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Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever: Stories

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  738 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews

Justin Taylor's crystalline, spare, and oddly moving prose cuts to the quick. His characters are guided by misapprehensions that bring them to hilarious but often tragic impasses with reality: a high school boy's desire to win over a crush leads him to experiment with black magic, a fast-food employee preoccupied by Abu Ghraib becomes obsessed with a coworker, a Tetris pl

Paperback, 185 pages
Published February 9th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published February 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mar 22, 2010 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
Yo, Justin! Over here, dude.

Sorry to have to tell you this, bro. I was happy to overlook the obvious points working against you - the quintessential hipster bio, that disturbing glint of naked ambition in your jacket photo, the cover puff quote by a former talent gone seriously awry (Padgett Powell*), the information that you are working on your first novel and that you live in Brooklyn. Because everyone deserves a chance, so I gave you one.

But you blew it, bro. Big time. Turns out you had absol
Larry Hoffer
Apr 09, 2012 Larry Hoffer rated it really liked it
I'm becoming more and more a fan of short story collections than ever before. It's funny—what I used to find most problematic about short stories, the fact that I would get invested in characters only to have to give them up within a few pages, I'm starting to enjoy more and more. A good short story collection really gives you insight into many memorable characters and situations, and while there are certain stories you wish to be longer, the collection is often like a buffet—sometimes there ...more
Nov 15, 2011 Derek rated it really liked it
To be honest, I'm a bit shocked by the amount of Goodreads ire directed at Justin Taylor's excellent short story collection, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever. The complaints of solipsism (or, worse yet, that this is merely a "hipster" book) strike me as ill-placed, and inaccurate anyway.

I mean, I get it: you can't write a book that references Will Oldham and the Silver Jews and freegans (and, let's face it, be twenty-seven years old at the time of publication) and not get a handful of peop
Nov 24, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, shortstory
I'm still reading these because I don't read a book of short stories the way I read a novel. (I will say that while I'm reading, it's hard not to go on to the next story as if it were the next chapter.) These stories are so vivid, I feel like I'm falling into Harry Potter's pensieve when I start one, and I come out startled and not sure where I am. I checked the book out from the library weeks ago, and I just can't bring myself to turn it in until I finish it.
Aug 12, 2010 Ashley rated it did not like it
Pretentious (and not in the way I like). The author notably inserts vocabulary such as the "freegan" in one of his stories, in what comes across largely as an attempt to show how cool he is (in that ironic, understated way). Ugh. The loosely constructed stories didn't seem to have a point, but I kept reading, hopeful that the next one would be better. No? Well, maybe the next one, until I'd finished the book and realized I'd wasted a good deal of the afternoon.

I'm all for listening to undergroun
Feb 24, 2010 Lori rated it liked it
Review copy

I sat down this morning to start ANOTHER collection of short stories, this one from author Justin Taylor. After completing it just a short 16 hours later, I was forced to admit two things: One, that I can really do some damage when I buckle down and focus on reading. Two, that I am also starting to enjoy short stories.

They are short and sweet. They get right to the point. There are no long-winded, uninteresting side-stories that pull you unwillingly away from the main plot. They don't
Mike Young
Feb 11, 2010 Mike Young rated it really liked it
Openhearted like open all night, honest and going for it. Stories of the admittedly carbonated and flavored by corn syrup, but unapologetic and casting for a durable humanity, a huggable faith.
May 26, 2010 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
"She was worrying that the oak tree might come through her ceiling, wood obliterating wood, like a miracle running backward" (2).
"The shallow hole was surrounded by salvaged chairs and shaded by a blue canvas canopy they'd stolen from some resort because property was always already theft anyway, and plus they had really wanted that canopy" (17).
"Not having cable wasn't a statement. Maybe the statement was being made by the people who paid out a monthly portion of their slave wages for endless in
I feel like I owe this a review? I felt shy about doing one at the time I read it (September '10), but here we go:
I read almost every story twice. This collection is great, and for those who are skeptical of my biases, I read this before that and it blew me away, so there. My favorite story in EHITBTE, and one of my favorite (favorite seems weird to say about things that are good because they make you uncomfortable, so let's say one of the best) stories I've read anywhere, is "Jewels Flashing in
Amanda Davidson
Jul 03, 2013 Amanda Davidson rated it really liked it
Read this on the recommendation of a friend--first encounter: found and read two stories from the collection online. Thought: he's taking everything he has and flinging it at the page! Exciting, vital, honest, a punk analysis that was inside and outside that point of view all at once, a suburban perspective that was similarly (and queasily) compassionate and ridiculous. Gave me vital feeling of wanting to get it all down, all my own clashing, ridiculous, serious, contradictory worlds. Wonder if ...more
Hannah Messler
Apr 28, 2013 Hannah Messler rated it really liked it
This is my 500th Goodreads book! And it is a good one. It's got that stripped down quality I like to find in short fiction, that nice low Carvery hum--matter of fact and yet not immune to beauty, a cool little cage of oddities and sadnesses and brutalities and accidents and disappointments. If you were a teenage Floridian who got fucked up too much like a dirtball or mini sociopath junior because everything was boring and weird and then you moved to New York and just tried to get fucked up like ...more
Jeff Talbott
Mar 09, 2010 Jeff Talbott rated it liked it
Here's where I wish goodreads had a half-star - this is more than a 3-star book, but it's not a 4-star-er... This collection of shorts from an incredibly talented twenty-seven year old shows so much promise that it almost carries you over the spots where you can't help but notice yourself reading a twenty-seven year old's first collection of shorts. Writing with a spare, slective pen, Justin Taylor could turn out to be a major voice - even in the most lackadaisical of the stories here he can ...more
Apr 01, 2010 Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
This is probably more like a 3-star book, but it's my own attitude that takes off another star; I've reached the end of my rope with it. If you're wondering what people mean when they derisively refer to "MFA fiction," look no further than this book. All the hallmarks are here: A lot of promising stories peter off into abstraction and irony, that tendency to flip the switch just when a story is moving into genuine emotion, and the obvious homages to our postmodern forefathers (Barthelme, in this ...more
Mar 03, 2010 April rated it liked it
Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever by Justin Taylor, besides being a book with an incredibly long title, is a collection of short stories, basically about hipsters being unemployed doing unglamourous things. The book is small, topping off at 185 pages. The stories are gritty. Some I related with and some I did not.
Read the rest of my review here
Bill Hsu
Mar 01, 2015 Bill Hsu rated it really liked it
I'm pretty amused that some of the other reviewers complain about not liking the characters, or the reviews on the back cover. I don't have to like either to enjoy a book.

Justin Taylor's sense of timing in some of the stories is just amazing. And he usually leaves out just enough.

Oct 07, 2011 Sarah rated it did not like it
Recommended to Sarah by: HTML Giant
Shelves: short-stories
More like: Everything Here Is the Most Tiresome Thing Ever. A lot of the stories seemed like parodies of something by Raymond Carver. Parodies, though, that make you want to flush this book down the toilet.
glasses like clark kent
Apr 09, 2010 glasses like clark kent rated it did not like it
Sep 05, 2011 Theresa added it
Shelves: 2011
Not to be a hater but if these stories can get published, then so can yours.
Sep 24, 2016 Ferdinand rated it liked it
The first collection of short stories by Justin Taylor is not a collection about hipsters. There is not a single hipster in fact. What you will find here, however, are gritty stories about marginal youth, each one of them struggling in some form or other, be it in dysfunctional relationships, with their families or American society at large. Most of the characters here are not nice people, I think it's safe to say that majority of them are assholes. The writer does have the ability to write ...more
Bri  Ahearn
Oct 27, 2010 Bri Ahearn rated it liked it
Justin Taylor’s debut collection of stories seems to be guided by some universal list of all things hipster and disaffected. The Pixies are namechecked, we’re treated to the namedropping of Trotsky and Derrida. The fifteen stories are the lives of young Floridians and Manhattanities, endlessly aimless, and oblivious to the world beyond them.

It’s such a package of hipsterism that the collection itself nearly becomes meta, the epitome of Taylor’s description of Hot Topic packaging the conformist l
Jul 05, 2015 Matt rated it liked it
I should acknowledge up front that my review probably has some jealousy mixed in-- I really like what this book is trying to do, and in some ways wish I could pull it off. But I think, too, that the book has some flaws.

Most of the stories are told in this immediacy of hardcore en media res, so that we are often in the midst of a social scene-- might be a romantic triangle, or a housing situation with a lot of roommates, etc-- when the drama kicks off. And Taylor rarely tells us explicitly what t
Aug 14, 2012 Matt rated it did not like it
One of the downsides to short story collections by a single author is that, if there are a number of stories with similar plots and aspects, they can all blur together in your head. You read the last story, then look at the table of contents and wonder how you possibly read all of these, when you can't remember a single thing that happened in any one of them until you read their opening lines again. Sometimes the stories are all distinctive enough so this isn't a problem, and usually there are ...more
Dec 15, 2011 Ash rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I actually enjoyed most of the stories in Everything here is the best thing ever. They were kind of average and not as zany as the description on the back led me to believe, but a couple were outstanding (well, mostly Tetris - I'm a sucker for apocalypse stories, I guess).

And then I got to the last two stories, "Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time" and "Whistle Through Your Teeth and Spit". I didn't like the former, but I actually kind of hated "Whistle...". I didn't really get why people were
D.W. Lichtenberg
Jun 10, 2011 D.W. Lichtenberg rated it it was ok
I picked up this book both because I'd heard it was great (the hype around it was big, at least) and because I was genuinely interested from a business/cultural point of view as to why it was so popular, a first book of short stories by a relatively unknown author whose main connection to the indie lit world was through and the (somewhat insular) Brooklyn scene.

There were some real gems in this collection, and Taylor is obviously a talented writer with more to come. But there was u
Antonio Marts
Jan 31, 2015 Antonio Marts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es una desgracia que en México no podamos encontrar en librerías el catálogo de Alpha Decay (lo que es aún mayor desgracia es que en Guadalajara no contemos en realidad con una librería que ofrezca algo más que bestsellers y novedades nacionales). De las editoriales alternativas españolas ésta es una de las que más me llaman la atención. Me topé con éste libro en la FIL 2013,. Confieso que lo compré en principio sólo por la editorial, un poco por la portada, un poco por la cuarta de forros y que ...more
Oct 06, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
I'm more of a novel girl myself, so keep that in mind when reading this review. Taylor's stories remind me of an exceptional fine art photograph: At first glance, it's slightly mundane, but then you notice the details and suddenly you're intrigued. If I didn't have a stack of library books, I would go back and read this again immediately, and probably like it a whole more. There's a lot in there that a 2-hour front-to-back read won't catch (which, unfortunately, is how I read it). The weather ...more
Feb 11, 2011 Liza rated it really liked it

One of the stories in this collection is called "Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time". I think that title is an apt description of the 15 stories in this collection. Although a slim volume, the stories contained herein have a crystalline quality like stars or jewels. I'm reminded of the phrase from Disney's Aladdin: "diamond in the rough". In a world of uninteresting literary creations, Justin Taylor has fashioned some flashing and valuable jewels.

These stories are like looking through windows

Ryan Mac
Jul 05, 2010 Ryan Mac rated it liked it
I was browsing the new books section at my library and saw this book with a great title. I am normally not a huge fan of short story collections but there was one called bad could it be?

For me, the most frustrating part about these stories can be summed up with two points: (1) In almost every story, the characters are the same and speak in nearly identical first person voice. Some variety would have been nice. (2) Nothing really happens to the characters. They don't really do anythi
Sep 10, 2010 Andrew rated it liked it
Though slim, this collection weighs heavily on the reader’s heart, and more often, on the reader’s patience. Justin Taylor precedes the stories with a quote from writer-of-grim-stories Gary Lutz: “I sang the way I still talk. Every song was the worst way I could think of to ask for what I did not yet know how not to want.”

This knot is a perfect introduction to Taylor’s world, where nearly every inhabitant complicates life by choosing the path of the most resistance. Sympathy gives way to horror
Sep 05, 2012 Alexis rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
"Chords fill the air, ooze like oil from a slab of deli meat." Jesus. If Jonathan Lethem teaches writing classes, do you think he uses Justin Taylor as an example of how not to do similes?
"Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time" is not bad for its ideas but the writing is mostly Conrad, Bataille, and the Abu Ghraib reports so maybe Taylor has a niche there.
That's the second to last story and the last story "Whistle Through Your Teeth and Spit" actually shows a human relationship so maybe skip to t
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Justin Taylor is the author of the novel “The Gospel of Anarchy” and the story collection “Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever.”

The Millions called “The Gospel of Anarchy” a “bold casserole of sensual encounter and deranged proclamation… Loudly, even rapturously, Taylor succeeds in making the clamoring passio
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