Andrew Delbanco is a well-known historian and the author of Melville: His World and Work, a book jamessal thought enough of to give me a copy for Christmas. In short, he’s not the kind of writer I expect to find wantonly misusing words, so I was taken aback by what I thought was such a misuse in this sentence from his NY Times review of Greg Grandin’s The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World: “Grandin’s kaleidoscopic technique gives his book a certain pastiche quality (many years and miles are silently traversed in the breaks between chapters), but through a remarkable feat of research he establishes a strong narrative line that gives the book coherence and momentum.” To me, pastiche means (in the words of Merriam-Webster‘s first definition) “something (such as a piece of writing, music, etc.) that imitates the style of someone or something else,” and that didn’t make any sense here. But having looked it up, I found that the word also has the senses “a piece of writing, music, etc., that is made up of selections from different works” and “a mixture of different things,” so I now understand the sentence. But I’m wondering whether I’m alone in my limited understanding of the word, or whether the “mixture” senses are in fact uncommon. How do you understand and/or use pastiche?