Imogen's Reviews > Shoplifting from American Apparel

Shoplifting from American Apparel by Tao Lin
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's review
Sep 17, 2009

really liked it
Read in September, 2009

Ah, Tao Lin. Evan was like, "Tao Lin has an Andy Warhol thing going on," which is true. Intentionally vapid in a way that points to the vapidness (vapidity!) of the culture! Smart.

And for the first sixty pages of this little book, I was super pumped about it. "This is great," I thought. "Nobody writes this simply and directly about complicated things." But by the end I was like, "okay, yes, you write simply and directly about complicated things, and the lack of analysis is basically the point, but that is kind of a thin trick. What am I supposed to take away from this, the idea that modern life is bleak and alienating?"

If you read it as a funny book, it is hilarious, especially to people (like me) who have opinions about people like Lorrie Moore. But to read it as a book that's saying something, it's... I don't know, I think the Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie are boring. Could we please turn on the scathing brutal distortion pedals in those bands' music, please? I feel the same way about this book: yes, you're interacting with some emotional truths, and talking about them, but... you're more like acknowledging them than talking about them. You're not really going after them.

So yeah. I still really enjoyed it, and would recommend it, but I would feel weird giving it five stars.

Like I did to the Spawn Armageddon Collection. Star ratings are kind of arbitrary, huh?
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09/09/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by jess (new)

jess I kind of hate when you write reviews like this (and Bears on Bears) and then I can't read the book because my local library doesn't have it. Maybe you could start donating everything you read to the Olympia Public Library, so I could just avoid this small but irritating frustration.

Imogen I'm lucky! I get to borrow books from the little store I work at. At which I work. At.


message 3: by Oriana (new) - added it

Oriana After careful consideration, I decided my previous comment was imprudent. I will say this instead: I did the copyediting for this book, and I did not have quite the same reaction to it as you did.

Imogen What did you say? You can give me the less mean version if you want.

Imogen Or the more mean version.

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