Welcome, April Fool Guests!

Regular blog readers: we have company today. I hope you cleaned your rooms and combed your hair like I told you to do.  Hello and welcome to those visiting from the BookEnds Blog! Jessica Faust has been my agent for over a decade. In that time we’ve been through enough highs and lows together that when she put out a call to her clients asking for pictures of their cozy reading spots, I had no reservations whatsoever about sending her this: cozy reading spotBecause come on – who doesn’t read in the bathroom? Especially when it’s this ugly and you need the distraction. Sometimes that seems like the only place to grab a moment of uninterrupted peace (though anyone who ever had small children that even a locked bathroom door is no guarantee of solitude). However, there are folks for whom there’s no chance to read or do anything else in the bathroom, alone, or not, because they live in an area in which such a basic essential is a luxury. In far too many parts of the world, there is a sanitation crisis. Which is why, when Jessica asked if she could post my bathroom shot for April Fool’s Day, I said absolutely – but let’s use this opportunity to tell folks about the World Toilet Organization. Yes. The World Toilet Organization. If that strikes you as slightly snicker-worthy, fear not. This organization – founded in 2001 to improve toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide – knows that people have a hard time talking about these issues, and their website reflects that. I mean, they sponsor a fund-and-awareness-raising event each year called the Urgent Run. But all kidding aside, 2.5 billion people throughout the world are living without adequate sanitation.The human cost is both real and heartbreaking. As the WTO says on their website, Lack of clean and safe toilets at schools leads to higher dropout among girls once they reach puberty. Diarrhoeal diseases – a direct consequence of poor sanitation – kill more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Talking about toilets isn’t easy. But those of us who have the luxury of being able to use our bathrooms as a reading room need to listen. And that’s no joke.