We really don't know the what, who, where, when, why of international Read In The Bathtub Day, but it's today! That's right, every Feb 9 is when you want to run a bath with bubbles, oils and sea salts, pour a glass of wine, and soak in a great book!
Here are seven reads to consider for your bath tonight, compiled by Star2 lifestyle writer and short story author Terence Toh. And to go along with that special 'You Time', a list of suggested libations from Star2 chief reporter and also short story writer Sharmilla Ganesan.
READ: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman
Lots of folks consider Neil Gaiman’s novels particularly suited for the bath. In fact, there was a blog devoted to this. Though Bath Book Neil is now sadly defunct, there’s no reason we can’t carry on a fine experience. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane tells of a man who confronts the terrors of his past when he returns to his hometown for his father’s funeral. Helping him are three mysterious ladies, including the peculiar Lettie Hempstock who thinks the pond behind her house is an ocean. The length of the book makes it perfect for the tub, but lounge with it a little longer and soak up all that surreal, fantastic atmosphere.
Gaiman’s works are never one-note. Neither is this sweet, complex white wine with a peppery edge. It's the perfect offbeat tipple to match this book.
READ: Life Of Pi by Yann Martel
You've seen the movie. But what better way to read Yann Martel’s book about a boy cast adrift on the ocean with a tiger than being surrounded by water yourself. Pi Patel’s high-seas journey not only makes a splash with its fantastic voyage and layered storytelling, but as a bonus, Life Of Pi also raises complex questions about faith and philosophy, which you can ponder for much longer after your bath while finishing off your bottle of...
DRINK: Chenin Blanc
This dry, tropical version of white wine, with flavours of passion fruit and pear, is a great companion to the exotic, thought-provoking journey in Martel’s tale.
READ: Sphere by Michael Crichton
A strange spacecraft is discovered at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and US Navy psychologist Norman Johnson joins a team of scientists to recover it. There are twists and turns aplenty, so lean back and enjoy. There’s definitely no falling asleep with this.
DRINK: Sparkling Shiraz
It's not fancy, but like Michael Crichton’s Sphere plot, this sparkling red is thrilling – think blackberries, cherries, chocolate, a touch of tannin and spice – and very satisfying on the palate.
READ: The Night Swimmers by Betsy Byars
Betsy Byars' young adult novel, which won the 1981 American Book Award, is a worthy read even for jaded grown-ups. The Night Swimmers is the story of three kids whose mother is dead and father neglects them. One of their few pleasures is swimming in the neighbour’s pool without permission. A touching but also sad tale of family and love, it'll make older readers nostalgic for the joys of childhood. And no, you're not crying. That's just the bathwater making your face wet.
DRINK: White Zinfandel
Pale pink, fruity and slightly retro, it's the wine to sip as you reminisce about days gone by... with just enough sweetness to counter those salty tears.
READ: The Teardrop Story Woman by Catherine Lim
Immerse yourself in Catherine Lim’s rich description of 1950s Malaya as she tells the story of a woman with a mole under her eye. This mark is believed to be a bad omen, and bad luck seemingly comes to pass when Mei Kwei falls for a Catholic missionary who can't reciprocate. It's a tragic tale of love, fate and duty. And yes, this book is only tangentially connected with water (from her eyes), but it's so compelling that we had to have it on this list.
Match the drama and emotion of The Teardrop Story Woman with a rich new-world Barbera, with strawberry and cherry flavours balanced by spices like nutmeg and cloves.
READ: Sea Swept by Nora Roberts
Champion boat racer Cameron Quinn is a bad boy who spends his money on champagne and women. But when he learns his father is dying, he reconnects with his brothers, takes care of a child in the process, and inexplicably falls in love. Sea Swept has copious amounts of family drama and romance, so splurge on fancy bath oils and scented candles for your reading. It's also the first book in Nora Roberts' four-part Chesapeake Bay saga, which means more luxurious baths in the future.
Champagne is expensive, so go for a light, frothy Prosecco instead. Preferably one with a fresh melon-apple flavour for that jolt of romance.
READ: Psycho by Robert Bloch
Killing time in the bathroom with Norman Bates, one of fiction’s most fascinating villains? How captivating. The tension from his grisly exploits will make you hold on to your rubber ducky like a guard dog. And of course, there's that shower scene. But you're in a bathtub, so you're all right. You're safe. Aren't you?
Nothing like a dark red wine to go with this bloody tale. And what better than a nice meaty chianti with a bitter edge. No fava beans required.
Read In The Bathtub Day tips: Keep your book dry by reading it on a tray table or have a towel appropriately positioned. Or use this ingenious pulley system invented by an eight-year-old. Or better yet, have someone read it to you. OK, yes, we mean audio books.