I like to read in the bathtub. It’s a particular ritual. But simple.
- You need a book you don’t mind if it gets a little wet.
- The book should be episodic, something that’s easy to get back into if you haven’t read it for several days.
- A dry washcloth, to dry your hands as you shift hands, or splash the book.
- A glass of cool water. Many say wine, but I find this is one of the few times I truly prefer water to wine.
- Decent light.
There are many lovely bath accessories for this pursuit, but the five above are the most important.
Finding the right book is the hard part. I read on kindle a lot, but kindle and water aren’t compatible. I gravitate to male authors, but in the bath, maybe it’s the feminine water energy, I prefer female writers. Often, it’s a book I may have tried reading and couldn’t get into, but the bath somehow helps me connect to the writer or story.
Honestly, it can be hard to find a good book, so something specific is more challenging. I have found a genre that is a perfect bath read fit for me though: women’s memoirs. A few of my recent bath reads.
One reason I like to read in the bath is I stay there longer. It’s hard for me to be still. I love to be in the water and I want to stay in the bath until the water isn’t hot anymore. I feel I’m wasting water if it’s still hot when I get out. Reading helps me stay put.
I love to read while doing most anything. Sometimes I read while watching a movie, I know, not great for the focus muscles, but if I’m watching a movie in bed there will be a book next to me, it will flirt with me and win if the movie isn’t engrossing enough.
I have often wondered about the science behind why reading is so satisfying. Though more social science than brain science, here’s an explanation from Edutopia on why we find reading pleasurable, as children and adults.
In our study, we found that reading pleasure has many forms and that each form provides distinct benefits:
- Play pleasure/immersive pleasure is when a reader is lost in a book. This is prerequisite to experiencing all the other pleasures; it develops the capacity to engage and immerse oneself, visualize meanings, relate to characters, and participate in making meaning.
- Intellectual pleasure is when a reader engages in figuring out what things mean and how texts have been constructed to convey meanings and effects. Benefits include developing deep understanding, proactivity, resilience, and grit.
- Social pleasure is when the reader relates to authors, characters, other readers, and oneself by exploring and staking one’s identity. This pleasure develops the capacity to experience the world from other perspectives; to learn from and appreciate others distant from us in time, space, and experience; and to relate to, reciprocate with, attend to, and help others different from ourselves.
- Work pleasure is when the reader develops a tool for getting something functional done—this cultivates the transfer of these strategies and insights to life.
- Inner work pleasure is when the reader imaginatively rehearses for her life and considers what kind of person she wants to be and how she can connect to something greater or strive to become something more. When our study participants engaged in this pleasure, they expressed and developed a growth mindset and a sense of personal and social possibility.
Taken together, these pleasures explain why pleasure reading promotes cognitive progress and social possibility, and even a kind of wisdom and wholeness, and, in a larger sense, the democratic project.
I particularly love the inner work explanation and certainly relate to this as an adult who grew up with reading as a passionate hobby.
My first bath books.
What are your bathtub reading rituals? Many great minds have had Eureka moments in the tub, care to share yours? I’d love to hear them.