A 50-soak read ★★★★☆ Grammar book read exclusively in the hot tub over more than a year

My parents gave me a writerly book on English usage for my birthday, two and a half years ago: That or Which, and Why, by Evan Jenkins. Highly recommended, by the way.

This book was one of my last dead-tree book acquisitions. I was just getting serious about e-books on my iPhone, and the iPad was just around the corner. I was losing interest in paper books fast, and looking to clean out and retire the bookcase. And along comes this juicy little language-geek read.

“I shall read it in the hot tub!” I resolved.

At that time, tub reading seemed like the only thing that was clearly superior about paper books. (I have since solved that problem. Loksak bags do a fine job of making my iPad tub safe!)

And then I ignored it for a year.

When I finally started, it was quite slow going, because I stuck to my vow and read it only in the hot tub. We have a terrific spa in our building, with a bright, quiet hot tub area. (Yeah, life is rough.) I usually make it for a soak once every 2-3 days. I’m not always in the mood for reading, and sometimes I use the steam room — where no paper book dares to go. (But an iPad in a Loksak can, actually.)

So on average I probably got in a session once every ten days over about 18 months, reading about 3.2 pages per session — not very much, because the content is pretty crunchy. I really had to think about some of his examples! The “who/whom” section, which I covered in my last reading session, is quite the brain teaser. But I came away with the rule clearly in my mind: “whom” is for objects, “who” is for subjects. I’d never grasped that difference before. Thank you, Mr. Jenkins! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

I have barely touched any other paper books in that time. There are still quite a few in my bookcase I’d like to read. If I read them only in the hot tub, it’s going to take longer than I have.