In ONE MILLION MANIACS, David LeGault attempts to collect one hundred copies of the 10,000 Maniacs: Unplugged CD — a quest that frames a broader look at why we collect things and how we try to fix our lives with stuff. Each chapter uses a different collectible item and shows how we often take internal comfort with external possession. The monetary value of Beanie Babies becomes a way to talk about the death of a friend. Baseball-card expos become an entry point into his infant daughter’s hospitalization. LeGault's debut is a candid and often very funny look at how we all look for value amidst life's trash and chaos.
ONE MILLION MANIACS is for anyone with a box of Beanie Babies sitting in a storage unit, afraid to give them away because of their imagined value. It’s for anyone who’s paid the extra ten dollars for the Collector’s Edition that includes the same movie in a more elaborate box. It’s for the men and women who pay good money at comic book conventions to take a photo with the aging star of their favorite childhood show. It’s for anyone who's found a mummified cat buried under a pile of books at an estate sale. It’s for fans of Christine, Maximum Overdrive, Killdozer, or a dozen other killer car movies. ONE MILLION MANIACS is for anyone who has tried to fix their life with stuff, for anyone who has discovered the futility in such attempts.
"An essay collection that considers the practice of collection itself? Sign me up! In these essays on Pogs, vintage CDs, bathroom graffiti, and weird fandom, David LeGault bravely tours readers through the inner-workings of a mind unable to stop cataloguing, accumulating, and wanting. With refreshing candor, considerable skill, and no small amount of humor, One Million Maniacs offers a fascinating portrait of obsession in the 21st century."
- Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses and Let me Clear My Throat
"It takes a maniac like David LeGault to pry open the lids of all the boxes of our culture of accumulation and see what’s inside them. The maniac pursues long distance running, amateur competitive eating, parenting, tracking bathroom graffiti, and an obsession with the sets of defunct children’s game shows. The maniac begins to question what things are worth—media, particularly, from his perspective as CD buyer for a used bookstore chain in which he leverages his position to accumulate 100 copies of an album by 10,000 Maniacs. By the time you’re deep into this wonderfully obsessed book you too will wonder what anything is worth, really, and why we pursue, peruse, and keep it, how our stuff defiles and defies and defines us. One Million Maniacs is the result of a lifelong obsession with the glorious detritus of the culture, and it's a glorious debut."
- Ander Monson, author of Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries
At Essay Daily, Ander Monson offers an early, extended preview: "LeGault's book is an exercise in obsession. It's also about obsession, and is alternately hyper perceptive and pleasingly dorky about its subject matter. . . Collecting, as any even half-assed collector will tell you, becomes quickly a very powerful compulsion, almost erotic in its pursuit and payoff as a collection builds and crests and nears completion. . ." - Read more.
"Princess," the commemorative Princess Diana Beanie Baby bear, first edition, royal violet with lace around her throat, a white rose over her heart, currently lists on eBay in upwards of three-hundred fifty-thousand dollars. . ."