Nightstand Reads: Some of Tao Lin’s favorites

Taipei, Tao Lin’s newest novel, delivers a deeply personal, powerful and moving story about family, relationships, accelerating drug use and the lingering possibility of death. We are so pleased to have Tao Lin with us today on Shelf Talk, talking about books he loves.Tao Lin

One of my favorite novels is Lydia Davis’ The End of The Story. Here’s a quote from it:

When I first started working on the novel, I thought I had to keep very close to the facts about certain things, including his life, as though the point of writing the book would be lost if something like the Indian drums were changed and he were to play another instrument instead. Because I had wanted to write these things for so long, I thought I had to tell the truth about them. But the surprising thing was that after I had written them the way they were, I found I could change them or take them out, as though by writing them once I had satisfied whatever it was I had to satisfy.

I feel reluctant to say anything about it except that I’ve read it 3-5 times since 2004 and have liked it for different reasons each time, and that I recommend it.

I read The Brotherhood of The Screaming Abyss, a memoir by Dennis McKenna, this past January. Dennis McKenna is Terence McKenna’s younger brother. I recommend his memoir and also this interview with him by Joe Rogan.

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke was referenced in Dennis McKenna’s memoir as a novel he and his brother—as teenagers, I think—read and admired. I read it in two nights after finishing Dennis McKenna’s memoir and was very moved by it, despite not feeling a strong emotional connection to any of its characters. I recommend it and hope they make a movie out of it because I think I’d enjoy it maybe even more, as a movie, if the adaptation were strict.


 Tao Lin will be in Seattle on Monday, June 17, for a reading at Elliott Bay Book Company ( at 7 p.m.). Follow him on Twitter @Tao_Lin and be sure to see his earlier books available at the Library.









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