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Bed

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,639 ratings  ·  148 reviews
College students, recent graduates, and their parents work at Denny's, volunteer at a public library in suburban Florida, attend satanic ska/punk concerts, eat Chinese food with the homeless of New York City, and go to the same Japanese restaurant in Manhattan three times in two sleepless days, all while yearning constantly for love, a better kind of love, or something bet ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Melville House Publishing
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Megan Boyle
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My friend and I went on a road trip this summer and she read "Sasquatch," "Nine Ten," and the story about the man who works at a library and sits in the back seat of a car driven by high school kids who either toilet paper or egg a house aloud to me. I had already read "Bed" three years prior to the road trip, but wanted to read it again, and my friend expressed interest in reading something aloud together. She would sometimes stop during the long sentences to regain focus and would ask me if sh ...more
Meghan
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
I think I've reached my threshold with hipster lit. I optimistically continue to read books about people my age in New York (and in this case, Florida) who are miserable, but it never resonates in any sort of way that I feel is particularly literary, useful, or interesting. I am likely missing huge symbolic meaning (there were a number of recurring themes and objects... including toy poodles), but overall it felt like "faux depth." As I finished up, I thought to myself, "this guy would get along ...more
Jeffrey
Jul 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Kelly Link, Lydia Davis, Ben Greenman
Shelves: shortstories
Tao Lin gets at some of those uncomforatble thoughts we have sometimes, and it makes you wonder if he has those thoughts himself or he just knows us all so well. But he also makes you laugh, and reflect, and all of those good things books should do.
tao_lin3
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tao
I like this book. I can read this book in any mood and enjoy it, I think.
The words all have meaning that my brain can process. After I read the words I feel emotions. Each sentence makes me feel emotion.

I will read this again later on and probably more times later on.
Michael
Aug 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Tao Lin - pushing pretentiousness to further heights. Having an overbearing narrative voice does not mean you are a good writer. Nothing can cover up bad writing.
Melissa
May 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: notworthit
Oh my lord, this book sucks. What a useless, pretentious waste of time.
Ben
Apr 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
Tao Lin, I read your book.

I liked it, for the most part. It made me want to write, which a certain kind of fiction always does. It reminded me of my own life at times. As a fellow Floridian ex-pat of roughly the same age, the Denny's references resonated. I don't know if they resonated the same way for people not from Florida. I guess it doesn't matter.

I liked the stories in the following order:

Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues
Cull the Steel Heart, Melt the Ice one, Love the Weak Thing; Say Nothi
...more
Nikki
I hate short stories so much. I hate them. All of them. Even the good ones. I always know a short story is going to end soon, so even if I sort of like it, I want it to end now. I can't stand the uncertainty. The constant thought of when will this end? If you're going to end soon, just end now. Do it. Now. Christ.

Lately short stories aren't even short anymore. They're so long it's like why don't you just write a novel? Just write a novel and stop torturing me.

Short stories make me psychotic.

But
...more
Owain Lewis
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Tao Lin writes a blog called Reader of Depressing Books. If Tao Lin were a Hollywood blockbuster his tag-line would be Writer of Annoying Fiction. Very tedious and exasperating. A lot of the time I felt like what I was reading was less of a story and more of an exercise in reduction, and not in a good way. For me Lin's extreme minimalist approach had the effect of draining all the life out of the stories.There is way to much 'he did that then he did this then he went to this place and did anothe ...more
Adam
Jun 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with emotions
I liked the stories in Bed. The characters made me feel like they exist in thinking about themselves. I most liked reading the story about the punk band that showed "disrespect" for the dead with their song, "Fuck World Trade."
Kara Brightmeyer
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
i've read every book tao lin has published, and have decided "bed" exemplifies what's at the core of everything, like this is his thesis statement as an author. actually, immediately after writing that i decided no, definitely not, any of his books could be his thesis statements. that's part of his appeal to me, though. these stories feel like anthems for self-condemned-ed-ly lonely, who tentatively hope for something better (whatever that "something" may be) despite a general lack of evidence f ...more
Harrison
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
okay, i havent finished reading this yet, but even if the last couple stories totally suck i won't change anything.

this is how more immigrant fiction should be... something to with being second generation but... secretly. i dont mean indierctly but secretly, like maybe you wouldnt even notice it if you weren't one, because it's about some universal nontrivial thing, which is felt by everyone but only exaggeratedly by the writer and his contemporaries.

also meaning: no exotic names. no foreign wor
...more
bay reads books nu uh, does so huh
Jun 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who are ancy
---

just bought an uncorrected proof of this book at a flea market and it says in bold letters at the top, "do not quote"...so i guess i will not be quoting it.

hoping for good things, and hey, if it gets tedious rather than great, there's always "Eeeee Eee Eeee" on the flip flop."

kinda been diggin on short stories and how powerful they can potentially be, so i have high hopes for this one.

yay for double-book books. i'll replace this with a review when i actually reads some of it.

*update 08.11.07:
...more
Tori
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories must be a kick in the face for any conservative, religious, optimistic, or otherwise self-deluding individual. Luckily, though, a jaded, cynical sort of person such as myself can find solace in turning the pages of this book and laughing in an empathetic sort of way at the mishaps and awkward strangeness of its characters. These people are contemplative, refreshing, and often arresting in their views of the world at hand. It’s the quirky way they observe their su ...more
Adam
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was the 3rd book of Tao Lin's that I have read this summer. I suppose that I read them backwards as I began with his latest, "Shoplifting From American Apparel", which I read in a single brief sitting, devouring it page by page in a fury. I moved on to "Eeeee Eee Eeee", his first full length novel, and finally this collection of short stories.

I enjoyed these stories, for the most part, more than his extended works, partly because I found them a bit easier to follow, which is, I suppose, be
...more
Rusty
Nov 30, 2007 rated it did not like it
I liked this book much more than I expected to. It's odd and captivating.
MB Taylor
Mar 21, 2011 marked it as to-read
Picked this up while waiting for a ride. Haven't gotten very far...
Justin Tam
i do not recall anything that happened. 3 stars
Tom Bensley
Uneven. Which I don't mean as a bad thing, really. Some of the stories in this collection are incredible, feel "brand new" even and are excitingly fresh to read. Some of the moments in some of the stories are are unparalleled in their originality and in their aptness for depicting whatever it feels like to be a "person" at times. But then some stories meander, some take the whole "plotless" thing way too far, some are just plain uninteresting. But even those have flashes of brilliance.

Seems like
...more
Natalya
Feb 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I got this book at a library sale for 50 cents and for some reason expected a lot from it. Maybe because it was next to a Joan Didion book.

And I really wanted to like this... Lin does some things very well. Instead of just stating emotions, he (usually) shows them through actions. He isn't afraid to write about states of mind that most of us don't want to dwell on -- boredom, depression, apathy. He notices details. And he's only a little older than me and has published tons of books, so he must
...more
Lana Barber
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I don't even remember how I came to own a copy of Tao Lin's collection of short stories in Bed. I think that I bought it on a completely random whim to have some short stories to read. I ended up loving almost all of the stories in this book. I don't like much contemporary stuff, but these stories are great. When these were written, the author was 23 years old and explains he was only written stories from shear boredom. All of his characters are lost, bored, self-deprecating, lonely, under-stimu ...more
Robert Beveridge
Tao Lin, Bed (Melville House, 2007)

Eighties fiction still lives, and lives large, in the work of Tao Lin. These stories are eighties fiction writ large, but with slightly more contemporary settings to explore those same eighties-fiction themes (restlessness, alienation, ennui, and the like among the twentysomething generation). The big problem with eighties fiction, of course, was how unsatisfying it was; it takes all the angst of existential literature, but fails to inject any of the timelessne
...more
Phong Ho
Jul 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-have
this book is a lil' difficult to get through, 'cause lin goes off on certain tangents, but manages gets back on point. His subtle lyrical prose flows and staggers and flows and staggers creating a disjointed reading experience.

These stories ooze with moody anger, alienated souls, lost kids and twenty-somethings, lost souls, trapped in a mundane world that they struggle to get out of but are too lazy to do anything about.

it is a series of short stories that captures the generation of the lost,
...more
Pernille
May 22, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: people with some humor
After having read Tao Lin's blog (my friend "discovered" it and shared it with me a while ago, which I am grateful for) I expected his books to be cheerful and funny.
They are funny, and somewhat cheerful as well, but also very different from what I expected.
I don't know if this is a bad or good thing yet. I think it's good. I wanted to underline many sentences but sadly it isn't my copy of the book.
I laughed out loud a few times and often read things that I wanted to share with people but then r
...more
Colin N.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Bed" is a fantastic collection of short stories. Lin is able to deftly create moods that capture the melancholy, depression, confusion, loneliness and despair of existence. Many of the characters in the stories are twenty-somethings trying to find love or happiness and struggling to figure out what it is to live. They feel isolated and lost, dull and bored, unable to fit into what they feel a happy adult life should be. This sounds like a depressing group of stories, but Lin is also darkly humo ...more
Jen
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
i read the back cover at city lights bookstore and instantly decided i needed to read this.

hope. there was something hopeful about the back cover blurb.

lies.

i had to stop reading. i was more then 1/2 way through but i couldn't take it anymore or even skip to the next story. that same mournful voice in each piece made me want to call it a day and slit my wrists.

that's not to say there are some beautiful sad moments that are written with great clarity and insight, but those moments are few and f
...more
Melville House Publishing
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
“The simultaneous publication of Tao Lin’s debut story collection, Bed, and novel, Eeeee Eee Eeee, announces a harsh and absurd new voice in writing. Employing Raymond Carver’s poker face and Lydia Davis’s bleak analytical mind, Lin renders ordinary—but tortured— landscapes of failed connections among families and lovers that will be familiar to anyone who has been unhappy…. The prose is poetic and downright David Lynch–ian." -- Time Out Chicago
Michael Sutherland
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Tao Lin's tone is so bored and abstractly indifferent, I couldn't really take any of his stories seriously. But that is fine with me. Bed's stories are all about 20 year olds in existential crises. Could they all be autobiographical to some degree? Probably. Like the characters in his stories and possibly like Tao himself, I read Bed with a sort of uncaring indifference; it was there, so why not read it? And for that, Tao's style and subject matter is quite alright.
David
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
I still think that "Shoplifting at American Apparel" is my favorite Lin so far, but I still had a lot of fun with these stories. Lin manages to have some pretty interesting stories while focusing on some pretty boring happenstances. I think that shows some real talent there, and Lin manages to create some great moments in it. He can be a bit confusing at times, even when you can understand what is going on, but you have to love the way he writes. Definitely has a pattern all its own.
Rebecca
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of Tao Lin's "early" books, published way back in '07. I enjoyed this collection of short stories and found many of them oddly affecting. There's more sadness and sincerity here--true sincerity, not posturing sincerity. This surprised me; I'd become used to his strange, distant way of reporting emotion rather than digging into it.

Two small qualms: 1. Overuse of the word "wildly." (This is a personal pet peeve of mine.) 2. Improper spacing of ellipses.
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“You were one person alive and your brain was encased in a skull. There were other people out there. It took effort to be connected.” 50 likes
“...one had to expect very little—almost nothing—from life, Aaron knew, one had to be grateful, not always trying to seize the days like some maniac of living, but to give oneself up, be seized by the days, the months and years, be taken up in the froth of sun and moon, some pale and smoothie-ed river-cloud of life, a long, drawn-out, gray sort of enlightenment, so that when it was time to die, one did not scream swear words and knock things down, did not make a scene, but went easily with understanding and tact, and quietly, in a lightly pummeled way, having been consoled–having allowed to be consoled–by the soft, generous, worthlessness of it all, having allowed to be massaged by the daily beating of life, instead of just beaten.” 46 likes
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