Bath books

I love a hot bath. It’s indulgent and sensual, and there’s something awfully cosy about it, like a return to amniotic fluid. Yes, baths are a lot of fun in my household.

I don’t every time, but very often I’ll lean back with the hot water up to my throat and read a book. The books I read in the bath are different from the books I read elsewhere. There’s a whole separate category: bath books. They’re books you can dabble in piecemeal, books that stay in the bathroom and close to hand once you settle into the bath. I read a book by Osho in the bath once. I read Jung’s autobiography and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. Right now I’m reading what amounts to journals by Georges Simenon, the author of the famous Maigret books.

This is the perfect book for the bathtub as you can read a few entries and then set it aside for next time. It’s a good read, too. It’s always interesting to get insights from writers, and in this case, being a journal, very candid and personal insights.

He writes well, in a discursive manner, curious about the world about him and his work, posing questions of it and raising conjectures. He is a man who can’t stop wondering, can’t stop seeking sense or pattern, searching backwards and forwards through time and memory. It feels very familiar to me as my mind seems to run on similar tracks. Delving into a mind like his is a reminder of how fascinating individuality is.

I pity people who don’t read. For many, I know it’s a habit they were never properly introduced to, or it became a chore because it was something they must do for school. Others, I guess, never experienced the magic of these alternate realities. I always feel that imagination is lost to them, where in fact a rich imagination is one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed on someone.

It’s an elementary statement for me when I say I would be a very different person if I didn’t read. In fact, the me that writes this today would not be possible without reading. I am a man that reads, and how lucky is that?

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