When I was younger, I had to develop a system with my family in order to take a bath. I had to let them know when I was going in, and I had to respond to knocks on the door by shouting “still alive!” at various intervals because I stayed in until my finger prunes had prunes. My four-hour baths were a source of great irritation to everyone else, but I loved them. And still do. And so, for all the other bath-obsessed readers out there, here are some of my favorite ways to spend a cool fall day.
Gideon the Ninth + Black Rose – This bath bomb has a shock of red rose and then a deep charcoal black color, which is fitting for Gideon, who has a shock of red hair and a black sense of humor. Grim and full of skeletons, there are also moments of sweetness that go well with this surprisingly sweet-scented bomb.
Gods of Jade and Shadow + Bom Perignon – Though Casiopea undertakes a quest to restore the Mayan Lord of the Dead to his rightful underworld throne, she isn’t a particularly morbid person. Her goals in life are much more in keeping with the glittery, bubbly jazz age: she wants to dance, to travel, and bathe in the sea. Casiopea also discovers the effervescent joys of champagne and luxury on her journey, which is a perfect bathtime read.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me + Strawberries and Cream – This graphic novel is done in dreamlike shades of pink as well as black and white, so you might as well indulge even more of your senses with a nice sweet-smelling bath. Also recommended: taking actual strawberries and cream to snack on.
Girl in Red + Guardian of the Forest – yes, green and red are opposites on the color wheel. But Girl in Red is blood-soaked enough without turning the waters red, too–instead, celebrate the parts of the book that focus on Red’s wilderness survival skills. Go with Red on her path through the forest, but skip all the aches and dirt.
Spin the Dawn + Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds – A book about capturing celestial elements in order to make dresses pairs well with a bath bomb that will make it look like you’re also suspended in the sky. Pro tip: add some bubbles with the Sunnyside bar for dawnlike shimmer and more clouds.
The Merciful Crow + Dragon’s Egg – the drab, dirty life of a Crow hides some truly spectacular magic and power, and Fie’s story is all about revealing the amazing power that she once kept hidden inside.
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars + Intergalactic – Sure, you could go for the queer-themed Groovy Kind of Love, but Fierce Femmes isn’t just about love. It’s a whole galaxy of magic, power, violence, ghosts, knives, and goddesses. One of the best books I read this year, and yes, I read it in the bath.
Wicked Fox + Kitsune – Miyoung is a gumiho, not a kitsune, but the mythos is similar: they’re both fox spirits who can take the form of a beautiful girl and steal power from men. Miyoung conceals her true nature, but she accidentally reveals herself while saving Jihoon’s life. Their romantic and action-packed story makes for a great afternoon soak.
Darkdawn + Moon Spell – Expecting something darker? Well too bad. Even though this book is full of gore and shadow, there are magnificent instances of magic and love, too. Also, it’s almost the colors of the bisexual flag, and this book features some amazing bisexual disasters. The moon features heavily too—but no more spoilers. Draw yourself a bath and read up!
House of Salt and Sorrows + Sea Salt Giant Bombshell – Deep blue water that will match the deep blue of this book cover, and the dark heart of the ocean that lurks within. Pro tip: salts do wonders for tired muscles in addition to being on theme.
There Will Come a Darkness + So White – Sure, the book is about darkness, but the first chapter is about the Pale Hand, an assassin named for the white hand print she leaves on her victims. Soothe yourself during an otherwise nail-biting read with a nice refreshing apple scent and remind yourself that the world (probably) won’t come to an end.
The Deep + Melusine – Rich color and deep scents will enhance what is already an amazing and magical read. If the women who were thrown off slave ships became mermaids instead of drowning, this would be their story. But memories of this trauma are too much for Yetu to bear, and so she seeks refuge in a new world, this time the world of the surface. Her story of memory, grief, and community is power and, to me, requires the comfort and solitude a bath provides.
Gullstruck Island + Magma – Do you love completely unique fantasy? Do you wish there were more Moana? If either is true, draw up a magma bath and settle in with Gullstruck Island, which features sacred volcanoes, astral projection, and a journey to prevent genocide by a girl whom everyone forgot.
Girl the Sea Gave Back + Big Blue – I think it’s a good idea to read sea-themed books in the bath, but then again, I think it’s a good idea to read all books in the bath. Try Big Blue with a hot bath, because this Viking setting can be chilly and brutal even though the story is ultimately redemptive.