Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A. The Journal of Albion Moonlight Hangsaman Mumbo Jumbo Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A. The Transit of Venus Mumbo Jumbo
Mumbo Jumbo Speedboat Speedboat The Journal of Albion Moonlight Jeeves in the Offing Hangsaman Jeeves in the Offing
Jeeves in the Offing Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A. Hangsaman The Transit of Venus Mumbo Jumbo Speedboat The Journal of Albion Moonlight
The Transit of Venus The Transit of Venus Hangsaman Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A. Jeeves in the Offing Speedboat The Journal of Albion Moonlight

James Greer: Books I Totally Ripped Off in Writing Bad Eminence

By And Other Stories

By And Other Stories
Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A.

Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A.

Eve Babitz

$16.95 $15.76

An influence in reverse: because I could never write about Los Angeles as well as Eve Babitz did here and elsewhere, I decided at least for this book not to write about Los Angeles, despite knowing more about that city than any other. But there are elements of Eve's persona in my character V, whether I like it or not. (I do!)

Hangsaman

Hangsaman

Shirley Jackson

$16.00 $14.88

Could have picked any Shirley Jackson novel, but since I used a bit from this one for my epigraph, it seemed the best choice for this list. But I've stolen more from (and admire more ardently) We Have Always Lived in the Castle, tbh.

The Journal of Albion Moonlight

The Journal of Albion Moonlight

Kenneth Patchen

$17.95

A too-little-read masterpiece of fiercely pacificist, jazz-inflected prose poetry. I first read it when I was maybe twelve, and didn't understand a single line. I've returned to it over and over again through the years, and Patchen's surrealist visions and rhythms have been so thoroughly picked over by my subconscious that I can't point to a particular instance of deliberate theft, but it's there, I'm certain.

Speedboat

Speedboat

Renata Adler

$14.95 $13.90

A great and funny and incredibly smart book that I have stolen from in ways both covert and overt.

Mumbo Jumbo

Mumbo Jumbo

Ishmael Reed

$17.00 $15.81

The possibilities of parody and non-narrative fiction have rarely been better explored than in this book. Also, its use of photos and illustrations predates/prefigures W. G. Sebald's more "serious" (in scare quotes like robot claws) use in his, uh, "work." And "mine."

The Transit of Venus

The Transit of Venus

Shirley Hazzard

$18.00 $16.74

I wish I could write as elegantly and beautifully as Ms. Hazzard in this, her finest book, one of the greatest works of art in the past fifty years. I did my best. I would kill to adapt this book for the screen. Who would I kill? You, for rolling your eyes at me.

Jeeves in the Offing

Jeeves in the Offing

P. G. Wodehouse

$19.95

There are more than a few Woosterian tics sprinkled throughout my novel. Bonus prize for those catching outright theft: a warm glow of self-satisfaction, if self-satisfaction is the word I want.