Flush with information: The Bathroom Reader series


Before I received a Kindle as a gift a few years back, my reading pattern was pretty predictable. I read paper books, and I tended to read more in the winter time, when it was colder out and I was indoors more.  By the time college hit, I already had established a pattern of acquiring certain annual anthologies, all of which came out in the fall, likely to time for gift-giving season.

One such anthology is a bit bizarre on the surface, but makes a lot of sense underneath: Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series.  The annual anthology is a 400-plus page set of facts and information, written in an easy-to-read style of various lengths, but all designed to be consumed in short bursts because, well, the primary market is people reading on the toilet.

My aunt purchased one for me almost 20 years ago as a gift, mostly because she thought it’d be a good gift for someone who enjoys factoids, which is a strong secondary market for the series.  She nailed it, as I’ve bought every edition since, and went back and bought the earlier editions that I had missed, along with some single-topic books they’ve issued since, such as a New York edition that’s full of interesting facts about the state and, primarily, New York City.

The books have a bit of fun where they can, sharing crazy lawsuits, laws and quotes intermixed with some interesting historical nuggets and situations. The books even have running “feet” with factoids at the bottom of each page.

For those who enjoy trivia or reading up on various random topics, or if you prefer shorter reads (including the kind done on the john), the series continues to be, even more than 25 years in, an excellent place to go (no pun intended.. or is it?).

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