Reading in the bath is arguably one of the most decadent luxuries available to those of us not born into the House of Windsor. In fact, members of the royal family probably don’t enjoy reading in the bath like you or I because, first, I imagine the palace is rather drafty, and second, I don’t know if you can truly appreciate the finer things in life when your breakfast, lunch, and dinner are already served on the finest china in the world.
Be that as it may, a good bath with a good book can provide anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes of unadulterated joy. My theory is that any longer than that and you’ll turn into a prune. The great screenwriter Dalton Trumbo may have done his best work sitting in the tub, but I’d rather ease into warm suds with a book than marinate in a tepid tea of whatever poor Dalton’s cigarette ashes were floating around in.
Baths are great for providing an escape for people who live with other people, but they’re also great for people who live alone. The unadorned bathroom, however, needs work before it can provide the stress-lifting experience we’re looking for.
A Repurposed Bath Caddy
A stylish bath caddy can transform even the most uninspired fiberglass-molded modular apartment bathtub into a delightful place to unwind. Bath caddies are generally constructed of wood and rest across the tub over the bath-takers lap area. Bath caddies can hold books, tealights, mugs with warm beverages, glasses with alcoholic beverages, and, in the case of Dalton Trumbo, typewriters and ashtrays (gross). The bath caddy is essentially a shelf to keep things dry and handy, front and center. You can find them online, but you might enjoy yours more if you find one made from reclaimed, repurposed, or recycled wood. Look on Etsy for a variety of hand-crafted options.
If you’re going to be closed up in the bathroom–even a ventilated one–with candles burning, you might want to shop around for candles that don’t contain toxic chemicals. Many health food stores and organic grocers carry them, and you can almost always find non-toxic candles online. They’ll be free of artificial fragrances, parabens, and other harmful substances. Natural candles often use essential orders for fragrance and wax made from soy, coconut, or other eco-friendly materials.
As you settle into a candle-lit bath with a mug of your favorite fair trade tea resting on your repurposed bath caddy, you probably don’t want to dog-ear the pages of your book or stuff it with the boring bookmark you picked up at the library. Etsy once again comes to the rescue with recycled and upcycled bookmarks, made from such materials as maps, ribbons, VHS movie covers, electrical circuit boards, book illustrations, and even wood.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a “physical book” kind of bibliophile. I like to hold the printed book in my hands, smell the paper, and store it on a bookshelf when I’m done. However, the coronavirus made getting books a lot more difficult, so I do, on occasion, read e-books, usually on loan from my local public library. I also respect the conservation aspect of ebooks, although I would prefer the editors did a better job of proofreading sometimes. You can read ebooks on all sorts of devices, from cell phones to tablets to dedicated e-readers. They’re starting to make water-resistant phones and e-readers, and so that would be my choice if you’re going to take it into the bath with you. I like my baths on the steamy side.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to end the bath, you can blow out the candles, set the bath caddy to the side, and luxuriate with your favorite soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. Zero-Waste bath products can be another enjoyable way to indulge in luxury without feeling guilty about your impact on the environment (or your body). Try the olive oil shampoo bar and the citrus hair conditioner bar from SeekBamboo, for example. You can ditch the plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles (which can take over 400 years to break down), moisturize your scalp, and leave your hair feeling soft and shiny.