Al's Reviews > The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc.

The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem
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Nov 18, 2011

liked it
Read from November 18 to December 06, 2011

I'm not sure why I read this? I mean, ok, there are two reasons why I read it: 1) Because he's writing a book for the 33 1/3 series about Talking Heads' Fear of Music, and 2) Because I watched a bonus feature on the Criterion edition of Bigger Than Life of him talking about the film and really liked what he had to say. However, I haven't read any of his books, which, though only occasionally addressed specifically, hover in the background of this entire endeavor. I read almost the whole thing - I only skipped pieces about Bob Dylan and Brooklyn, both things about which I am not so interested and have heard plenty already - which seems sort of silly in retrospect. I don't know. Anyway, as an odds-&-sods sort of compendium of (mostly) non-fiction writing, it was scattershot and uneven. But it's not like I could have skipped around and only read the good things! (Actually, maybe I could have. In the introduction he offers strategies for doing just that.) BUT within he does things like address the anxieties of reading and of trying to read (or see, or hear) everything, with which I am familiar. There were a few moments where he came across as a guy I might really "get", and where he hit on something or other that I feel is an essential truth, or a clue regarding an essential truth, about myself or life in general. So what I'm saying is that sometimes I could "relate to it". Three stars for "liked it" because there were some things I liked and a lot of things I was ambivalent about, not unlike an episode of MTV's Room Raiders.
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