Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bathroom Books

I can't be the only one who does this.

I like to have at least one large tome in the bathroom that can be read in short doses without diluting either my interest or requiring me to hang out in the bathroom for more time than I already do.

Encyclopedic reference books are perfect, though they sometimes don't meet my second criterion, which is that it must be the kind of book that I won't mind getting wet, banged around, or curled up from humidity.

Enter Amy Dacyzyn's The Complete Tightwad Gazette.

I read the individual volumes as they came out, but since that was back in the '90's and frugality was still new to me, not much of it stuck. Also, I was greatly put off by an interview the author gave to Money Magazine where she was asked how her children fit in with their friends, and her response was that her children had each other--they didn't need friends. I wasn't sure what a mother who could say such a thing had to teach me about saving money.

However, this volume showed up at a library book sale a few months back, and for some time now has been my bathroom book.

Although it is dated, (computers and the internet figure not in her world) it is still a great read. I had forgotten what a strong sense of humor the author has about her own foibles, how honest she is about what does and doesn't work (getting kids to eat lima beans may never be worth the effort, no matter how frugal or nutritious), and how tolerant she is with regard to any mother's choice as to work outside the home or not.

It's the ultimate bathroom book, clearly meant to be absorbed in small doses. It took me four months to read, and I'd be willing to keep on going, if only I hadn't run out of pages.

Maybe the author was misquoted by Money Magazine? Or maybe I'll just have to forgive her for that lapse.

Oh, and her all-purpose stain removal recipe really does work!


Anonymous said...

Here's a very recent interview Amy gave:

I just adore Amy! She brought me to the wonderful world of frugality. I have ALL her newsletters And her books (which are just her newsletters). When she earned a million dollars, she quit. She thought a million dollars was enough to suffice her! Ha! What a laugh. That's why she's back. She's worried she won't have enough money to send her youngest to college.

I wrote to Amy when she first announced she was quitting and begged her NOT to quit. Did she listen to unknown me? No! I told her she was making a very serious mistake. We must always be frugal AND we must always earn money. I am sure the stock market practically wiped her out!

Anyway, Grace, get Amy out of the bathroom and on the top of your living room coffee table. The woman is top shelf!

Today, if a mother told her children to go play with themselves .....well, you get the idea. It's a whole new world out there. But frugality never loses it's style.

Grace. said...

Thanks for the link--interesting interview.

MEG said...

I would never keep a book in the bathroom, and to be honest it kind of grosses me out when I visit someone's home and find books, magazines, or newspapers next to the toilet. It makes me envision the resident sitting for hours on the commode trying to, well, you know. Not a visual I prefer!

I get in and get out and have never spent more than 5 minutes on the toilet in my life - I've never understood people who want to sit there and read. Why don't you just wait until you have to go before sitting down?

Grace. said...

Ah Meg--dear, wonderful, YOUNG Meg--

When you get a little older, you'll come to understand what some of us less--umm, regular--folks do in a bathroom!

Trust me on this one--a good book helps!

hustler said...

I agree, Grace. I have a cute little basket on the bottom shelf in my bathroom. All my magazines and books stay hidden and I can easily reach them. I wish our library would have a good book for sale. Seems all the books they sale are ones that NO ONE wants!

Sharon said...

Thanks for this post! I ended up getting my copy out and found an adorable idea for my son's birthday. He LOVES chocolate kisses, and there was an article about wrapping a present like a chocolate kiss...WHAT A HIT! It's definitely a good read every now and again!

Florence said...

Gosh, I didn't think you could do..well, you know without something to read. Birder's World and The Economist do the uh job for me. LOL