Bookmarks


Bookmarks

Possessed by Our Possessions: Hoarding as Pathology and Metaphor

By Diane Cole

September/October 2010


Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
By Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 290 pp. ISBN: 9780151014231

Homer & Langley: A Novel
By E. L. Doctorow
Random House. 208 pp. ISBN: 9781400064946

The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession With Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health—and a Vision for Change
By Annie Leonard
Free Press. 317 pp. ISBN: 9781439125663

Clutterers of the world (and who among us isn't, these days) unite, and lighten up your load! You have only some stuff to lose—and not just you, but the planet itself might be better off.

That's the basic message from a spate of recent books that focus on the dual perils—psychological and ecological—of compulsive consumption and obsessive accumulation. That shopping-till-you-drop and hoarding exist along a slippery spectrum is inescapably suggested by the similarity of two of these books' titles: Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by psychologists Randy Frost and Gail Steketee, and environmental activist Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession With Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health—and a Vision for Change. Leonard nails the further connection between shopping-hoarding and exhausting-junking the earth's natural resources through a…

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