Author Tao Lin's rapid ascent into the realm of literary celebrity over the past four years, coupled with the seemingly constant threat to his career's stability that he himself fuels with gimmick-driven, narcissistic self-promotion, are entertaining for the chuckling masses of well-informed blog readers and lit junkies to observe in various forms on the internet. But these aspects of his life and the polarized quality of his growing mythos are only small fractions of what are worth gleaning from Tao Lin's never-ending stream of memetic output, because he is also a fantastic writer.

His latest release into the physically world as opposed to the digital is the autobiographical novella, 'Shoplifting From American Apparel', a thorough and thoroughly entertaining look into the life of Sam, a New York-based author, wandering through a clusterfuck of daily human interaction, while maintaining a sort of cognizance of what is going on in the context of time passing at a definite pace. The novella is full of the main character’s passionless advances through life and conveys an appreciative sense of the sadness and beauty offered a meager, intuition-guided youth of 'the fucked generation'.

Author, Tao Lin, drinking champagne.

The book is an easy read that I have managed to get through fully, twice, and skimmed over repeatedly to grasp clever minutia amidst the relative insanity of the narrative. My favorite part includes a day trip to Atlantic City, in which Sam wins eight hundred dollars, and then voluntarily loses all but twenty to save for a steak dinner he, with his vegan sensibility and awareness of how ‘shitty’ he might feel after, doesn’t buy. The book is full of moments worth reading and re-imagining using one’s knowledge of the author and the intrigue of his celebrity, while it is also excruciatingly precise in its narrative structure, and thus, worth its weight in poetic substance. I enjoyed reading ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ both times, and loaned it to a friend yesterday, who despite his many obligations to school and his girlfriend, has already read halfway through it.

To purchase 'Shoplifting', either visit The Tao Lin Store
Or increase his rating on Amazon by buying it for substantially cheaper here.

Tao Lin's Official Website


  1. when did tao turn into a white hipster? another gimmick maybe? hehe.

  2. pretty sure that's not tao lin, new google image search required.

    good article, however.

  3. nice review

    nice polo tao

  4. the only thing worse than reading the work of tao lin and his talentless stable of copycats is reading the work of a talentless copycat who wasn't, isn't and never will be allowed into the above-mentioned stable.

    ("flattery gets you nowhere" - my uncle)

    guess what group you belong to? go ahead; take a guess, little sailor.

    please? :*-(

  5. he read through it halfway because most of the pages are empty.
    it seems unfortunate that tao lin can either only copy and paste or write repeatedly the same banal curse words and apathetic adjectives.

    i'm sure as a writer, before being poisoned by this brand of 'alternative' literature, you may have actually had some mild talent.

    your ability to mimick such a worthless style of writing is impeccable and should be commended

  6. cool review.

    Zachary German pic is funny.