One of my favorite ways to relax is to settle into a nice hot bath with a book. Sometimes it's a quick 15 minute break in the middle of my day. Sometimes I fill the tub with bubbles, pour myself a glass a wine and linger. I know, not everyone likes to read in the tub. I found that out when I shared my rules of bathtub reading. Every now and then I'll break my rule about library books but I still hold fast to my rule about electronics! Here are some the books you could find me hanging out with in the tub.
Image: Woman in bath via Shutterstock
If you've never read L.M. Montgomery's only novel written for adults, The Blue Castle, I kindly suggest that you immediately get your hands on a copy. Set in Muskoka, it's the story of Valancy Stirling. At 29 she's unmarried, her family has never let her have a day of complete happiness in her whole life, and she's just discovered that she has a terminal heart ailment. Valancy decides that in the time she has left she's going to go search for her happiness. Being Montgomery, it's not without a bit of romance but Barney Snaith is no Gilbert Blythe. He's positively rakish. I reread this book annually and while I understand why so many people adore Anne, I'm #TeamValancy all the way.
I picked up The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde later than most of my friends and I immediately regretted not reading it sooner. Thursday Next lives in a reality not all that much different than ours. However, in her reality it's 1985 and she has a special ability that some of us only dream of -- she can enter books. Literature is taken very seriously in her world and someone is plucking characters out of their own stories! When Jane Eyre goes missing it's Thursday's job as a Special Operative in literary detection to find her again and if she just maybe happens to help out Jane on the romance front while she's rescuing her... well, no one would complain about that, right? Also, in Thursday's world cloning is far more advanced and people have pet dodos and dodos are awesome. Even more awesome is that it's just the first book in a series. When you finish The Eyre Affair you can move on to Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, First Among Sequels, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, and The Woman Who Died a Lot. You might want to stock up on bubble bath.
I love Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series with a passion I can't even explain. They are historical romance and adventure books set during the Napoleonic Wars. There are spies -- female spies. I love female spies. The setting moves around. Sometimes you are in England, other times France. Ireland and India also make appearances. I think what I really love about the books are the characters. I'd be hard pressed to name my favorite with Turnip (the man, not the vegetable), Miss Gwen, the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale and Sally Fitzhugh all vying for top spot. These books have mystery, danger, action and romance all tied up together in a perfect bow. There are only a few more books to be released in the series, making it an excellent time to dive in.
While I like my romances historical, BlogHer's Family Editor Jenna Hatfield prefers contemporary romances with a bit of heat. Yes, I'm talking firefighter romances. It's completely understandable given she's married to a firefighter. While I haven't read them (yet) Jenna's convinced me that I really need to read Jennifer Bernard's Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series. I can't say she had to twist my arm all that hard. There's romance, firefighters and strong female characters. That's a winning combination! The first book in the series, The Fireman Who Loved Me be featured in one of my baths soon.
The Rook →
Last fall I started reading Daniel O'Malley's debut novel, The Rook and I couldn't concentrate on anything until I finished it. When I wasn't reading it all I could do was think about getting back to it. When I was reading it, I kept poking my friends to say, "You have to read this book!" In the first pages Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a London Park, surrounded by dead bodies all wearing latex gloves. She finds a note in her pocket that says, "The body you are wearing used to be mine." I was hooked. It's a little bit James Bond, a little bit X-Files and a teeny bit X-Men but not really in the hot Wolverine kind of way. I had far too much fun reading it and I can only hope that Daniel O'Malley writes more books set in the same world.
I don't read a lot of mysteries because I have a nasty habit of racing through them to find out who did it. I'm not the most patient person or reader. I keep trying mysteries though because I really do like them. Tana French is an author who can write a fabulous mystery and get me to slow down enough to enjoy the writing. BlogHer Executive Editor Julie Ross Godar interviewed Tana French shortly after the release of the third novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series, Faithful Place. Julie said she sometimes finds herself reading French's work out loud to hear how it will sound. I completely agree and your bathtub is the perfect place to do that -- it has excellent acoustics.
One of the things that I love about bubble baths is that they are an affordable luxury. Even if I buy bath bombs, some candles and a bottle of wine, it's still afforable. Travel, however, is not always in my budget. Thankfully there are lots of memoirs for me to read. Sure, I may physically be in my bathtub but I can travel around the world with The Lost Girls. I can enjoy Every Day in Tuscany with Frances Mayes. I can be Ice Bound with Dr. Jerri Nielsen, which if we're being honest is the only way I'll experience Antarctica because it's cold there and I don't do that level of cold. If I want to travel both to a different time and place I reach for Julia Child's My Life in France.
I'll be the first to tell you that while I fond memories of reading the book with my friends, I did not like Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone -- not even a little bit. The Woman in White is a different story. I loved it. Whenever I see it pop up on a blog, which happens frequently, I want to drop everything to reread it. It can be a bit of a slow start but Collins will reel you in as he painstakingly builds the suspense. Some characters you will love and others you will love to hate. This is a book that is designed to be be read slowly and where better to do that than your bathtub? Also, everyone should listen to Marian. Always.
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