When you think about reading in the bathtub, does it bring back memories of childhood soaks with your favorite comic books? Perhaps you think about the scolding by the Librarian when you tried to return the book that got away – and took a plunge into the bathwater? It’s time to make new memories on Read in the Bathtub Day! Grab your favorite book or device (I admit I read my digital books in the bath – carefully of course!) and get ready for a relaxing soak.

History of Read in the Bathtub Day

It is easy to imagine the first person to read in the bathtub to be some noble reading off scrolls in a tiny tub as they tried to figure out how to rule their realm. Possible, but perhaps that joy came later when tubs, indoor plumbing, and lighting made the task a joy rather than a chore? It is not difficult to imagine that as books and comfort became handier, that this pastime became a favorite from the top of society to the bottom!

The origins of reading in the bath probably emerged in Roman bathtubs, the first culture to truly embrace the culture of bathing. The owners of these facilities would often adorn them with scrolls in the walls or sometimes entire libraries. It was a way of consolidating everything into one location, presumably to cut costs. From our perspective, it is easy to imagine that Roman citizens were the first people to read in the bath. But whether they did or not remains to be proven. 

During the dark ages, the concept of bathing went into decline, and Roman baths fell into ruin. However, the emergence of personal, household bathrooms in the Renaissance probably kicked off the modern age of bathtub reading.

Before the invention of toilet paper, people would use whatever was lying around to wipe themselves. Sometimes this was leaves or bits of straw from the farm. Occasionally, though, it was the printed word.

Reading, therefore, might have made its way into the bathroom via the backdoor, if you’ll excuse the expression. Once the industrial revolution got going, and the price came down, old bits of newspaper seemed like the perfect wiping aid. 

Water and paper, however, don’t mix, meaning that reading in the bathtub has always been something of a high-risk activity. Many books have been wrecked over the years after falling into the bath and getting soaked. 

Bathroom reading has been associated with Pulp magazines since the 1970s. According to Canadian author Margaret Atwood, bathroom reading refers to any episodic material. It lends itself to rapid consumption, usually in the morning. 

Researchers think that the amount of reading in the tub has gone up since the introduction of the smartphone. Interestingly, the smartphone doesn’t solve the water problem (unless you buy a waterproof model). But it does allow you to curate the content you consume, instead of putting up with whatever story the papers push out. 

How to celebrate Read in the Bathtub Day

Did you know that there are many products available to help you be more secure reading in the bathtub? To celebrate Read in the Bathtub Day you could take some time to check them out. There are little shelves with spaces for all of the things you could need and allow you to have a safe surface to rest your book.

Some stores offer pillows that rest around your next to pad the hard and cold porcelain from hurting your next. They can come with essential oils or scents in them that are activated in the heat of the bath. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? Is life so stressful and busy that if you used that you would have to be careful not to doze off? I feel that too, but when you think about the chance to have some reading time, I bet you will stay awake!

Let’s talk about the water. Yes, hot and steamy are implied but why just settle for ordinary? Your favorite store holds shelves and shelves of beautifully scented bubble bath, bath bombs, oils and other ways for you to enhance the bathing experience. It is believed that bath salts can help to draw out tension and promote circulation. The options are endless.

What will you read while you are soaking in spa-like luxury? For Read in the Bathtub Day treat yourself and do not take anything work or career related with you. No self-improvement or career development treatise, it is time for you to read for enjoyment! Pick up that novel you saw on the newsstand or download the latest thriller sure to chill you. Or why not one of the classics? There are so many options for you to choose from!

The most compelling bathroom reading is episodic, meaning that you are supposed to consume small chunks every day. Comics nailed this formula a long time ago, developing storylines over multiple, easy-to-consume episodes. This method is by far the easiest, but nothing stops you from creating your own segmented reading list from whatever material you like. You could break up your regular reading into short chunks, allowing you to catch up on weekly installments, every time you take a relaxing bath.

Alternatively, if you want your reading to have a more formal structure, you could celebrate Read in the Bathtub Day by subscribing to a weekly publication on a topic you like. Importantly, make sure that the subject matter interests you. Make it a special event, not just something you feel you ought to do. 

Finally, you can spread the word about Read in the Bathtub Day on social media. Talk about your reading list for the year or the type of content you like to consume while you soak. You can also discuss the technicalities of the matter, such as how you keep your phone, books, e-readers, and magazines dry while you wash. By being very careful, of course!

How will you celebrate Read in the Bathtub Day? 

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