Bathroom Reading Month: Do You Read in The Bathroom?

7 years ago
Woman reading newspaper in bathroom

When I was a kid, we kept the laundry hamper in our bathroom. If your laundry didn’t make into the hamper, it didn’t get washed. It was not the only or even most important purpose for the hamper -- the top of it was home to our ever-rotating collection of bathroom reading material.

Growing up I could always find Archie comic books, Reader’s Digest and, at odd times, a crossword puzzle book splayed out there for our bathroom amusement. We tended not to keep magazines in there, as when we lifted up the top of the hamper they’d slide behind it and get trapped. We didn’t often leave books in there, because we were too busy reading them to leave them anywhere. My mother would sometimes forget and leave whatever romance novel she was reading behind, and my first foray into the world of Harlequin were with reading a few pages while being careful not to lose her spot or get caught.

When I went over to other people’s houses I was, and continue to be, fascinated by what reading material they keep in their bathrooms. Many like my family had the ubiquitous Reader’s Digest. Sometimes there were joke books, the precursors to the Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers, which at our friend’s place you have to skip the powder room and go to the full bathroom to read. Every now and then I’ll see a copy of the newspaper or maybe even a novel. Then, of course, are the people who don’t keep any reading material in their bathrooms. I’m sorry, I don’t understand them.

Yes, I read in the bathroom. I can’t imagine not having some kind of reading material in there. In my bathroom you can find the latest copy of MacLean’s magazine, usually along with copies from two or three weeks ago because we never seem to read it in the same week we receive it. Sometimes you will find a copy of the Economist, Rolling Stone or even The Walrus. Books do not live in my bathroom, they merely make guest appearances when they are too good to be put down for even five minutes and promptly exit the bathroom with me as well.

Somewhere out there I know that some of you are genuinely cringing at my bathroom confessions. Reading in the bathroom? Ick! If you think that the bathroom is a dirty place to read, think again. ABC news reports that bathroom reading is good, clean fun.

According to University of Arizona microbiologist Chuck Gerba, the average desktop is crawling with 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Your telephone and computer keyboard, in particular, are germ havens.
"Think about it: Desktops are rarely cleaned," Gerba says. "If you're eating at your desk, it's a veritable cafeteria for bacteria."

See! Your bathroom is cleaner than you think it is! (And I bet that makes you really want to clean your desk and computer keyboard doesn’t it?)

Why all the potty talk? Thanks to the Bathroom Readers Institute, the people behind the Uncle John Bathroom Readers June has been declared Bathroom Reading Month. According to a survey conducted by The Scotsman Brits spend an average of one hour and 42 minutes a week in the bathroom, and no, that does not include bath and shower time. That comes out to 92 days over the course of our lives so really, why wouldn’t we a) read in the bathroom and b) celebrate it?

We’re moving in a month, and we have a good-sized main floor powder room. Thanks to Bathroom Reading Month, my mind has been turning toward how we are going to stock it with reading material. I know many people who save their reading material for their private bathrooms and keep it out of the powder room. That is not us. I’d put good money on one of the first purchases after we move will be a magazine rack for the bathroom ... assuming we don’t buy it before we move. I kind of figured that we’d the standard magazines, trivia books and a copy of Everybody Poops.

I found a blog post that has me thinking about taking another path. I will file this under things I never thought I’d say online, but I’d really like to go over to writer Christine Lehner’s house and use her bathrooms. Not only do her bathrooms have reading material, but each bathroom has a theme! Themes! For bathroom books! It makes me want to have five bathrooms so that I can provide a theme for each one of them. Since that’s not going to happen, maybe I’ll do seasonal themes as we certainly own enough books. I can see it now, “This season Sassymonkey’s bathroom presents 'Space: The Final Frontier.' Come back next season for 'Devil Horns: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Your Favourite Heavy Metal Bands.' Or maybe 'Gardening: By People Who Do It Better Than Sassymonkey.'"

So yes, I read in the bathroom, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Come on over, I’ll let you read there, too. If you ask nicely, I might even allow you to make requests from my library.

Contributing Editor Sassymonkey also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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