Top five books to read on the loo

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Photograph courtesy Luke Barclay

Whether your taste veers towards newspapers or naughty magazines (thought we hope Esquire would trump both), everyone loves a good read on the loo, it's an act as ingrained in British culture as reading the back of the cereal box at the breakfast table. In honour of the age-old pastime we thought we'd compile a list of our favourite toilet reads ever. We hope you agree.

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1. Schotts Original Miscellany
Occasionally dense but always informative (like Jonathan Ross), this little brain filler gets time speeding by, and it’s a bonus coming out of the toilet knowing more than you did when you went in. Like word of the day toilet paper, only better.

2. Lobster – Guillerme Lacasble
A lobster in the kitchen of the Titanic is thrown out of his pan as the ill-fated ship strikes the berg, after which he falls in love with a passenger, Angelina. The pair are then united in crustacean passion in the flooding first class dining room. All this before, a third of the way through the story, Angelina makes a miscalculated pass at another, somewhat less gifted crustacean. This is where toilet humour comes into its own.

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3. Anything by P.G. Wodehouse
We like to make an event of going to the toilet here at Esquire, and how better to add a little Edwardian drama than with some good old Jeeves and Wooster? Perhaps it’s because the Esquire office still has pull-chain flushes.

4. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 - Sue Townsend
To avoid boredom, we advise serialising your toilet trips. One of the simplest ways is to immerse yourself in one of the misunderstood intellectual’s entries each time you bump into Mr. Porcelain. Adrian's Pandora-induced dilemmas and the Bert and Queenie love saga will have you eagerly anticipating your next number two.

5. Tales of the unexpected– Roald Dahl
Lock reality outside the lav and welcome Roald Dahl's surreal world into your bathroom, where you'll soon be introduced to characters including a father who raised his son as a bumblebee and a B&B landlady who skins and stuffs her guests. Roald Dahl’s tall tales really do deserve their space on this bogspot.

Another of our top toilet reads, though perhaps a little obvious, couldn't be left off the list. Luke Barclay's 2008 "Loos with Views" (from which the above image is taken) is a photographic documentation of Barclay's search "to find the most picturesque, intriguing and breathtaking views from toilets on Planet Earth". Check out Barclay's follow up effort "Good Loo Hunting", which is available from Virgin Books in October.

Words by Alex Tieghi-Walker