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

The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem
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's review
Jul 01, 2012

liked it
Read from June 15 to July 12, 2012

As should probably be expected from a 450-ish page collection of mostly pretty short essays, the quality in this book varied. The title essay, "The Ecstasy of Influence" (it's available online) is a fantastic exploration of plagiarism/influence and hypocrisy, and I found almost all of Lethem's essays on books enjoyable. The stuff about his time as a bookstore clerk confirmed my long-held fear that bookstore clerks really are as judgmental as they seem. The sci-fi and postmodernism stuff was interesting, too. A lot of the music and film stuff didn't quite manage to hold my interest (notable exception: "The Drew Barrymore stories", a short piece, which was delightful).

So, reading this: worthwhile, but skip over the stuff that doesn't interest you, and be aware that if you start finding Lethem annoyingly self-serving, you probably tried to read too much at once.

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