Reading Wednesday -- Week 4 -- Fall 2009

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Reading Wednesday -- Week 4 -- Fall 2009

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sep 23, 2009, 7:11 am

It's hard to believe it's been four weeks since we started this book discussion series. We're a quarter of the way done! Hooray!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS -- WEEK FOUR -- Cold Comfort Farm Ch. 15 - end

1) How is life different (socially, emotionally, and physically) for each of the Starkadders and Aunt Ada Doom at the end of the book than it was at the beginning?

2) Do you believe that the changes made at Cold Comfort Farm were worth the trouble? Why or why not?

3) Do the ends justify the means for Flora's behavior?

4) JUST FOR FUN: What do you suppose Aunt Ada saw in the woodshed? (You can answer this question even if you haven't read the book. In fact, it might be quite interesting if you did!)

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Ghosty Men by Franz Lidz Ch. 1-6

Ghosty Men overlays the true stories of two families who dealt with hoarding challenges -- the famous historical story of two brothers Homer and Langley Collyer --one an engineer and one a lawyer -- from New York's Harlem and the story of the author's uncle. A number of books and articles have been written about the Collyer brothers, including two fictional novels --My Brother's Keeper by Marcia Davenport and newly released Homer & Langley: A Novel by E.L. Doctorow.

This book was chosen for this series because:

1) It's short and compelling.
2) It gives insight into the behaviors of some people who hoard.
3) It gives perspective in many ways opposite that of Flora Poste from Cold Comfort Farm.


Compulsive Hoarding is a disorder that affects up to 2 million people in the United States (according to and has been defined as the acquisition of and failure to discard items that appear to be useless or of little value according to

Hoarding has been associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, depression, and other mental disorders, but may also exist on its own.

Hoarding affects people from all races, genders, nationalities, ages and exists in all income and education levels.

According to, some signs of hoarding include:

•extreme collection and storage of items in the home and yard,
•accumulation of of combustible materials (newspapers, magazines and rubbish)
•blocked exits, doors and windows
•narrow pathways
•rat and insect infestations
•rotting food and/or used food containers.
Some other available resources about hoarding include:


Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding by David F. Tolin, Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee

Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding: Why You Save & How You Can Stop by F. Neziroglu


Hoarders on A & E- Mondays at 10pm EST

For the complete Fall 2009 Reading Schedule, please see Reading Wednesday -- Week 1.

sep 24, 2009, 5:10 pm

1) Judith got treatment for depression. The family no longer had to sneak around (since their hidden wives got to move into the home). Aunt Ada left her room -- finally! Elfine got married.

2) I believe the changes made were worth the effort, since everybody's mental and physical well-being were improved as a result. They seemed happier, less disgruntled, cleaner.

3) I found Flora to be obnoxiously self-absorbed and condescending.

4) I think Aunt Ada saw something happening with a goat and a man in the woodshed.

Overall, I found the book to be quirky. I know others I have talked to have found it to be disturbing, weird, and ridiculous. What do you think?