Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Books to Celebrate Bathroom Reading Month

My reading room
“That’s exactly why I’ve designed the Home Help Sanitation Initiative,” Miss Hilly say.  “As a disease-preventative measure.”
I’m surprised by how tight my throat get.  It’s a shame I learned to keep down a long time ago.
Miss Skeeter look real confused.  “The Home…the what?”
“A bill that requires every white home to have a separate bathroom for the colored help.  I’ve even notified the surgeon general of Mississippi to see if he’ll endorse the idea.  I pass.”
Miss Skeeter, she frowning at Miss Hilly.  She set her cards down faceup and say real matter-a-fact, “Maybe we ought to just build you a bathroom outside, Hilly.”
                        From The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“After his breakfast he walked the path to the outhouse.  He felt remarkably peaceful sitting there, shut away from the world.  He’d always thought of the privy as a holy place, a refuge from all but the most basic human concerns.  As a novitiate he scandalized his superiors by claiming it wasn’t the church but the shithouse that was God’s true home in the world, the pungent effluvium as meditative an odor as incense, sunlight through the crescent moon carved in the door providing the dusky ambience of a monastery cell.”
                        From Galore by Michael Crummey

“…at once the tap glowed with a brilliant white light and began to spin.  Next second, the sink began to move; the sink in fact, sank, right out of sight, leaving a large pipe exposed, a pipe wide enough for a man to slide into.”
                                    From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

In literature, the bathroom has served as a means of racial oppression, a place for spiritual contemplation, or an entryway to secret dangers.  It's also a great place to read.  June is Bathroom Reading Month, and to celebrate, I’ve compiled a list of "bathroom-y" books for all reading types.  Keep ’em on top of the toilet for those captive moments throughout the day.

For the Literary fiction lover:
  • Centuries of June by Keith Donohue : Jack is conked on the head and is face down on the bathroom floor.  He journeys through time and space without leaving his bathroom.  He encounters seven phantom women, and eventually his wife, experiencing each of their life stories.  Jack’s part is in their tales is that he stands in for the most disappointing men throughout history.
  • The Bathroom by Jean-Philippe Toussaint:  A young Parisian researcher lives in his bathroom.  He sits in the tub meditating on his existence, and the people around him enable his lifestyle.
  • Toilet, the Novel by Michael Szymczyk: A surreal tale of a toilet that becomes a pregnant man after a nuclear disaster.  Kafka-esque reading at its weirdest.
For the Horror lover:
  • Down the Drain by Daniel Pyle: Although I’m usually skeptical about self-published e-books, this one has some good reviews.  It’s short and cheap (99 cents), so it may be worth the time-money gamble.  It’s a monster-in-the-plumbing novella.
For the Romance lover:
  • Phantom of the Bathtub by Eugenia Riley: Riley’s novel features a Victorian Era damsel trying to win the affections of a respectable clergyman while fending off the advances of a roguish ghost that haunts her bathtub and a handsome, arrogant werewolf who lives next door.
For the Science Fiction lover:
  • Memoirs Found in a Bathtub by Stanislaw Lem:  This one’s been described as “complicated” and a “real stumper”.  The year is 3149, and a paper-destroying blight has obliterated much of written history.  The memoirs are found preserved in volcanic rock and chronicle the strange life of a man trapped in an underground community.
For the Non-fiction/How-to lover:
  • Toilet Paper Origami by Linda Wright: A little something to do with your hands while you…well, you know.
  • Kama Pootra: 52 Mind Blowing Waysto Poop by Daniel Cole Young: I’m not even going to try to explain this one, but I'm strangely fascinated.
For the Young Adult lover:
  • The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman by Bruce Robinson:  Once you get past the title character’s penchant for crapping his pants, this book is supposedly a wonderful coming-of-age novel that’s both funny and touching.
For Kids:
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling:  How appropriate that it’s book “number two” in the Harry Potter series!
  • Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets by Dav Pilkey
  • Everybody Poops by Taro Gomi: A classic for kids learning to do their business
  • King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub (Caldecott Winner) by Audrey Wood and Don Wood: Members of the royal court try to coax King Bidgood from his bath but end up in the tub with him having ship battles, feasts, and dancing!  Sounds like a party to me!
Centuries of June was just released today, and it will be on my toilet this month. Any other bathroom-related reading I overlooked?  What books are in your bathroom?

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