Recommended Reading: “The Bathroom Chronicles” by Friederike Schilbach

Portrait ©James Johnston

In her book, Friederike Schilbach finds herself in many different women’s bathrooms – including those of Veronika and Julia

Friederike Schilbach is an expert when it comes to good literature. She has a remarkable ability to track down talented authors and make their works accessible to German readers. She has not only been captivated by pure text, but also by almost artistic seeming contexts. Her view of the world is unique, and so for her latest project she dedicated herself to a very special “mythic place” – the bathroom and the stories it can tell.

How she came to be fascinated by bathrooms and eventually started this project is something she describes best herself in the foreword to The Bathroom Chronicles. 100 Frauen. 100 Bilder. 100 Geschichten. (Editor’s note: The book is currently only available in German. The title translates to The Bathroom Chronicles. 100 Women. 100 Pictures. 100 Stories.) In a second foreword, architecture expert and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung editor Niklas Maak provides exciting contrast from a factual and cultural-historical perspective.

We thoroughly recommend this book – and not least because it contains Veronika’s bathroom as well as my own and members of the extended hey woman! family, including Ori, Zsu, and Jessica. Among the many other protagonists, you’ll find Hanya Yanagihara, Sheila Heti, Joana Avillez, Lena Dunham, Sonja Heiss, Elif Batuman, and even more women who are probably unknown to the public, but who often inspire us privately.

“I’ve always found bathrooms to be more interesting than kitchens or bedrooms. It’s a place where you meet yourself in the mirror on the way into the day or into the night, brushing your teeth, applying cream, fixing your hair. Many of my girlfriends keep dear things there, small objects that are emotionally important to them: photos, flowers, jewelry, heirloom pieces, vintage finds, books, postcards, flacons, perfume, old hand towels, little mermaids, plastic whales, hourglasses, creams, vases, plants, ceramic pots, magazines, lipsticks. It is an intimate space, perhaps the most intimate in one’s entire home, the one in which we unfurl, confront ourselves upon waking up or before going out, where we build our identity, create a self-portrait. Maybe that’s why I like to linger in their bathrooms: It is there that a bit of their magic, their everyday rituals, become tangible.”

Translation: Melissa Frost

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.