At the risk of crossing that fine line between the personal and the private (the one literary critics are always going on about in autobiographical literature), I'd like to voice my candidate for Worst Piece of Bathroom Reading Materal. Ever. A warning: the rest of this post gets fairly informal.
First off: reading on the toilet. Yes, I do. Non-serious statistics done by me suggest that most men do, most women don't. Nothing odd about it.
So I'm on the porcelain chair, doing my business, and I'm reading the latest edition of London Review of Books. There's a surprisingly entertaining, even funny, piece on the rat problem, in New York City in particular, disturbingly titled "Some of them can read." It's filled with interesting anecdotes and surprising facts, for instance: the roughly 28 million rats in NY city are of the species called brown rat. Latin name: Rattus Norvegicus, I shit you not*. It also goes by the name "Norwegian Rat." At least that's one export we have besides the oil and the fish, then.
So I'm reading this, quietly amused, until I get to the following section:
The only other domestic rat fact that seems seriously to disturb [author of book being reviewed, Robert] Sullivan is that they occasionally emerge in toilet bowls, after crawling through sewer pipes, and bite people’s genitals.
* Update: I am told that this is common knowledge.I was not aware of this. And yes, the pun was intended.