Baths and Books

Taking my daily trek around the bookweb brought me to a cute little article at The Guardian about reading books in the bath. When I was little, I took baths all the time. My parents were fans of keeping the house super cold, especially during the winter (cold weather aids sleep, my dad says), so the house was usually freezing. The joke was that I would run around a bit trying to get warm on very cold afternoons. Then I would disappear. A few moments later, Mom would laugh as she heard the bath tub water running. I would run the water as hot as I could stand it, the aim being to thoroughly warm myself and turn my legs that great cooked lobster color. Of course, I would take a book into the bath, too. Without it, I'd get bored and get out of the water too quickly, which was against the entire point.
Then I went off to college. There was a bathtub on my hall, but I wasn't about to put my bottom in there; too much opportunity for disease and dirt in that gross bathtub. The same was true for the bathtub in my first apartment. My husband's condo started out with a bathtub and then fell victim to overzealous home improvement...which lasted a year. But now, we're in a new house with a fabulous new bathtub, and my husband likes to keep the house just as cold (in the winter) as my dad did, so the old ritual of lobster roasting my legs and reading a great book at the same time is back in vogue for moi.

Alistair Harper had this to say:
Baths are one of the few pleasures body and self can appreciate simultaneously. This is entirely because reading in the bath is the height of civilization. Taking a bath instead of a shower is a philosophical decision - a declaration that the world will have to manage without me for a little while. And the world can stick it when I can be with a book while immersed in a coffin-shaped pool of pleasure.

Yup, I agree with he said.


  1. Hello, Sarah,

    It's Portia Cue here. I was at the Book Club gathering with Dave Fulmer as guest. Thank you for a lovely evening. Though I expected to be a regular Book Cluber there at Eagle Eye, I am at present unable. Just dropping in to say hello and thanks. I'm flying out to my old stomping ground of NY tomorrow to visit the city and my friends, but, alas I also have an achen' back! I'll just have to walk slowly and take a cab when I must. :-) Take care, Sarah and happy reading!!

  2. I love reading books in the hot bath, too. Until red (read) and wrinkled. But it makes my neck ache. I need a good bath pillow.

  3. Having grown up in Central Illinois with a father who believed "spare the freeze, spoil the child" I can tell you that there is nothing better than a hot bath. I grew up reading Nancy Drew in the "hot tub". There was nothing more comforting than a hot bath when it was 16 below with a 30 below wind chill factor. For those like Jeane whose necks ache, I have had, for many years, a terry on one side, plastic on the other side pillow made by Avon. Genius! Or just roll up a towel, place it behind your neck, lean back, and enjoy that long hot soak. I don't read books so much anymore, but I can tell you that Country Living and Southern Living magazines never had it so good as in a hot bath!


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