Librarian review: Andy Warhol was a hoarder : inside the minds of history’s great personalities

From Andrea Kalinowski

Author: Claudia Kalb

Title:   Andy Warhol was a hoarder : inside the minds of history’s great personalities

Andy Warhol was a hoarder: inside the minds of history’s great personalities by Claudia Kalb was a book which, as the title implies, focused on the possible mental defects of some of the world’s top personalities. Marilyn Monroe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Andy Warhol, Christine Jorgensen, and Albert Einstein were among the celebrities being discussed in view of possessing some mental illness or defect. It is too late to know for sure but Claudia Kalb examines some of the celebrities’ actions through the lens of mental illness.

Christine Jorgensen was one of the first individuals to undergo sex reassignment surgery. In the course of the Christine Jorgensen chapter, Claudia mentions that homosexuality was once viewed as a mental illness or defect. It has since been removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, one must remember that, as our understanding of both the mental and physical components of human beings is honed, definitions and diagnoses are often retooled and refined.

Albert Einstein, according to Claudia, was on the autism spectrum continuum. Autism affects proportionately more men and boys than women and girls. It is, she suggests, closely aligned with a gift for mathematics and/or science since the individuals thus blessed/cursed seem to be able to focus their mind. This book was an enjoyable, mind-opening read and a sometimes entertaining glimpse into the personalities of great people.


Librarian review: A mother’s reckoning : living in the aftermath of tragedy

From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Sue Klebold
Title:   A mother’s reckoning : living in the aftermath of tragedy

“I am tired of being strong. I can’t be strong anymore. I can’t face or do anything. I’m lost in a deep chasm of sorrow. I have 17 phone messages and don’t have the energy to listen to them. Dylan’s room is just as the law enforcement people left it, and I can’t face putting it in order,” this was Sue Klebold’s journal entry of May 1999. In A mother’s reckoning: living in the aftermath of tragedy by Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan discusses the issues which brought Dylan to the point of committing the Columbine shooting.

Sue Klebold is boldly honest in this thought-provoking book which is partly memoir and partly exhortation to view our loved ones, most especially our pre-teens and teens, as vulnerable to brain health issues. Sue would further like to change the terminology “mental health” to “brain health” as she sees this as a way of removing the stigmatization associated with individuals suffering mental disease. Sue hopes that with this change, people would view the brain as just another organ and, therefore, follow a regular health routine of continuous wellness checks. In hindsight, she recognizes signs which she attributed to normal teen behavior as being indicative of depression such as excessive sleep, irritability, etc. She does not use this as an excuse for Dylan’s behavior. Sue maintains throughout her memoir that Dylan, even though he should have been in treatment, had choices and that he made disastrous ones. Once I started this memoir, I could not tear myself away from its pages.