Jonathan Lethem’s essays reveal surprising influences on his fiction. By Stuart Kelly. National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A New York Times Notable Book A Best Book of the Year —Austin American-Statesman Includes a new, previously. The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc. (Vintage Contemporaries) [Jonathan Lethem] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. National Book.

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The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Ecstasy of Influence: And, writing about Brooklyn, his father, and his sojourn through two decades of writing, Lethem sheds an equally strong light on himself.

Hardcoverpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Ecstasy of Influenceplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Ecstasy of Influence. Lists with This Book. Jan 14, Greg rated it really liked it Shelves: This book sparked a few different emotions in me. Some of them good, like a reminder about why I love books so much, and some not so ‘nice’, like the recharging of the ‘punk’ part of me that used to write zines and point accusatory fingers at things that annoy me.

Many of the essays in this book mix the borders between the personal and the real subject at hand. This is sort of like what DFW does so well but in a more introspective manner, DFW might have laid bare an image of his psyche, but he This book sparked a few different emotions in me.

This is sort of like what DFW does so well but in a more introspective manner, DFW might have laid bare an image of his psyche, but he never seemed to drag out all of his old skeletons and his life out into the open, Lethem doesand what is probably something that can be traced back to the ‘new journalism’ of the ‘s and has a rich pedigree of Tom Wolfe’s and Joan Didion’s and all of that, but which for me because I didn’t know these people back then when my own tastes were being initially shaped, or if I did I only knew them as names with no context to attach to them, I can’t remember I just lied.

Norb of MRRhe constructed whole monthly columns filled with glorious asides nested within nested parentheses and I have no idea who influenced him but he was my original influence in the wonders of breaking a text with multiple streams midstream, seventeen years after first reading one of his columns I’m still playing at copying him, the footnote would come a little later to me and while it can serve the same function it is not nearly as in your face as an annoying series of parentheses am I in one now?

AVT Summary of ‘The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism’

Shit I have to go back and check nope I’m notI mean you can just skip going to a footnote, but if you want to try to read this review you’ll have to navigate these asides. I understand if no one actually does navigate them. My own influences since this is a book of influences the ones you don’t hear mentioned very often outside of certain zine-centric worlds or maybe in indie publishing are were Cometbusand Ben Weasel, the above mentioned Rev.

This is the panoply of voices that shaped my own first attempts at writing. All the fancy ‘real’ authors would come later. As my friend Ben not goodreads Ben, but Ben whose last name I don’t know, it’s kind of amazing how many people from my punk days I don’t know the last names of from the Disenchanted the band I saw more than any other band ever, I saw them something like thirty or forty times, they literally played almost every Albany DIY show for a couple of years, and my own band played almost every one of our shows with themsaid the last time I saw him over ten years ago at a Locust show at ABC No Rio and I asked him what th was up to, he said that his new band was going to be different from The Disenchanted, letehm thank yous and less fuck yous”, Ecstas wish I jomathan get to the point where there were more thank yous ecstasu fuck yous, and consider this first part of the review my own thank yous to influences, but my own influences always have a ecstxsy you ready to explode as an almost moral imperative.

This book has made me think leyhem a bit about my own influences, about what made me and how I go about writing my reviews since I don’t even entertain the notion anymore of doing any writing besides ranting in reviews on the internet. Without anymore pre-review nonsense, here is the review and inevitably more jknathan nonsense. The author I really really like one of Jonathan Lethem’s jonatthan.


I like another one. And the few others I’ve read have done very little for me. I haven’t read most of his newer work, you can go to my bookshelves to see what I’ve read, if you’re interested. Lethem has a previous and much shorter collection of essays called The Disappointment ArtistI think that’s a fairly apt title for something of his, he’s not one of those writers that is always knocking it out of the park.

He falls down and rcstasy readers get to see it happen. A probably un-apt comparison that I’ve been working with in my head while reading this book is that Lethem is like DFW’s over-excitable little brother.

He’s got some of the same sensibilities but it’s rawer and feels less mediated. For all of DFW’s brutal honesty and introspection you know deep down that you are seeing exactly the DFW that he wanted you to see, it might have been close to his real person, but lsthem was also a very crafted lens you were you looking at him through. Lethem has that same honesty but you get the feeling reading him that he has no problem just blurting shit out even though you know that it’s also mediated, it’s just not kf constructed Lethem is a giant nerd.

And one of the things about nerds is that they have no problem waving their nerd flag around, showing the world exactly what they love even if it’s not something very cool to be interested in, never mind to love with devotion.

He’s a book nerd who loves his sci-fi, but also ectsasy his post-moderns, and his lesser known all-stars like Dawn Powell “With too many uniformly lavish editions, the lrthem reader, wading in, is at the mercy of dumb luck. This happens a lot. Steerforth Press, meaning well, has made it as likely that a reader curious about Dawn Powell will come out of a bookstore clutching the glum early volumes set in Ohio or the misfiring The Happy Islandas that they’ll snag Turn, Magic Wheel or The Locusts have No King.

Will that reader try twice? Estasy the gorgeous jackets, flawed books jostle beside the masterpieces and Hartley. He’s a music nerd.

He’s a movie nerd. Aside from some of his book nerd tendencies, he and I I think move in different worlds of nerdom when it comes to music his being much more mainstream for my tastesand I just have never been able to sustain enough interest in movies to move from a casual watcher of films to being someone who could get worked up over certain works. He’s also an ex-bookstore clerk, putting in more ten plus years on the job and sharing some of the stories to go along with his tour of duty “After all, didn’t every novelist work as a clerk in a bookstore until they’d published their first book?

This book is a testament to the different things that Jonatahn loves. And he loves to gush and his gushing is infectious. It’s also a chronicle of himself as jonatan tries to figure himself out in various pieces of writing. He comes across as very honest, although what he says could be a momentary belief that’s liable to change. The Book Is good. It’s tedious to read too many occasional pieces at a time though. Sort of like it’s tedious to read too ecstaasy short stories at a time for me, and it’s why I generally don’t read too many short story collections or essay collections.

Only one piece so far te a real snooze-fest, and it actually put the brakes on this book for me infouence over a week. The story ended up not being as terrible as it seemed at first, and the book picked up again right after it and it’s been pretty smooth sailing ever since, although the sheer number of little essays is a little overwhelming and for some reason I never want to inflluence up the book when I’m in my apartment.

The Review Not the review for this book, but The Review in general. Reading this book has put me in a very self-aware mindset, thinking about my own work pathetic that I consider my unedited book reviews on a website as my ‘work’, yes I knowand it’s inspired in me a bit of a desire to self-flaggelate or at least pull back the curtain on my own thoughts about reviewing. Most of this I’ve probably said in other reviews, but maybe not.

I can’t remember what I’ve actually written and what I meant to write and never did. I don’t like book reviews.

For someone who reads as much as I do, and considers himself to be a booknerd and is pretty up on the current state of the book world, I almost never ever od read professional book reviews.

They are boring to me. Actually, I think they are bullshit. When some pompous twit can only tell me that it was a inf,uence reviewed two weeks ago in the New York Times and then gives some condescending look when I have no idea which book they are talking about, it doesn’t bother me ok, this rarely happens, but it happened right before Christmas and I wanted to laugh at the man and tell him I don’t give a shit what the NYTBR says about anything, I didn’t though, and it turned out to not even be a book, but an essay that wasn’t about any particular book and trying to explain this to the man was a failure and he called me some name and I said something back to him, and you’re the dumb ass who can’t understand what he read.


I don’t give a fuck what Michiko Kakutani thinks about a book. If anything her praise is a sign that the book might be something I’d rather not read. And I don’t care to read some novelist ‘reviewing’ jerking off a influemce novelist’s friend’s book. It’s all lnfluence polite.

I also don’t like infpuence reports.

I don’t like someone reiterating a plot to me. I don’t like someone possibly ruining the unfolding a plot by a childish, this happened and then ,ethem happened and then this happened.

I don’t like boring book reviews, and I generally don’t like being told by a reviewer if they would recommend the book or not. I can usually tell if you they liked the book and if they would recommend it by what they have said I’m guilty of this also, but I still can’t figure out how to write a book review for a book I love that gets my enjoyment across.

I also don’t like too many gimmicks and I hate hate hate boilerplate formulaic reviews I especially hate hate hate hate hate boilerplate formulaic gimmicky reviews.

For example there is one reviewer who I’ll admit that I found a few of his reviews ecdtasy at first, but they now have the appeal of a long-running and tired sitcom re-hashing the same tired old jokes and stale structure. They are boilerplate dribble, and worse than that they are filled with tired gimmicks that feel as fresh as the jokes a tiresome uncle repeats every Thanksgiving.

I will grant influenc they are mechanically better written than any of my reviews, but that’s not saying much, most reviews on here are technically better written than mine. I’m a swamp of bad grammar and awful syntax.

Now that I’ve pointed out some things I hate, I’ll also point out that I’m guilty of just about everything I hate jonathwn for writing professional book reviews, I’d be willingly guilty of this, ecstazy but I doubt the NYTBR would ever come knocking on my door. But, I like to think that I give a fair amount of thought to my reviews and their lack of? I don’t like writing the same review over and over again. It bores me, and why would I do this if it was boring to me?

Writing book reports bore me, so I don’t do it. Oof, still I keep feeling the urge to write these very long winded ‘reviews’, which I think of more as an extended personal narrative than individual reviews. I think of my own reviews more as a diary that I write jonzthan an audience that I believe has actually read every single one of the entries and is just able to lethdm the progression of ramblings and ojnathan I spit out.

I treat my own reviews sort of as a journal of what I’ve thought about what I’ve read, even if what I’ve thought about might have very little to do with the books themselves but might only be tangentially related to something in a book. I like reviews that are honest, that give away more about the author of the review than the book.

I like to read how the book affected someone. I like to see them get angry or genuinely bubble over with excitement I don’t care to see that every book you read is a highest possible recommendation, but maybe some people are just better than influeence at picking only winners, Vegas must be great for people with that kind of skillbut that being said I can’t stand reviews that judge other readers for liking something that they don’t like guilty guilty guilty, I judge all the time, but I try to keep an open mind that others can like what they like without blanket accusations, I probably hate some of my own reviews.

Does all of this say much about reviews or maybe say more about what reviews I vote for and don’t vote for? I actually don’t vote for a lot of reviews because I never see them. I’m an awful goodreader who is bogged down constantly by the jonatha of material being thrown at him. Wrapping up If you’ve actually waded through all this muck, thank you! I should return to the book at hand, yes?

It’s a good book and it’s a wonderful portrait of Lethem with all well not all I’m sure, but quite a infulence of his warts being put on display.