I've got three books going at the moment – actually, I've been reading the same books for several weeks now. I'm trying to train myself to read one book at a time, as I really think that's the most sensible way of handling things: start a book, read it right to the end, then start another. See how nice and regular that sounds? But I keep backsliding.
The book I'm reading today (I'm determined to finish it tonight) is E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley. It's a novel based on the lives of the Collyer brothers, New York City's notorious hoarders who lived together in a boarded up brownstone filled with massive stacks of newspapers, broken furniture, bits of machinery, and other paraphernalia the brothers had "collected" over the years. After the two men were found dead in their home in 1947, more than a hundred tons of garbage were hauled away by the authorities.
The Collyers have been the subject of other fictions over the years, but Doctorow's has probably made the biggest splash. So far, I'm enjoying it quite a lot. I love his imagining of a reason for Langley's newspaper collecting mania, his ". . . collection of the daily papers with the ultimate aim of creating one day's edition of a newspaper that could be read forevermore as sufficient to any day thereof."
He would run out for all the morning papers, and in the afternoon for the evening papers, and then there were the business papers, the sex gazettes, the freak sheets, the vaudeville papers, and so on. He wanted to fix American life finally in one edition, what he called Collyer's eternally current dateless newspaper, the only newspaper anyone would ever need. [pp. 48-49]Yes, it's OCD at its most rampant, but I can see how it would be a very satisfying endeavor. And, yes, I've got hoarding in my genetic makeup, too. They used to just call us pack rats!
Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, maybe I should stop reading for a while and do something about those boxes of old magazines that seem to be building up in the corners here. Before someone has to break into this place and dig me out from under a ton or so of old New Yorkers and Metropolitan Homes!