Harry Potter author admits to reading on the “john”.

While most Americans readily admit to having a stash of magazines in the bathroom to peruse, Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling hinted there may be more substantial reading in her water closet. In a recent interview to Oprah’s O Magazine, Rowling admitted her reading fetish by commenting, “I read when I’m drying my hair. I read in the bath. I read when I am sitting in the bathroom. Pretty much anywhere I can do the job one-handed, I read.” Rumors quickly began circulating about her admitted obsession. Lowell Downly, a local pub-owner in rural Edinburgh, Scotland, adopted hometown to the famous children’s author, admitted to seeing Ms. Rowling come into his establishment last month, “with a stack of books in her hand, and heading to the loo.” Calvin Gatherbottom, an intern with Rowling’s UK publisher Bloomsbury, cited during an interview, that Rowling had recently asked for a list of the “hot authors” and for a private bathroom to be installed in her editor’s office. Her editor could not be reached for comment.

So far among the young readers of her famous Harry Potter series, bathroom reading has increased 38%. With the new release of the final installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, readers were indulging while participating in all kinds of necessary activities. Ronald Deaver, a 20 year-old English major at the University of Vermont claims, “I had to get through it in 24 hours, there just wasn’t going to be any stopping. I ate, showered, and yes, even went the bathroom with Harry Potter. I would have done anything while reading the book, there had to be no compromise.”

Mary DiAgresio of the National Council on Bookreading Habits, states that this is not an all-together new phenomena. “When John Grisham revealed his penchant for reading on a bidet”, DiAgresio states, “readership on bidet’s went through the roof according to our stringent market research.” In fact, bidet readership went up a staggering 300% upon the arrival of Grisham’s last novel, and sales of the fountain toilet went up 65%. And these are not the only statistics to see a rise. The NCBH states that since the publication of HPDH, time spent in the bathroom reading has increased as well. “Over the last year, we have seen a distinct rise in the number of minutes, and in some cases hours an individual will spend reading in the bathroom” says DiAgresio. The statistics are alarming. Pre-HPDH, the average reader spent 8.6 minutes in the bathroom reading. Post HPDH, the number has taken a significant rise to 24.5 minutes, and in one case, a man from Maryland, spent a total of two hours and fifty-three minutes in the porcelain temple consuming the Rowling narrative. When asked about his experience, the man simply stated, “I couldn’t stop…reading that is.” Commode sales are on the rise as well. Vince Teeler, manager of a local Home Depot in suburban Atlanta says, “Ever since the publication of THAT book, we haven’t been able to keep a toilet in stock, it’s like people can’t get enough.”

Rowling is notorious for keeping her life private, and her stories even more so, but this recent revelation has had a far reaching effect on her readership. 14-year old Anna Montville, of Holland, Mich. states, “I always read Harry Potter wherever I can, and sometimes that means when I’m taking a number two. But now that I know that J.K. does it too, I’m not ashamed of my secret.”

Readers in Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta have been seen lining up at public restrooms with their copy of Deathly Hallows in tow. Said one reader, who wished to remain anonymous, “If it’s good enough for J.K., it’s good enough for me.”

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Running to Stand Still

I have this recurring dream that I am running. Not so much as running from something as…just running. Richard John and Lillian Francis met sometime in the early ‘20’s. Most likely at school, at least that’s what the clearest memories of the people who are involved in this story can recollect. He liked sports, she resented her middle name being spelled like a boys, an “i” where there should have been and “e”. Theirs was a deep and abiding passion right from the start. Lillian sends love letters wisped with the mild essence of lavender water.

The lines.

The phrases.

The very letters, dripping a weight of affection. They would be caught in the back seat of a car kissing passionately. Parents would come to agree that instant marital union was the best choice to ward off any dangers. A boy of rigid Swedish mid-western upbringing and a staunchly raised Irish red-head would tie the knot before their eighteenth birthdays. Life would begin hard, and fast. They would have a Christmas baby before their first anniversary, Anna. Nancy, Patricia, Richard Earl, and Jerry would be added before the brood was full. The man would serve his country in France and Germany during World War 2. The woman would become a sales woman at Yonker Brothers department store. The husband would come home and drive an ice truck in the summers and a coal truck in the winters.

He would have an affair.

It would break her heart.

They would stay together, the dirty little secret tucked away in the far corner of a long lost forgotten house of memory. He would give up his job and move to Washington State to work for the school district in Seattle, his son Jerry would follow in his footsteps after a bout with diverticulitis and depression. She would slip into an ever deepening madness so that now her children and their spouses call her “boss”, the name Lillian now being confined to work where she prefers “Lily”. He would develop a love for music, being able to read music on sight and translate them to an instrument, his sweeping tenor voice breaking the air with song. She would take up smoking, and make him feel guilty for being talented.

They have grandchildren they would go visit. Grandmother would complain, grandfather would dole out pieces of beef jerky while smoking a pipe packed with cherry tobacco. They would live out of the travel trailer for months at a time. The stale, bitter smell of tobacco and resentment lingers in the air.

They would make their peace.

Retire in quiet.

Someplace peaceful, where you can only hear the wind rustling the leaves on the ground while a warm sunset glow fills in the edges between the trees. He would be diagnosed with cancer while his grandson was playing in a national high school basketball tournament in Milwaukee. She would start to drive to the bitter edges of her own sanity. The husband would die a month later of stomach cancer, having never wrapped his arms around his children in love. His funeral is attended by immediate members of his family still surviving. She would live on 8 years more. Never fully coming to grips with her life and the loss of her husband. She would smoke three packs a day, sneak in candy, and steal sweets from the food cart meant for other patients. She would die withered and fragile with no mind left, cremated. Neither, as much as the sources can recall, ever showed affection. She never said “I love you”, or “I’m sorry” to her eldest and dearest daughter. They would live three thousand miles apart till her death.

They now reside in a small piece of earth in a rural area south of Seattle, their ashes in cardboard boxes, buried next to each other. No one except the youngest son knows the whereabouts of the graves. No markers. I met them once when I was 6. These are my grandparents.