NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy: you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com.
Tao Lin's style of writing--concrete, repetitive, reporting surface actions and objections only, usually of the most banal sort--disagrees with me violently. I love lush writing, replete with meaning, and this is anything but. If it were simply a matter of aesthetic differences I wouldn't give such a low rating--to each their own, right?--but I also happened to violently dislike the story: 22-year-old "Haley Joel Osment" is a shoplifting, self-destructive degenerate who falls into a mutually destructive relationship with fellow lost soul, underaged "Dakota Fanning," a relationship that sordidly drifts from unhealthy to abusive. All told as soullessly as possible through email, Gchat, and dry recounting of their encounters, each less distinguishable from the last. Maybe it made me feel so terrible because its contents and plot and its commentaries are all about things that I generally feel pretty bad about on a daily basis without external reminder--the difficulty of creating and sustaining meaningful relationships, the way technology can hinder connection, the awful easy aimlessness of modern life--but I disliked the way it was presented so totally that, even recognizing that I agree with ideas that Lin may or may not be attempting to tackle (I err on "not" after reading a few flippant & shallow review comments about the book), I can't summon a shred of good feeling for the book.