Tomorrow my review of Jonathan Lethem's "The Disappointment Artist" will run in the S.F. Chronicle Book Review. You can read it now by clicking on the above link. I just did, and I'm surprised, as I often am, to see a record of what I thought about a piece of cultural writing. In my review I hint at how Lethem really helps establish the personal culture essay as a pulsing, worthy form, and though the argument arrives in passing, I'd say it's the most important part of the thought process Lethem's book inspired in me. Where can you read personal culture essays anymore? You can read critical reviews written in a literary manner (oh, if I had just another $.50/word for the amount of times an editor had stricken my personal experiences from a piece about a work of art). You can certainly read personal essays about life experiences in all types in magazines (though even they are becoming more and more rare). But seldom now is it that you can find an essay about a writer interested in examining him or herself through the culture he or she consumes, studies, enjoys. The revelation makes me sad, for that's in part what I wanted to do with my writing from the get-go.