You're Invited: It's My (Book Launch) Potty!

It's My (Online  Asynchronous  Book Launch) Potty!

We can't get together in person, and we're all Zoomed out, so this weekend I'm hosting an online celebration of Pipe Dreams that you can show up to whenever you have time!

Mostly on Instagram, I will be demonstrating (or at least trying to) a synthetic poop recipe given to me by real toilet scientists, hosting a toilet paper fashion show and a toilet show & tell, and answering your questions.

As a party favor, I'll send those who participate a signed bookplate for your copy of Pipe Dreams!

Please join me. I miss you!

It's My (Online  Asynchronous  Book Launch) Potty! copy


I'm donating copies of PIPE DREAMS!

Booklist says PIPE DREAMS: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet "should have a place in nearly every library.”

But not every library can afford books like these. So, as a way to give back to all of those who shared their experiences and knowledge with me, I plan to donate some copies to libraries in low-resource areas--especially those associated with institutions and organizations that educate sanitation experts, plan/implement sanitation projects, or advocate for better sanitation. These can be in any country, so long as I can get it there.

If you know of an institution or organization that would like a copy but would otherwise be unable to afford it, please let me know via this form:

A Big Toilet Bibliography

BooksonmytoiletWhile researching PIPE DREAMS, I encountered lots of books that deal with the topic of toilets. For those who want to dive a little deeper into this urgent topic, here is an extensive bibliography that just might help. My thanks to sanitation experts (and friends) Kim Worsham and Eline Bakker for their assistance with this list. And to librarian (and husband) Cyril Emery for procuring many of the books for my research. I’m sure I’ve left off some good titles, so if you have suggestions, please send me a message.

And don't forget my shorter list of necessary reading from

Ashenburg, Katherine. The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History. 1st American ed. New York: North Point Press, 2007.

Benidickson, Jamie. The Culture of Flushing: A Social and Legal History of Sewage. Nature, History, Society. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007.

Black, Maggie, and Ben Fawcett. The Last Taboo: Opening the Door on the Global Sanitation Crisis. London ; Sterling, VA: Earthscan, 2008.

Blumenthal, Dara. Little Vast Rooms of Undoing: Exploring Identity and Embodiment through Public Toilet Spaces. London ; New York: Rowman & Littlefield International, Ltd, 2014.

Blumer, Ronald H. Wiped: The Curious History of Toilet Paper. New York, NY: Middlemarch Media Press, 2013.

Bobel, Chris. The Managed Body: Developing Girls and Menstrual Health in the Global South. 1st ed. 2019. Cham: Springer International Publishing : Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Bobel, Chris, Inga T. Winkler, Breanne Fahs, Katie Ann Hasson, Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, and Tomi-Ann Roberts. The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies. Springer Nature, 2020.

Brewis, Alexandra, and Amber Wutich. Lazy, Crazy, and Disgusting: Stigma and the Undoing of Global Health. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019.

Carter, W. Hodding. Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization. 1st Atria Books hardcover ed. New York: Atria Books, 2006.

Cavanagh, Sheila L. Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination. Toronto ; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2010.

Coffey, Diane, and Dean E. Spears. Where India Goes: Abandoned Toilets, Stunted Development and the Costs of Caste. Noida, Uttar Pradesh ; New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers India, 2017.

Criado-Perez, Caroline. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. New York: Abrams Press, 2019.

Cullet, Philippe, Sujith Koonan, and Lovleen Bhullar, eds. The Right to Sanitation in India: Critical Perspectives. First edition. New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Cumming, Oliver, and Tom Slaymaker, eds. Equality in Water and Sanitation Services. London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.

Curtis, Valerie. Don’t Look, Don’t Touch, Don’t Eat: The Science behind Revulsion. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013.

DiPiazza, Francesca. Remaking the John: The Invention and Reinvention of the Toilet. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2015.

Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. New York: Praeger, 1966.

Enders, Giulia, Jill Enders, and David Shaw. Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2015.

Flowers, Catherine Coleman, and Bryan Stevenson. Waste: One Woman’s Fight against America’s Dirty Secret. New York: The New Press, 2020.

Foote, Stephanie, and Elizabeth Mazzolini, eds. Histories of the Dustheap: Waste, Material Cultures, Social Justice. Urban and Industrial Environments. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2012.

George, Rose. The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters. 1st ed. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008.

Gershenson, Olga, and Barbara Penner, eds. Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009.

Greed, Clara. Inclusive Urban Design: Public Toilets. Routledge, 2007.

Halden, Rolf U. Environment. Object Lessons. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.

Halliday, Stephen. An Underground Guide to Sewers, or, Down, through & out in Paris, London, New York, &c. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2019.

———. The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Capital. Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Pub, 1999.

Haslam, Nick. Psychology in the Bathroom. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Horan, Julie L. The Porcelain God: A Social History of the Toilet. Secaucus, N.J: Carol Pub. Group, 1996.

Jenkins, Joseph C. The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure. 2nd ed., completely rev., expanded and updated. Grove City, PA: Jenkins Pub, 1999.

———. The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Emphasizing Minimum Technology and Maximum Hygienic Safety. Grove City, PA: Jenkins Pub, 1994.

Jenkins, Joseph Charles. The Humanure Handbook 4th Edition: Shit in a Nutshell. 4th edition. Grove City, PA: Joseph Jenkins Inc, 2019.

Johnson, Steven. The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. New York: Riverhead Books, 2006.

Kerrebroeck, Philip E.V. van. 2 to the Loo: Toileting, a Historical, Cultural and Medical Anthology. Ismar Healthcare, 2007.

Kira, Alexander. The Bathroom. New and Expanded ed. New York: Viking Press, 1976.

Koloski-Ostrow, Ann Olga. The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy: Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems. Studies in the History of Greece and Rome. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Koolhaas, Rem, and James Westcott, eds. Elements: Toilet. Venezia: Marsilio, 2014.

Kroløkke, Charlotte. Global Fluids: The Cultural Politics of Reproductive Waste and Value. Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality 39. New York: Berghahn Books, 2018.

Laporte, Dominique. History of Shit. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2000.

Lewin, Ralph A. Merde: Excursions in Scientific, Cultural, and Sociohistorical Coprology. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 1999.

Lowe, Lezlie. No Place to Go: How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs. First edition. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2018.

Melosi, Martin V. The Sanitary City: Environmental Services in Urban America from Colonial Times to the Present. Abridged ed. History of the Urban Environment. Pittsburgh, Pa: the University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008.

Molotch, Harvey Luskin, and Laura Norén, eds. Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing. NYU Series in Social and Cultural Analysis. New York: New York University Press, 2010.

Penner, Barbara. Bathroom. Reaktion Books, 2013.

Praeger, Dave, and Paul Provenza. Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product. Illustrated edition. Los Angeles, Calif: Feral House, 2007.

Reid, Donald. Paris Sewers and Sewermen: Realities and Representations. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Roach, Mary. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. First edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.

Sedlak, David L. Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.

Siegel, Seth M. Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World. First edition. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2015.

———. Troubled Water: What’s Wrong with What We Drink. First edition. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2019.

Smyth, Richard. Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper. Main edition. Souvenir Press, 2012.

Waltner-Toews, David. The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us about Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society. Toronto, ON: ECW Press, 2013.

Webb, James L. A. The Guts of the Matter: A Global History of Human Waste and Infectious Intestinal Disease. Studies in Environment and History. Cambridge ; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Weiss-Wolf, Jennifer. Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity. First edition. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2017.

Necessary reading about toilets: a list

November 19 is World Toilet Day! While writing my forthcoming book about toilets, I've had the pleasure of reading many others that at least touch on the topic, and so I thought I'd put together a WTD reading thread on Twitter. Some folks are even offering their own recommendations in response. You can follow along here:

I'm also putting all of the recommendations in this list. There's something for every age. So buy one and put it in your bathroom!

Project #WasteNot launches with a story from Haiti about poop


Recently, it seems like we've been bombarded with stories about plastic waste--how we are contaminating every part of planet Earth with it, so much so that we might as well call our geologic era the "plastocene."

But what about organic waste, the kind that does decompose over time? It turns out that it's also a big problem: Improperly disposed of, rotting food, kitchen, market, and toilet waste can make people sick, clog drainage systems, release potent greenhouse gases, overstuff landfills, and contaminate recyclables. Handled well, however, it can be transformed into a resource, resurrected as compost or protein or even energy.

Unfortunately, doing so is harder than you might think, especially in cities.

My reporting project, #WasteNot, takes a close look at promising solutions to the problem of organic waste in three cities: Cap-Haitien, Haiti; Surabaya, Indonesia; and Cape Town, South Africa. We start with a story about a program in Haiti that collects urban toilet waste in containers and turns it into compost for the country's depleted soils. Rethink published this story and accompanying images by photographer Caleb Alcenat under a Creative Commons 4.0 license, so it is free to republish and translate with certain restrictions. 

Please share your favorite organic waste initiatives with me using the hashtag #WasteNot, and keep an eye out for more from me in the coming months.

Soil fb