Thursday, June 3, 2010

Over the Counter # 10

Hoarding seems to be a hot topic lately (I've seen one episode of the television show Hoarders and was hoardified!)

So Stuff (subtitled Compulsive Hoarding and the meaning of Things) by Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee is the latest book to catch my eyes as it passed over my library counter and under my scanner.

From the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

"What possesses someone to save every scrap of paper that's ever come into his home? What compulsions drive a woman like Irene, whose hoarding cost her her marriage? Or Ralph, whose imagined uses for castoff items like leaky old buckets almost lost him his house? Or Jerry and Alvin, wealthy twin bachelors who filled up matching luxury apartments with countless pieces of fine art, not even leaving themselves room to sleep?

Randy Frost and Gail Steketee were the first to study hoarding when they began their work a decade ago; they expected to find a few sufferers but ended up treating hundreds of patients and fielding thousands of calls from the families of others. Now they explore the compulsion through a series of compelling case studies in the vein of Oliver Sacks.With vivid portraits that show us the traits by which you can identify a hoarder--piles on sofas and beds that make the furniture useless, houses that can be navigated only by following small paths called goat trails, vast piles of paper that the hoarders "churn" but never discard, even collections of animals and garbage--Frost and Steketee explain the causes and outline the often ineffective treatments for the disorder.They also illuminate the pull that possessions exert on all of us. Whether we're savers, collectors, or compulsive cleaners, none of us is free of the impulses that drive hoarders to the extremes in which they live.

For the six million sufferers, their relatives and friends, and all the rest of us with complicated relationships to our things, Stuff answers the question of what happens when our stuff starts to own us."

Read an excerpt of Stuff.

(Over the Counter is a new feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)


Cathy said...

I've watched 3-4 episodes of Hoarders, and I'm beginning to wonder if any of them are ever "cured"? Very sad, and very depressing!

Kaye said...

One book I read recently (title escapes my senior brain at the moment) called hoarders, "tunnellers" because they had tunnels in their home to get from place to place. All the rest of the house was filled with so much stuff there was no other room to move around. I can understand why it has broken up families.