Watching the English
读书笔记 The Rules of Bogside Reading
Working-class bogside reading tends to be mostly humorous, light entertainment or sports-related – books of jokes, cartoons, maybe the occasional puzzle-book or quiz-book, and perhaps a few glossy-gossip or sports magazines. You will also sometimes find magazines about hobbies and interests, such as motorcycles, music or skateboarding.
Lower-middles and middle-middles are not so keen on bogside reading: they may well take a book or newspaper into the loo with them, but do not like to advertise this habit by having a permanent bogside collection, which they think might look vulgar. Females of these classes may be reluctant to admit to reading on the loo at all.
Upper-middles are generally much less prudish about such things, and often have mini-libraries in their loos. Some upper-middle bogside collections are a bit pretentious, with books and magazines that appear to have been selected to impress, rather than to entertain,51 but many are genuinely eclectic, and so amusing that guests often get engrossed in them and have to be shouted at to come to the dinner table.
Upper-class bogside reading is usually closer to working-class tastes, consisting mainly of sport and humour, although the sporting magazines are more likely to be of the hunting/shooting/ fishing sort than, say, football. Some upper-class bogside libraries include fascinating old children’s books, and ancient, crumbling copies of Horse and Hound or Country Life, in which you might come across the 1950s engagement-portrait of the lady of the house
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