A few weeks ago, while at work, I found myself holding two small books and thinking: these would make for some excellent bathroom books! For me, what made these books exceptional for toilet reading was their size and their content.
Now, I’m not very good at reading nonfiction – which I prefer to take in audio form – and I have trouble reading back-to-back books which don’t have a well-defined beginning and end. Like most poetry books, and books with lists.
The two books I picked up at work were language books. They talk of the different quirks of the Dutch language in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Each tiny page has some words, or sentences, which are particular to this region. I knew well I wouldn’t be treating these books as a regular cover-to-cover read. So, they seemed like the perfect book to pick up and read a couple of definitions at a time – especially since any shampoo bottle I own is out of reach, so it’s either a book or staring at the wall. Moreover, I stopped taking my phone to the toilet because this way I get some reading in. Ingenious, I know.
Right now I have five books on my bathroom shelf: the two small language ones I mentioned above, a book written by Paulien Cornelisse (famous Dutch writer, comedian, and TV host) where she names 100 small things about Japan, a small essay on love, and New Deal Photography.
Reading these books in the bathroom means I’m actually going to finish them one day, which may not have happened had I needed to choose them amongst all other books on my TBR. I also don’t really miss anything from picking up each book for a few minutes every other week. They’re easy to consume that way.
I decided to ask our contributors what, for them, makes for a perfect bathroom book, and I found some interesting answers. Take a look at them yourself.
The Wisdom Of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey
I have The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey in my bathroom. I got it as a gift last year when I had surgery. I ignored it until recently, when I needed something to take into the bathroom. Turns out it’s perfect!
The book features short interviews from Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations alongside nature photos from around her estate. Each interview is pretty self-contained, but they’re linked thematically. Thus, you have the right length read for whatever kind of bathroom session you’re in for. It’s insPOOrational. Ba-dum-chhh!
Giggles: A Joke Book by Helen Exley
I used to have Giggles: A Joke Book by Helen Exley in the loo when I was a kid.
My mother bought me the pocket-sized version, and it seemed like the perfect thing. I would also just carry along whichever book I was currently reading because I was far too impatient to put it down (not library books, I’m not depraved).
For me, the perfect bathroom book is either a collection – so that you don’t end up sitting on the toilet for an hour while you try to find a convenient stopping point – or a well-loved old favourite that you can almost recite word for word, without even having it in front of you.
The Other Woman by Daniel Silva
My grandfather used to have a book in every room of the house, including the bathroom. It seemed like he favoured science fiction tomes in the bathroom specifically. Personally, I don’t keep books in the bathroom because I’d worry they’d fall in the toilet. But if I did, it would be a fast-paced thriller with short chapters, something like The Other Woman by Daniel Silva.
Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community by Born This Way Foundation
The book that I currently have in my bathroom is a very cute coffee table–type book that has a lot of inspiring stories by teens.
Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community is a book by Born this Way Foundation Reporters and Lady Gaga. The book is colorful, pretty and features stories about hope and being a good person overall.
Written with her mom, Cynthia Germanotta, the book is a creation of the Born This Way Foundation. In it, you’ll meet young change-makers who found their inner strength, who prevailed in the face of bullies, who started their own social movements, who decided to break through the mental health stigma and share how they felt, who created safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, and who have embraced kindness with every fiber of their being, by helping others without expecting anything else.
It’s such a great book to add to your bathroom décor and, since it s so moving, you can silently wipe your tears in there and no one will ever know.
Contributor Caitlin Hobbs adds, “I have always been one to just bring whatever book I was reading” which seems like a good sign; after all, who doesn’t love finding books we can’t put down, not even for the most mundane tasks?
Interested in reading more about bathroom books? Here are a couple of posts our contributors put together for you: