Every Book Has Important Ancestors

The movies, music, and books that informed my debut collection.

Jason Schwartzman
5 min readFeb 23, 2022

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No book is an island—each is made of more than our experience and imagination and sentences. Books emerge out of other books and influences that help provide a template or guide or inspiration or peer or parent. Some influences are more direct and others are subtle, but knowing what works an author is in conversation with can provide a richer reading experience. Plus, chances are, if you like one, you might like the other. Ranging from musicians and tour guides to filmmakers and authors, here are a few key creative forces that set the table for No One You Know, my nonfiction collection about encounters with strangers.

1. Aimee Mann’s songs about slippery connections

In lonelier times of my life, Aimee Mann’s songs were a kindred anthem. The micro-stories in Mann’s songs are often interpersonal, with two people psychologically circling each other. Many of her lyrics explore the trickiness of intimacy, fleetingness of connection, and…

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Jason Schwartzman

Debut book NO ONE YOU KNOW out now from Outpost19 | Founding Editor, True.Ink | Twitter: @jdschwartzman | outpost19.com/NoOneYouKnow/