This is the granddaddy of all factoid books. Uncle John's Bathroom Reader has become an annual feast for those who like compendiums of weird facts, stories behind every day objects, the history behind various traditions, fads, songs, music groups, TV shows, you name it they have it. The early (and not as voluminous) Readers had been out of print and basically impossible to find but St. Martin's Press has finally reissued them. It is a good thing because this is probably the only book you can never, ever find at a used bookstore: People who own them never part with them.
As is the case for all the other books by the Bathroom Reader's Institute, there is something for everybody here in short 1 or 2 page articles and a couple of "extended readings" for those . . . moments when nature's call takes a little longer to be answered.
Of course, the first book of the series begins with the history of the porcelain throne but since there is no logic behind the sequence of short funny stories the next page is funny quotes from TV shows followed by weird things than happened in the 60's, Famous For Fifteen Minutes, the story behind certain expressions such as fall guy (no not Lee Majors), keep your shirt on and so on.
Every single article or story in this book is humorous and eminently readable. Although some of the stories in the first edition were reprinted some 10 years later in The Best Of (basically the 10th edition) there are a lot of comic stories and factoids that will be new even to the most ardent fan -such as myself-of the series.
Particularly enjoyable in this first edition are the stories behind the hula hoop, the Louie Louie song, a few juicy tidbits about J. Edgar Hoover and how for a while (and for all we know now) the FBI had agents whose assignment was to watch TV to see how they were represented in various series, quotes from the great Lenny Bruce, Groucho Marx, the Perry Mason story and so on and so on.
This is a great gift for yourself, a friend, and anyone who is in the hospital for a while, taking a trip (do not fly Air Canada if you can avoid it), or knows he or she is going to be sitting around for a while waiting for something to happen.
Warning: these books are highly addictive and you will definitely get the others. There are more than twenty so far.
Other Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Reviews
Book Of The Dumb Volume 1: stories about dumb criminals and other stupid stuff
Mom's Bathtub Reader: funny stories and funny factoids having to do with Mom
Plunges Into Great Lives: covers a gamut of funny people and funny historical facts
Plunges Into Hollywood: anyone who enjoys the movies will like this Hollywood factoid book
Plunges Into The Universe: great gift for anyone who enjoys funny facts
Plunges Into History Again: Buy Two, you'll keep the first one you buy anyways
Uncle John's Unstoppable Bathroom Reader: thick volume filled with funny stories and funny anecdotes
Uncle John's Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader: all the factoids and useless but fun information you need to know
Fast-Acting, Long-Lasting Bathroom Reader: the best collection of factoids and weird stuff you did not know
Uncle John's Shoots And Scores: the all-hockey factoid Uncle John's book
Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Series: A great series of factoid and funny facts books
Uncle John's Bathroom Reader - Wonderful World of Odd: This great bathroom reader focuses on odd, weird, simply bizzare factoids and stories