May 28, 2007



I’m not sure but a writer without sense of humour could not appreciate a classification of his books as Bathroom Reading…
PS I apologize for any English mistake (I’m Italian).


I'm particularly fond of having Re/Search books in my bathroom. Odd as this might sound.


Currently, I have in my bathroom a book about the TV series LOST.

Matthew Tiffany

"I Thought My Father Was God" - collected by Paul Auster. Perfect bathroom reading.

Jack Pendarvis

I generally breeze through a couple of chapters of FINNEGANS WAKE. Hope this helps!

J.S. Peyton

My Bathroom Reading currently consists of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. The thought of learning how to survive a poisonous snake attack while in the uh, "dangerous" confines of my bathroom was too good to pass up.

Brian Hadd

Atonement in my loo, or The Emigrants--I disremember. Saturday!

The Hood Company


I'm certainly a bathroom reader (though I believe I'm in the minority among women), but don't keep books in the bathroom nor do I read particular kinds of books in the bathroom. Whatever I happen to be reading at the moment is what I take in, and this week it's The Element of Lavishness (the letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell).


I nominate this the best meme of May, 2007.


Philip Roth's Shoptalk and Louis Menand's American Studies.

I have a friend who swears Tristram Shandy was structured to be read on the loo.


My significant other is addicted to Uncle John's Bathroom Readers. They are full of facts about everything. And when I say everything, I mean it. Useless information about things you never knew you wanted to know about. But I guess it's helped him answer a few Jeopardy questions correctly. I don't usually bring books in the bathroom but tabloid type stuff will make into the stash. All items get flagged that enter, like George at Brentano's on Seinfeld. Once it comes in, it can't go back on the bookshelf.


23 Ways to First Base was nominated by Bill Simmons (ESPN sports) as his TOP 5 bathroom readings. This is a must for the sports fanatic and even those who aren't in to sports! It has every piece of trivia from How many sports cameos were on The Simpsons to every first picks in the NFL draft since 1936. It's a for sure Father's Day gift!

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."