I will usually only read on the can when I know I am going to be there for an extended period of time, which is frequently. I like to take my time and get comfortable. It is usually whichever book I am reading at the time or maybe a magazine. Never a newspaper. I am not fond of newspapers. They make me angry.
I am currently,in small increments,reading Gravity’s Rainbow in the bathroom. This is going to take some time,as Pynchon seems to be out to confuse me,and I frequently have to re-read sections to try to understand it.
I used to read my mail while on the can. It was like a routine: check the mail, go upstairs, get into my apartment, take the mail to the can and read. I don’t do that as much anymore. Now of days, I generally bring the book of the week with me; whatever I’ve designated for personal reading. I don’t take school stuff in there because the books are just too damned big. I also don’t take stuff in there that’s unwieldly.
I’m not a newspaper person, on the can or off, really. But sometimes, I just grab whatever’s closest because I don’t wanna be staring at the walls.
Generally whatever book I happen to be reading in my personal reading, or some random book from my shelves that I’ve already read and feel like dipping into again, particularly if the book I’m currently reading demands a lot of my concentration and I just couldn’t be bothered putting in the effort when I have more important things to attend to. I’m never understood the attraction of reading newspapers on the can. They’re too big and full of loose papers. I’d find it infuriatingly annoying to read one on the can.
There’s a conversation in *The Big Chill * where the one who’s a magazine writer (the Jeff Goldblum character I think) mentions that he’s required to write articles that take no more than 15 minutes to read so that people can read them on the can. People want nice, short articles that don’t demand too much thinking to understand. And Kevin Kline (I think) replies that people read Dostoyevsky on the can. I once read part of *The Brothers Karamazov * on the can because I was inspired by that remark. Someday I intend to read the whole book entirely on the can - in installments, of course (!). But to only read it when I’m in the bathroom, not when I’m in bed or at a bus stop or anywhere else. Yeah, my life goals are kinda bizarre. I’m easily amused.
And, yeah, *Gravity’s Rainbow * is very annoying to read on the can. I read parts of it on the can last year. I do, however, recommend reading a certain section of it on the can just for laughs. The part where someone (I can’t who exactly) goes searching for a lost harmonica somewhere fairly early in the book. I love that part.
I never read on the can, probably because I almost never (maybe once a year) take longer than a couple of minutes to finish my business. I suppose I have a very cooperative colon or something.
If I did read there, I suppose it would be something brief, like ‘60 Second Mysteries’ or a sports article.
Speaking of which, I do enjoy restaurants/bars that have the front page of the sports section tacked up above the urinal.
I’m a newspaper person, off the can or on. My colon is quite co-operative, I just find it’s a nice little break in the day. The newspaper offers short things to read - if I take a book, I’m in there all day !
(There’s an old newspaper in my bathroom right now, actually: I don’t have the heart to throw it out because the headline for the op-ed piece (about the massive marijuana grow-op they busted) is ‘Lighten up, Canada, we’re on a roll!’)
I am of the female persuasion and I read in the can.
I keep a book of short stories or a paperback copy of the dictionary in the smallest room. The dictionary is my favorite. I have had several water-logged copies. It’s for bathroom reading only. Bathtub, can, whatever. I got into the habit of reading in the bathroom when I was a kid and that was the only quiet room in the house. Now that I have my own house I still do it.
My husband and I had a conversation on this very topic just the other day, after my husband asked why people read in the bathroom. Neither of us has ever read in the bathroom. We’re never in there long enough. We go in, do our business, and we’re out. It’s so simple really. I know when I have to go, and I don’t go into the bathroom unless I’m going to go within a few seconds. If I should, by chance, happen to not be able to go, I pull up my pants, wash my hands, and come back later when the time is right. What do the rest of you do, sit there and wait for it to come? I just don’t get it.