly duckling Billy Ikehorn transform into a chic swan, build a fashion retail empire on Rodeo Drive, and have lots of delicious sex in the process. You’ll be moaning with pleasure, instead of from pain, and this may just ease any sexual frustration you’re feeling while quarantined.

‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’
By Sophie Kinsella
(Dell)
If you need a little retail therapy, put away your credit card and pull out Kinsella’s charming book about shopping-crazy Rebecca Bloomwood. A financial analyst, Becky somehow manages to talk a good game while sneaking off to shop in every excessive way imaginable. We may be in a recession but you can live vicariously through this cheeky Brit’s lust for the latest must-have item, even if she’s maxed out a wallet of credit cards. Her antics are cleverly interspersed by letters from banks and creditors that move the story along and demonstrate just how far down the retail rabbit hole Becky’s fallen. Let this serve as a cautionary tale when you want to surf Zappos.

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‘Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire’
By George R.R. Martin
(Bantam)
Before the HBO series took the world by storm, Martin’s fantasy saga was enthralling millions. Find out what the fuss is about and why this series just might be our generation’s Lord of the Rings saga. The first book in the series sets up the main story lines—the ongoing war for control of the Iron Throne of Westeros, the increasing danger being posed by the supernatural Others to the north, and the attempts of the daughter of a murdered king to reclaim the throne. You’ve forgotten you’re sick already, haven’t you?

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‘Talking to Girls about Duran Duran’
By Rob Sheffield
(Dutton Adult)
If your illness is laying your spirits low, you’ll put some pep in your step with this hilarious and surprisingly insightful memoir by music journalist Sheffield. You’ll be transported back to the 1980s, in all its New Wave, neon, wildly awkward, adolescent glory. Read about Sheffield’s indoctrination into the ways of women, and wax nostalgic about your favorite retro tunes. In fact, put on your best 80s compilation and let the dulcet tones of Simon Le Bon heal what ails you.

What book comforts you when you’re illin’?

Jennifer Worick is the author of more than 25 books and a publishing consultant; she can be found at The Business of Books.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive

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