Thursday, January 7, 2016

#CurrentlyReading (and Dreaming of) 'Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder' by Claudia Kalb

Goodreads Summary: "Was Andy Warhol a hoarder? Did Einstein have autism? Was Frank Lloyd Wright a narcissist? In this surprising, inventive, and meticulously researched look at the evolution of mental health, acclaimed health and science journalist Claudia Kalb gives readers a glimpse into the lives of high-profile historic figures through the lens of modern psychology, weaving groundbreaking research into biographical narratives that are deeply embedded in our culture. From Marilyn Monroe's borderline personality disorder to Charles Darwin's anxiety, Kalb provides compelling insight into a broad range of maladies, using historical records and interviews with leading mental health experts, biographers, sociologists, and other specialists. Packed with intriguing revelations, this smart narrative brings a new perspective to one of the hottest new topics in today's cultural conversation."

I got this book free, in exchange for an honest review, from's Vine program. To be perfectly honest, I chose it based on a misunderstanding. It has a chapter on Charles DARWIN, but I thought there was a chapter on Charles DICKENS. Oliver Sacks wrote in Hallucinations that Dickens had "a haunted mind" and I've been meaning to find out why.

Still, maybe it's just because I was a psychology major, but I could barely put this book down. I went to bed at 10 last night, but I stayed awake reading past 11:30.

Right before I woke up this morning, I was dreaming of a version of Romeo and Juliet, in which instead of members of warring families, the issue between the couple was that she was an "ordinary" American teenager. She was 18-19 years old, like Diana Spencer was when she got engaged to Prince Charles. Princess Diana has a chapter in Andy Warhol; she was famously a victim of bulimia nervosa.

The "Romeo" in my dream was Hugh Jackman. His rather condescending, sort of Fitzwilliam Darcy-esque dialogue made reference to the fact that he was a famous, wealthy Australian used to having servants bring him alcoholic drinks, and she didn't have money, name recognition, or staff.

(A bit of Christian Grey/Ana Steele got in there, too. I'm now on disc 15 of the 16-disc audiobook Grey. The Shakespearean bit is, no doubt, because the First Folio exhibit just opened at the University of Notre Dame, next to my birthplace of South Bend, Indiana. I intend to go visit the Folio this month.)

The plot in this dream-version of the play had to do with Hugh and his love interest finding Ron Weasley, because apparently it was also a version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J.K. Rowling isn't featured in Kalb's book, but the author has also been candid about her personal mental illness. She's a sufferer of major depressive illness, which informed her depiction of the Dementors in Harry and Ron's world.

I guess even after I put the book up and went to bed, my brain didn't want to stop reading. I wonder if my brain was clever enough to dream in accurate iambic pentameter?

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