I was stung by a wasp last week. It was hard not to panic, even though I had my epi-pen at the ready. So far I’ve always stopped short of full-blown anaphylaxis, but my reactions are severe, and I’ve been warned that the next sting could kill me.

We were on the way home from Sweetpea’s playgroup at the time, which just made things worse. When they teach you how to use an epi-pen, they don’t tell you how to work it while keeping your 3-year-old out of the road.

But no anaphylaxis this time, thank goodness. Still, the reaction was pretty bad, and they’ve stuffed me full of prednisone to bring the swelling down.

I have lupus, so prednisone and I are old friends. It’s a lifesaver, that drug, but it’s a trip, too: My body goes into overdrive, and I find myself cleaning cupboards at 2 am, or attempting to revise a book in a single night. Which is never a good idea (no matter how good it seems at the time).

This time, though, I’ve had the sense to keep the manuscript on ice and the cupboard doors closed, and instead give myself over to the heady pleasures of reading.

I have a glorious pile of books here by my side, including Nancy Werlin’s Extraordinary, Stephanie Burgis’s A Most Improper Magick, R. J. Anderson’s Knife, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. On the craft side, I’m diving into E. M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel and Becky Levine’s Writing and Critique Group Survival Guide

What’s at the top of your reading pile? I’m taking recommendations now!

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