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Tao Lin Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Shoplifting from American Apparel (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

You Are a Little Bit Happier Than I Am (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bed (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Selected Tweets (With: Mira González) (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

State of the Union(2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Where You Are of Maps That Will Leave You Feeling Completely Lost(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pets: An Anthology(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Tao Lin
Tao Lin is an American novelist, short-story writer, and poet. He is best known for his thought-provoking novels, Taipei, Eeeee Eee Eeee, and Shoplifting from American Apparel. You Are a Little Bit Happier Than I Am, his poetry collection, won the Actions Books’ December Prize in 2005. Other outstanding works by this author include Alternate-Universe Nightmare novella and Cognitive-behavioral Therapy poems collection. All his work is written in the precise way of modern literature where few words tell more, and you can read the message between the pauses.

Taipei tells the story of Paul, a man lost in the modern world. It has been twenty minutes since Paul began refreshing his Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Tumblr. The continuous cycle has been ongoing for hours, and he finally realizes that it is 4.46 PM. He thought it was about mid-morning since he had not taken note of the countless hours spent on the internet, but the day was almost over. Throughout this story, you will be following Paul as he navigates literary and art scenes in Manhattan. You will also accompany him to Taipei, Taiwan, where he will be confronting his roots. As these events unfold, you will get to see one relationship fail while another one blooms on the internet only to end with an unexpected wedding in Vegas.

This is an uncompromising story about love, memory, and being alive. The story will pull you into awkward conversations and scenarios. You will find confusion in almost every sentence, so do not be surprised if you like Paul on one page only to hate him on the next. In the protagonist’s world, computer screens and cell phones are the only realities, and people prefer to send each other text messages than have honest conversations. The characters in the story are also addicted to prescription drugs. While the narrator’s mum is aware of his drug-abusing ways, she will not say a word because she fears that her son will punish her and refuse to send his monthly email to her. You cannot help but feel this mum’s sadness and helplessness in this situation and wish her son would make better choices.

One of the biggest lessons in this story is that no one can master the art of relating to others. We are all different and complex beings, and it is impossible to be exclusively content with one person. However, we all can try to appreciate what we have. It is incredible how the author draws you into Paul’s world and makes you relate to him. You may not be on drugs or in-between relationships, but there is something about this book that makes you look inwards as you try to understand Paul’s predicament and choices. Is Paul a reflection of what technology and modern life have turned people into?
Taipei is an exciting yet unique story about life in modern times. The protagonist is like any millennial going through the motions of daily life without giving a lot of thought to his action. One thing that stands out is how disconnected Paul is from those around him. However, he spends countless hours on different social platforms looking for connections. He is also quite specific about small details and doesn’t seem to have empathy or any emotions. However, the two-page history on Paul makes it clear where he is coming from. This book is unique, and it does not follow the usual rhythm. However, if you read it with an open mind, you will find the story refreshing.

Shoplifting from American Apparel
Shoplifting from American Apparel is an autobiographical novella that takes you on a trip to Atlanta, Brooklyn, Florida, and Gainsville. In this novella, you will be following a young man named Sam, who will be wandering through life with no goals or any sense of direction. Sure, Sam does show up for his vegan restaurant job, go to parties, and at times shoplift from American apparel, but it is like he is on autopilot. Probably because he has no goals, Sam is often depressed. He is also not so good with people, so even his relationships fail a few times. Is there any hope for this young man?

As you get deeper into the story, you will see how the protagonist is driven by his failures and successes in his art, finances, morals, and relationships. His life is somehow chaotic, as he is lonely at times and depressed the other minute. The other characters are intriguing, and there is something funny and awkward about them that will keep you reading. Like the characters in this book, humanity comprises awkward individuals with their fair share of shortcomings. However, we all get our moments to shine and show the world what we are made of.

From his writing, it is clear that Tao Lin is a talented writer. It is amazing how he writes about ordinary occurrences and makes them sound mundane in his writing. His writing style is unique and goes against the rules of grammar, but it is impactful. You will enjoy the precise and minimal sentences that are easy to read but must have been complicated to write. Since this novella is slightly over 100 pages, you can gobble it all in one sitting. The ending is fantastic and will leave you yearning for more of this contemporary writing.

Shoplifting from American Apparel is a good read if you are looking for something different. The author’s brilliance shines through on every page of the intruging story. In this novella, you will be meeting a young man who seems to be just existing. He has zero goals or anything to keep him going. You will also be reading about vague relationships, shoplifting arrests, and everything in between. Through the characters in this story, the author explores class, arts, and culture. In the current world, most of the population is trying hard to live a good life and find happiness in something. The protagonist in this novella is not any different.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Tao Lin

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