Last week's post about French Elle Décoration's suggestion that bookshelves make a nice touch in a bathroom
solicited a certain amount of alarm from the "hygiene" patrol. Maybe I've lived in France too long, but I'm not sure just how literature in the bathroom could be perceived as a health threat. Still, I admit that I've always been (delightfully) surprised at how many Parisians have made libraries of the dead space in their bathrooms -- and more commonly, toilet rooms, since the norm here is to give the throne a room of its own.
Unfortunately, I don't have any photos to share of the many Parisian toilet libraries I have seen. So I borrowed this image from the April edition of French Elle Décoration. It's from a feature they did called "Five Writers and their Libraries" that I couldn't find on the website. This is the bathroom library of French writer and filmmaker Alexandre Jardin. In the text, he says that there is but one library at his literary family's house, because his mother used to regularly burn books once they had been read. "She was convinced that people seemed as old as their libraries," he is quoted as saying, "and that it wasn't good to ruminate over old chewing gum!" He said he's grown accustomed to keeping books in circulation. "The real libraries are in our heads," the pullquote reads. The books on these shelves, he says, were left by friends.
- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com