Slogging Through

In a comment yesterday, Renee mentioned slogging through War & Peace and being glad she had seen a film version first.  So now I have to tell MY War & Peace story.

I worked in the book industry for many years, in the now defunct B.Dalton chain. Back then (and I assume now as well) publishers did not want to pay to have mass market printing (small paperbacks) returned to them.  It was cheaper to reprint than to pay for the shipping.  In order to return mass markets we stripped the front covers off the books and sent those to the publisher for return credit.  The strips (books with their covers stripped) were then disposed of at the individual stores.

Although strips were routinely destroyed, it was a perk of working at the bookstore that you were allowed to take strips home for free, as long as you didn’t get caught selling them or even giving them away. For many years, most of the books I read were coverless.  Once when really purging the shelves, we ended up with strips of several classics, including a few copies of War & Peace.  I took one home that day and after a few months, put it in the bathroom with my various magazines for casual bathroom reading.  Since the strip was never going to go on my bookshelf, after every 10-20 pages, I would rip off the pages I’d finished and toss them.

It took me almost a year to read War & Peace this way and as the year went by, the book got skinnier and skinnier!

What reading material do YOU have in the bathroom?

41 thoughts on “Slogging Through”

  1. i have heard of travelers who tore off pages as they read to lighten their load
    i can’t do it
    if i’m reading it it must be worthwhile for the next guy to read too

    i have picked up books obviously left for an enquiring mind to discover and read and quite
    enjoyed them ( on the sidewalk outside a cubs game i picked up a ben franklin book that was interesting )

    my aunt who introduced me to we cummings when i was a kid ( i found it in her bedroom and was reading it and i guess she must have noticed because she gave me a paperback for my birthday in the years that followed) always has great books in her bathroom. i commenter last time i was there and she got a kick out of it

    my bathroom reading material is the weeks new york times sunday paper
    hillary’s new book
    my iphone reader of moon glow and my emails

    i have a stash of poetry at work and i read some of the books i got from clyde on antarctic explorers and the like

    i like robert fulgham for the people magazine length reads
    i like robert fulgham anytime for inspirational pick me ups
    anyone got any suggestions for a snippet based inspirational ditty to add to my bathroom reader pile?
    my ex had those cutesy inspirational calendars and my mom has the churchy 20 word start your day quotes with 5 paragraphs to follow directing you to be a better person
    i like uplifting essays
    fulgham’s stories about everything you need to know in life you learned in kindergarten was his biggy but the ones about ironing a shirt and reading christmas cards in july stick in my brain

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Reading in the bathroom is not a habit of mine. That was a habit that was discouraged in a childhood home with only one bathroom.

    I cringed when I read the story of ripping off pages of the book. I still have difficulty marking up a book or even highlighting my own book. Such an action as a child would result in severe punishment. Most of our books came from the library. The Head Librarian there was a real terrror, an old Victorian lady with a bun and a black dress. Any damage to a book a juvenile patron returned would result in a call to your mother. Nobody wanted that.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. My first year college I “slogged” through War and Peace during the ten minutes between classes. It likely took me the whole semester. But I did see the film first, which, yes, helped.

    What do I have in the bathroom? A VERY old issue of the Sons of Norway Viking magazine which I still haven’t read. I don’t read in that room…


  4. It is hard to tell if our master bathroom is a bathroom or a library. All the 30+ books are husband’s. They include Ethics by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A Short History of Byzantium, Dr. Zhivago, and The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Way OT – I had the most hideous Facebook/technology experience of my life last night. A woman I like, but don’t know well at all except as a friend of my late brother, posted a picture on the 2 year anniversary of her mother’s death. I saw it, but did not (knowingly) react or comment. Some time later, I saw that I had a notice that she had reacted to my gif comment on her post. Since I had not knowingly done more than look at her post, I clicked over to see a gif of a cow jumping over a fence with the caption “get over it”. Why? How? I was mortified and tried to make it go away, when it wouldn’t, I immediately messaged her back and apologized as fervently as I knew how. She responded quickly and graciously and assured me that, while it surprised her, she took it in stride and hoped me and my family were well. I eventually was able to delete the stupid, insensitive, offensive thing, but I guess I’m too old to use Facebook if I can accidentally do something so unforgivably insensitive and humiliating. Arrggghhhh!


    1. That happens now and then. Heck, this morning, Tr$&p tweeted condolences to the people of northern California over yesterday’s mass shooting. The problem is he merely retweeted an original tweet from last week addressed to the survivors of the Texas church shooting.


    2. How frustrating! Is there any way to contact FB and report it, or doesn’t that do any good?

      Anyone know how to block someone’s (from high school) FB posts, without having to unfriend them, if you didn’t want to see all their stuff. Nothing objectionable, just too much every live long day, clogs up the stream and I don’t get to the ones I really want to see.


        1. When I’m on facebook on my phone, I am constantly “liking” things that I don’t want to like (in fact, some of them I would rather “dislike”) so it can be easy to do untoward things on the phone. But that sounds crazy – to not only post a gif but one that was so callous Yuck.


      1. Go to the offending person’s home page and click on the “following” button. That will give you a drop down menu with a choice of unfollowing. That should take of it.


      2. When one of their posts comes up, click on the 3 dots on the upper right of the post. That should display a drop-down list that includes “Unfollow (person’s name)” click on that and you will stop seeing their posts, but remain friends.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. That would be pretty embarrassing. I have no idea how to send a gif. I could have used the one you’re referring to yesterday when one of my friend posted this: “I’m feeling very depressed. In the past few weeks, I’ve lost my Cousin, Gene. Clara Barnes lost her Mamaw-Grandma; Jill Ford White lost her Sister; Linda Kile & her sister, Mary, lost their Mother(who was Debbie Rowinsky & Ann Blankenship Isaacs’s Aunt); Angela Larson lost her Stepmother; George Wesolowski lost his Wife, Harriet, and a month later he lost his Daughter, Linda. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. What is happening???” Five minutes later this same friend was taking a survey among her friends about which tattoo she should get next.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Right now, just a year-old issue of The Sun magazine. I try to keep some of those in the car, too, in case I end up waiting in line somewhere. The first thing I read are the vignettes from readers (around a monthly theme) and the quotes – “Sunbeams” – on the last page.


  7. Our present main floor bathroom is too small for its own literature; I carry in whatever is the book du jour and carry it out again. In our last house, where we had three bathrooms, the last book I remember residing in the one I typically used was The Darkened Room by Alex Owen, a book about Victorian spiritualism and also about how it gave women a measure of influence and authority that translated for some into a voice for women’s rights.

    Back in 1981 and ’82, I designed and art directed the Holiday catalog for B. Dalton. The woman I had to work with on the B. Dalton side was named Elaine Taylor-Gordon. She was one of those executive types that bounce from company to company leaving chaos in their wake. I suspect B. Dalton probably gave her a glowing recommendation just to get rid of her. Shortly thereafter she turned up as a representative for Leona Helmsley, the infamous hotelier.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My dad grew up in southern Iowa early in the 20th century. The “bathroom” was a little wood shanty in the backyard. The nearly universal choice of reading material was the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Dad described sitting in the biffy reading pages of the “wish book,” then crumpling them to use them as toilet paper.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I read if I’m in the bathtub for a luxurious soak. Then I usually just bring in whatever book I’m currently reading. Right now it’s the Louise Erdrich we have as a BBC selection. Otherwise, I don’t usually have reading material in the bathroom. It’s more likely to reside on the nightstand in the bedroom.

    The flower shop where I work has a lot of bathrooms. There is one on the main floor, and I think the basement has four, if I’m remembering right. Why there are four bathrooms in the basement, I couldn’t even begin to guess. But people often leave magazines and the occasional book in the bathrooms there. I am considering bringing some reading material for those who spend time in the bathrooms. I, myself, tend to be in and out rather quickly, so I won’t be paging through anything there. But some light reading material, like Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs, might be welcome there.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I still have a lot of stripped paperbacks from my B. Dalton days. I should just get rid of them. I left B. Dalton over thirty years ago, and if I haven’t read the stripped books in thirty years it’s a pretty safe bet that I won’t get around to it at this late date.

    There a a few that are probably appallingly out of date – Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones, for instance – if I had actually read it when it was relevant, would it have helped in some way?

    I did make use of some of them many years ago, though.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.