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Read This: Sawyer, Mirrors, Hoarders

In 1947, a policeman sifts through rubble in the Collyer mansion. (Photos By Tom Watson -- New York Daily News)

Good afternoon, everyone. We're still reeling from Levi Johnston's Vanity Fair tell-all, but Michael Dirda reminds of something just as, if not more, compelling -- the Collyer brothers:

Eccentric, reclusive and at least half crazy, the two resided in a huge New York brownstone in Harlem that they had inherited from their gynecologist father. Over the course of their lives, Homer and Langley gradually packed every room and the back yard with newspapers and cast-off junk. Eventually, only narrow passageways connected the brothers' burrowlike living areas. When a booby-trapped tunnel collapsed onto Langley, he was crushed and suffocated, while his trapped brother, who was blind, slowly starved to death. Officials claim that they removed 100 tons of refuse from the building.

These real-life characters are the subjects of "Homer & Langley," a new historical novel by E.L. Doctorow.

Elsewhere in Style: Howie Kurtz on Diane Sawyer's move to the anchor chair. Blake Gopnik interprets Dan Graham. And more on the faux-adulterer stunt pushed by Kane of 99.5 FM.

By The Reliable Source  |  September 3, 2009; 12:11 PM ET
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