Saturday, April 18, 2009

Salle de bains livres

The time has come to transcend all boundaries of taste and list the books that are presently shelved in your bathroom. I have no idea how these get there, but once they're there, they stay for a long, long time.

The current W6HQ lineup:

George Pelecanos, The Night Gardener
Norman Doidge, M.D., The Brain That Changes Itself
Syd Field, Screenplay: The Foundations Of Screenwriting
Edgar Allen Poe, Stories and Poems
Margaret Atwood, Lady Oracle
Lee Reich, Weedless Gardening
Diana Schwarzbein, M.D., The Schwarzbein Principle II: The Transition
Susan Jacoby, The Age Of American Unreason
Marc McCutcheon, The Writer's Guide To Everyday Life In The 1800's

I think Poe has the endurance record. The radiator has heated and cooled this book so many times over the past two years that it looks like a piece of lasagna.

Describe, please, your library of the toilet.

24 comments:

zachary-cole said...

I didn't even know people did this. In fact, a couple of years ago I was at an artist's house. When I entered his bathroom, I saw that someone had carelessly discarded an Al Gore book near the towels. Being a kind guest, I put it back in their bookcase.

Oops.

LemmusLemmus said...

Me neither: no books, not even shelves. I believe I once had the bible lying there for a few days until I decided it was one of the lamest jokes in history. Correctly, I think.

If you feel like reducing that collection, I suggest you start with the Field. A very quick read.

jrlennon said...

I disliked the Field intensely. If he would just cut out all the instances of boasting about how awesome he is and how many people he knows, you could read the whole thing while urinating. And though I recognize the necessity of applying a traditional structure to most films, and respect the difficulty of doing it any other way, his overly broad claims about the nature of narrative are ridiculous.

That said, where's my hot screenplay? Not in my bathroom, anyway.

idyll said...

I like to keep a book in the bathroom. It can't be silly. Not at all. Because in that small shrine, one's thoughts can be surprisingly philosophical. Herman Hesse or the Russians, most often.

Matt said...

I try to be discreet with my bathroom reading and keep books in drawers rather than on a shelf. Books with short chapters or stories are better for me, and so recently I've favored Esther Stories by Peter Orner. And (can I say this without being unctuous?) Pieces for the Left Hand might find a home in that drawer soon, too (although since I finished the Orner I've taken to doing crosswords instead).

jrlennon said...

No, I think Pieces is excellent bathroom reading, personally. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

rmellis said...

A bathroom without books is like a highway without billboards. Yeah, they're tacky and cluttery, but they make the journey more interesting...

rmellis said...

I use my Bible on the floor beneath my piano, so my foot can reach the pedals...

k. said...

I'm sad that I don't have a bathroom library.

I meant to ask in the previous post, but what's Black Dahlia Avenger like? I've been meaning to check it out. Is it stupendously awesome because the author presents a convincing case? Or because the author is nutty and it's entertaining to see him try to resolve his personal issues with his dad in the frame of the Black Dahlia case (like that book "Daddy was the Black Dahlia Killer")? Both appeal to me, so I'll certainly check it out.

Maybe it'll be the beginning of my bathroom library.

Dusty said...

I tend to keep litmags in the bathroom because I tend not to pick them up any other time.

Right now I've got an old 50th-anniversary Paris Review, the current Prairie Schooner, and an old Cream City Review my friend's got a story in.

I don't think I've ever read, like, a whole novel in the bathroom. Can it be done?

jrlennon said...

You could read, say, a David Markson novel like Wittgenstein's Mistress--it consists of small, very small, sections that you don't necessarily have to remember from page to page.

k., Black Dahlia Avenger presents a very convincing case, and is quite well written. The author's theory is that his dad did it. Much of the appeal comes from the way he gradually realizes his father was a killer...very creepy and psychologically interesting. James Ellroy plumps for the theory in his introduction, too.

k. said...

Very cool.

bigscarygiraffe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bigscarygiraffe said...

ordered in current state of disarray:

1) Aubrey Beardsley's Venus & Tannhauser

2) At least 6 months worth of VegNews & Dwell

3) Collected Poems of Elizabeth Bishop

4) Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Stories

5) David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (perpetually unfinished and becoming more curly paged by the day)

christianbauman said...

When You Are Engulfed in Flames, David Sedaris
Caligula For President, Cintra Wilson
DSM-4 Made Easy, the editors
As well as a large stack of gardening and clothing catalogs

Simpson said...

1. Some book about the Middle East that I swore I'd read to be able to speak intelligently about, you know, stuff.

2. Chabon/Werewolves in their Youth

3. Some book of unusual words that I never actually read.

4. Huckleberry Finn (which I loathe, btw)

5. Some book on finance my mother gave me;

6. The Secret History (which has ended up in nearly every bathroom I've ever stocked, for some reason);

7. Pyncheon/Against the Day

For some reason, a book that ends up in my bathroom is a book that is guaranteed to never actually be read.

AC said...

I simply don't read in the bathroom. Maybe my bowels are just unusually healthy, but I never spend enough time in there to require distraction.

rmellis said...

Bowels aside, I find the bathroom to be a nice, quiet, steamy place to hide from my children.

Matt said...

"I Thought My Father Was God"
"Intellectual Devotional"
"The Elements of Style"

I usually end up hauling in whatever book I'm currently reading, though.

Melody said...

Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson

Several past issues of Classic Trains magazine (who knew I'd become a train buff?)

The English - Pennsylvania Dutch Dictionary

The Golden Age of Advertising - the 60s

and...Pieces for the Left Hand. No Joke.

jrlennon said...

Awesome! And Classic Trains, I like it. Reminds me of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsYBArQECBg

Brandon said...

No bathroom library, because my apartment bathroom doesn't have much room. I'm like Matt #2 in that I tend to take with me the book I'm currently reading. Sometimes, because I always read several books at once, I'll really ponder my choices. I'll even consider starting a new book.

Zachary Cole said...

* Shamefully chuckles at mention of "#2" *

Katie Cappello said...

I'm a long-time bathroom reader, and I had to get in on this!

My library:
Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
The Good Girl's Guide to Living in Sin
Top 500 Poems, edited by William Harmon
Merriam Webster's Dictionary of Allusions
Short Fiction by 33 Writers
The Prince by Macchiavelli
Various pieces of newspaper and magazines