Reading in the bath

I don’t. And that’s because I don’t have baths. (I know. Too much information.) But I understand it’s an occupation appreciated by many who engage in it.

As I said in my recent blog about the previously wet DaVinci Code, bathwater isn’t good for books, whether or not you want to resell the book. This is why I am constantly monitoring the Resident IT Consultant and his behaviour. He does read in the bath.

I allow him to read paperbacks, unless they are very special paperbacks, for some reason. Hardbacks I try to keep track of, and I remove the dust wrapper, because wet and later dried dust wrapper is not one of my most favourite features for a book. Crinkly and horrible.

What do others do?

And why can’t people wash, and then read?

(For obvious reasons I’ve had to give up on the idea of embellishing this post with a photo.)

16 responses to “Reading in the bath

  1. Bathing is very boring without a book. I have not attempted it for years. Extra benefits include increased manual dexterity, a significant degree of acclimatisation to life in cold water, and occasional useful reminders of necessity of living for the moment, that being all that is guaranteed.

    In our house anyone is allowed to read anywhere except at the table when we have guests. (And even then special dispensations have been given from time to time.)

  2. No, sorry, I just don’t get the reading in the bath thing at all. I’m mother to a bath reader and my best friend at school was one then and still is today, but as Jane Austen once said (approximately!) half the world doesn’t understand the pleasures of the other half…

  3. Thanks, Adèle! Before Hilary brought up the subject of cooling and cold bath water, I had forgotten that disgusting aspect. Eww.

  4. I once made the mistake of taking Hilary’s Saffy’s Angel into the bath. Hours later, after many hot-top-ups, I emerged a shrivelled and corrugated version of the human being who went in – the sign of a really good book. Candlelight, glass of wine, good book, total immersion – apart from the shrivelling, what’s not to like?!

  5. Heck – reading in the bath is the only way I survive book tours. Hah! And you thought I was upstairs communing with my muse? How wrong you were. Also – it may be age-related eyesight failure, but it always seems to me that the brightest lights in hotels ( I’m still on an ‘on tour’ theme here) tend to be in bathrooms ( all the better for examining the corrugated bits) and the bedside ones are only good for turning a wrinkly into something slightly more pleasing to the eye.

    I have committed the ultimate crime, though. I fell asleep in a bath and – brace yourself – dropped my book into the water. And Eldest Daughter did manage to remove all the silver foiled title from one of my velvet covered Pure Deads by reading it in the bath. She comes from a long line of book-foxers, poor girl.

    But books, to me are for reading. Not preserving. There’s nothing I like better than to sign deeply distressed copies of my own work. Or multiply-stamped library copies. Or completely-trashed, ‘sprung’ copies that have survived heaven knows what horrors of immersion, only to emerge, crinkly but beloved, witness to a love of stories that transcends outward appearances.

  6. Distress the books by all means, but don’t put them in the bath, or in the steam thereof. And why is it that orange juice only lands on my bestest, prettiest books, and not the ones I don’t care about (looks wise, I mean)?

    Also, there is a difference between yours and mine. We all have different opinions (see, I noticed!) and I fail to understand why the book-wrecker should be allowed to wreck books belonging to non-wreckers, too. Before you turn the corners down on my books, please ask if this is something I approve of. If not, save it for your own books.

  7. Agree with you there. Turning down pages literary equivalent to chucking Burgerking boxes from car windows.
    While playing slash metal.
    And speeding.
    And texting local tattooist.

    But total immersion no problem at all (it is amazing how the pages unstick).

    Also:

    Thanks, Julie!

  8. Oh dear, then I am a vandal. Though I’ve never had anything to do with Burgerking boxes or speeding.

  9. I gave a dear friend Wolf Hall as a birthday present this summer. Then borrowed it and dropped it in the bath (it’s heavy). After consultation with my conscience, I bit the bullet and bought two new copies. One for her and one for me. So reading in the bath is obviously a very good thing for royalties (other peoples’, at least…)

  10. I would LOVE to read in the bath but I also get anxious about crinkly pages. Plus I hate the feeling of wet thumbs on pages, it gives me the shivers. They really ought to make waterproof editions…

  11. Offspring had one or two ‘bathbooks’, i.e. padded plastic things, but it only works for about ten pages.

  12. I don’t take baths either (but I take a shower every day, I hasten to add!!!!) but I do lock myself in the bathroom on a regular basis to finish a book when too much is going on in the house.
    Daniel Pennac’s Rights of the Reader does state that we have the right to read anywhere! :0)

  13. I don’t read in the bath, but I can’t curl my lip at the practice because I’m quite skilled in reading in my swimming pool.

    I have a friend who had a whirlpool tub installed, and she announced to all and sundry that she was going to lock the door, light candles, climb in and read to her heart’s content. As a birthday gift, I bought her a rack that fits across the tub. It holds a book, a drink, and a few other little goodies quite comfortably, and she’s told me that she can’t do without it.

  14. A nice long bath is one of life’s great luxuries. And in a perfect world it includes a book and a glass of wine, and of course confidence that the hot water is, and will remain on, so the bath can be topped up as necessary.

    However, I am selective about which books I take into the bath – I would never take a book that didn’t belong to me into the bath, nor any of my really precious ones – so wouldn’t take ones which were signed, or out of print, or otherwise irreplaceable. If dropping it in the bath would be a tragedy, it doesn’t get to go into the bathroom 🙂

    I like a fairly light read for the bath – so find Georgette Heyer, Ngaio Marsh, Terry Pratchett, Chrtopher Brookmyre, Maryjanice Davidson and Christopher Moore all excellent choices.

    Debi, I like what you say about signing distressed (or as I prefer to think of them, much loved) books – I got a similar responde from Neil Gaiman when I asked him to sign my (very well read) copy of Good Omens.

  15. I go one step further – I get my ideas in the bath. And to the perennial interview question that’s what I tell ’em. I even show a pic of said bath when I give talks (although I have to confess it’s more than slightly Photoshopped).

    At least ideas can’t get soggy or distressed. Not most of the time, at any rate.

  16. I used to keep note paper in the shower room in case I was struck by another of my marvellous ideas in there, but gave it up when I found it impossible to write on damp paper. Have just been informed that pencil works fine, so may try that.

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