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Et Tu, Mark

TOWER GROVE — In the wilderness of read, half-read and unread books that are piling up on and all around the bookshelves of my office, I found this morning a thumbed-over copy of a book that I abused in college: Et Tu, Babe by Mark Leyner. I’ve read stories of writers, like Hunter S. Thompson, who would retype their favorite books to get a feel for how sentences created rhythm, momentum, and the changes in tempo that powered a story. Judging by the dog ears in the book and Post-It notes that fell out of it when I pulled it off the shelf, that’s what I did with Et Tu. Guess that says a lot about what I was thinking at the time. I read some of the pages right out of the binding, apparently, and recently realized a quote from the book has been taped to my desk for, oh, about 18 years now.

The book is a runaway fever dream, complete with psychedelic passages and Corporate America lunacy. It centers on an author so famous that a coffee table book is created out of photos of him lounging nude on top of the Team Leyner offices — photos taken by a spy satellite. At one point he seeks out the high he could get from snorting a “vial of Lincoln’s morning breath” that is held at

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Filed under books mark leyner tom wolfe journalism writing