1 The book doesn’t technically start until page 3 so I guess I’ll comment on the 2 pages before it…It just says TAIPEI
2 Again, technically this isn’t the start of the book. It starts on page 3, so my first 2 responses are just filler…like this page
3 It already feels like Tao Lin with “cloudless-seeming sky”
4 I already relate to Paul and Michelle’s awkward interaction.
5 dissatisfaction as a personal failing is very relatable but ultimately a fallacy.
6 I don’t think I’ve heard the term ‘argument resting’ before. It works.
7 the idea of someone being hot bc their blog gets a lot of hits makes me disgusted and jealous.
8 Tao is describing Paul’s relationship with Michelle using a combination of extreme specifics and vagueness.
9 Why does Michelle cry when Paul says she never helps with the dishes?
10 I like “what friends?” and “amoeba trying to create a personal webpage using CSS”
11 I relate to “Paul felt passively committed to not moving”
12 The description of Michelle walking away (and the rest of the paragraph) is quite stunning.
13 Woah I loved everything leading up to Paul returning to the party. These kinds of descriptions feel like a departure for Tao IMO
14 The mother’s sugar in her coffee – foreshadowing Paul’s excessive drug use?
15 Paul now seems to care a lot about his friendships – proving that he is a liar
16 The end of this chapter marks one of the best descriptions of crippling apathy and inaction I’ve ever read
17 Opening of chapter 2 is a nice and slightly funny description of Paul waking up.
18 Description continues straddling Proust-like profundity and stereo instructions.
19 I almost forgot to respond to this page because the book is picking up momentum.
20 I (now) like Tao’s use of “medium thick glasses” and other such descriptions that are completely subjective
21 I’ve been to Pacifico and I wouldn’t call it “dungeon-like”. Although it sort of fits Paul’s mood to describe it that way.
22 Paul’s horny
23 “De-gendered” – I think this has happened to me (the thought concerning the abstract idea of someone else) 1 to 3 times
24 Paul is obsessed with relationships
25 I love that Paul did the phone joke, but if he did it to me, I’d react the same way Amy did.
26 I think I’ve done the relentless question asking thing before, and gotten Laura’s reaction
27 What the hell is Laura’s problem?
28 What the hell?! Daniel didn’t even do anything! I hate Gabby more than Laura now
29 Daniel’s actions…cruel but fair?
30 I would not want to be at either party. No one seems to have any compassion for anyone but themselves. I am thoroughly enjoying this book now.
31 Can you give more examples of “total yet failing” and “partial and successful” efforts of social interaction?
32 Paul is at dinner with Laura. Great description of awkwardness.
33 Something about their interaction reminds me of Dennis Cooper’s writing.
34 Very nice long sentence ending with mention of the New School
35 If the kiss and the arm are from the same source, they must be related.
36 Paul’s newroom.zip bug is similar my 404’d name bug. Upon meeting someone new, I make a mental folder w/ their face.jpg but I can’t save the name.doc
37 An abrupt leap in time
38 Was the 4 move checkmate queen to king’s bishop’s pawn protected by a knight? I like that move.
39 Kids can be so cruel…especially to drummers.
40 Eating lunch alone in high school + 10 years = prolific novelist
41 How does asking for punishments from your mother reduce anxiety?
42 Nice use of the word “supine”
43 The description of Hunter and Paul’s relationship is fascinating and slightly humorous
44 Nice description of an ambien sex haze
45 Another party
46 “…one could forget that it was all a single, alien, seeking entity.” What does this mean?
47 Why would anyone want to use a communal foot-massager at a party? Seems gross.
48 Paul reminds me a of Karl Pilkington here.
49 Another party
50 Ironic that shy, awkward Paul from HS takes drugs that evoke the same effects on his personality years later.
51 “…absorbing the irresolution of the butter misunderstanding as an irreversible damage.” hehe
52 This is making me very depressed.
53 I like that Laura is difficult to “figure out”. An example being her emails at the end of this page.
54 So far this is the most “hipster” page of the whole book
55 It sucks that no one seems to get any of Paul’s jokes.
56 “openly exchanged witty banter while feeling severely depressed” describes me most of the time.
57 The part where Paul almost cried seemed very genuine and relatable. No one else has been nice.
58 I kinda like the way the characters’ names are common and the personalities are bland. It blurs everyone together into 3 characters Paul, women, and men.
59 Another party – struggling to stay focused
60 Paul just denied that he goes to a lot of parties.
61 #FTW “he didn’t want to die – less bc he had an urge to live than bc dying, like knitting or backgammon, seemed irrelevant to his life”
62 Sorta reminds me of Dharma Bums where Fran is Rosie only instead of committing suicide she steals shoes. Sign of the times?
63 Ooo…this doesn’t help Fran’s “I didn’t try to steal her shoes” case.
64 I just don’t think Rilo Kiley and snorting Adderall go together very well…but I’ve never tried it so…maybe it’s awesome?
65 Another party (book this time) followed by Paul drifting off to Drugstore Cowboy
66 Paul is burning the candle at both ends!
67 Drugs are people
68 Why is Paul so fixated and confused by the candle lightbulb?
69 8-years old or my girlfriend??? Daniel is a dick.
70 Ironically Daniel may be more anti-social than Paul given his pushy, childlike behavior, constant drug-use, and inability to read social cues
71 I’m having trouble concentrating because I feel so much hatred toward Daniel right now. He’s right about being “not anything”
72 Nice description of the city and observation of nature
73 Another fucking party. Also: “anthropomorphically” = malapropism?
74 “In June, after four more parties…” #alternativetaipeititles
75 This page is absolutely brilliant. The best description of the side-effects of copious drug-use.
76 Where is anyone’s money coming from?
77 Daniel’s debt card is from Bank of America’s Hipster Account Plan which provides unlimited $$ for pretentious thought
78 Shit just got real.
79 Come on, Paul! Seriously!? Seriously, you can’t tell a Lincoln from a goddamn Pontiac!??? – Daniel
80 I love that Paul’s “in” was the words “chicken rings”…
81 …and no one said “chicken rings”.
82 “and, with a neutral expression” #alternativetaipeititles
83 You’re killing me, Daniel!
84 Shawn Olive is hauntingly destroying these characters (e.g. rolled up page of his poetry to snort coke through).
85 “upon a binary absorption from some incomprehensible direction” #alternativetaipeititles
86 I want to see an episode of Avoiding Jehan
87 The last paragraph of this page is amazing. I like Paul’s daydreaming about the seasons over hearing the cause of death
88 I feel like this is an unusually dark and emotive novel for Tao. It relies more heavily on plot than his other works, but in a good way.
89 Part 3 starts off with a police check point
90 Can’t sleep, huh? Could it possibly be all the speed you’ve been injesting? No?
91 It seems logical that Erin and Paul should get together
92 I’m having a little trouble with where we are in time at this point, but the fog is passing slowly
93 Paul reminds me of a character I used to draw in HS called Medicine Man who could only “feel” or “opperate” based on what drugs he ingested
94 “Shrink into the lunar city” #alternativetaipeititles or #greatdrugdescriptions
95 Did Kafka ever use the word “Me-Esque” to describe something?
96 I’m going to start using “Linian” to describe neutral expressions
97 I wish I was in Maggie’s car, too
98 “I want to be here now. If you…are you sure?” #alternativetaipeititles
99 I agree with Paul, but his argument doesn’t disprove that a “drug problem” is real. Also, someone count the “supine”‘s used in this novel
100 Who is this notorious, performing snail?
101 Paul goes to great lengths to avoid social interaction. Simply working on this problem would probably be less time/energy consuming
102 No. Four months is not normal. Calvin may have a drug prob…uh…er…issue.
103 A while back the book discussed Paul’s childhood in Florida and now I’m wondering if that was necessary.
104 This is a sweet moment. Also “I was like a bored robot” is very Linian.
105 Best description of the Cleveland skyline
106 Paul and Erin, feeling alienated, turned to talking to each other…about aliens
107 Paul and Erin’s relationship is beginning to remind me of the relationship in Richard Yates
108 I Can’t Make You Confident, I Can’t Make You Sleep #alternativetaipeititles
109 I’ve felt like my own clone before – I like that description
110 Who from Facebook got “fingered”? Why is “fingered” in quotes?
111 Paul’s baseline depression is fascinating me more than the action
112 There are subdivisions of hipsters and I, daily, find myself waiting for the trashy, shirtless, beer guzzling division to die
113 A close second are the pretentious alt lit assholes who call Paul’s book excrement to his face in front of hundreds of people
114 I find Philadelphia in general to be bleakly sobering
115 I think this is the first mention of homosexuality in the novel
116 I like Erin’s sudden change of emotion. Lying seems commonplace in this world
117 Now I wonder if anger in Paul’s world is so foreign that he was unable to handle it and reacted strangely
118 I’ve never heard of a sky having an asbestos-y texture before
119 Poor Paul – about to be interviewed while on MDMA
120 “weirdly, insanely pretentious” #alternativetaipeititles
121 I actually really like the children’s book idea
122 Faux pas….hehehehehe, y’know because it’s Montreal
123 Paul is easy to relate to, but very difficult to feel sorry for. He is shallow, timid, and unwilling to “work on” his own issues.
124 Not that I’m opposed to seeing someone spiral into a “drug problem”, but the desperate way Paul is now seeking drugs feels a bit after-school-y
125 There are MacBooks and there are non-MacBooks. Also, Paul is on Alethia’s email account searching his own name? Jerk
126 The Booksmith scene reminds me of the Wildcat scene from Royal Tenenbaums
127 Pauls thinks he knows so much about his own mind. He thinks he’s in control of his actions. He is truly lost.
128 People, to Paul, seem to only be means to something else (sex, publicity, connections which may lead to more sex and publicity)
129 just as I suspected!
130 and Paul is left holding his brain. But it was a good plan.
131 those movies don’t interest me at all
132 these people are pathetic.
133 I feel like I hate Paul and Erin
134 I have a deep respect for Tao’s prose. It sounds, at times, like the poetry of the heart of the brain.
135 just go through with it!!! Or something.
136 what are YOU doing, Paul!? What the hell are YOU doing?! #whatiwouldhavesaid
137 all Paul can say is “seems like a non sequitur”? Really?
138 is it me or is the second sentence in the first paragraph ridiculously long?
139 nice exit! Ending on “was”
140 Snape kills Darth Vader on page 597
141 these people are falling apart
142 “old baby” is very appropriate.
143 it is just so arrogant to think that Paul need not listen to others bc he knows what’s best for himself
144 neutral expressions that happen in Vegas, stay in Vegas.
145 “This is what the universe created, after whatever billion years” #alternativetaipeititles
146 the dialogue here is macabre. It implies that it would be scary to feel something naturally.
147 this book is a romantic comedy. A really really really messed up romcom
148 Paul lied. No wondering about it. He doesn’t trust her.
149 Yup because nothing says mature relationship like a spontaneous Vegas wedding
150 what was with the “helpers”?
151 cool building. And description of building.
152 how’s he getting those drugs to Taiwan?
153 Mmmmmm…double dipped
154 where does all this money come from!
155 inclusion to urban dictionary. Verb. To Tao Lin: the act of snorting cocaine off an iPhone.
156 what’s the difference between a blank and neutral expression?
157 cut it where? The airport? I guess that’s usually the best place to cut cocaine.
158 oh shit. Paul read a book he didn’t finish & doesn’t remember?? He must be an expert!
159 when does Infinite Witz come out?
160 Paul’s low moments like shrinking past zero are when I feel the slightest compassion for him
161 Jennika’s reaction is hilarious
162 I thought Jennika may have been angry at Erin’s recklessness but instead she’s just as psycho as anyone else in this novel
163 so enjoying Eat, Pray, Love means they don’t have a drug problem?
164 this page justifies the title of the novel well
165 everyone is an old baby
166 awesome idea about the distant future of technology.
167 appropriate theory too considering Paul’s life which revolves around non-matter.
168 how would the pictures really deter the drug use. Typical Paul self-obsession and paranoia?
169 “smiling sarcastically” #alternativetaipeititles
170 why so confused by Arby’s?
171 Paul would feel rage to be asked that simple question. He knows he has to lie to answer.
172 can we see these “Dramatic ass shots” anywhere?
173 the folder on Kent’s computer was coincidentally titled “Dramatic ass shots”
175 This helps to explain why Paul is so unhinged.
176 is Paul truly empty inside? Or just full of shit?
177 I’m seeing so much less of the city and so much more of Paul’s controlling self-obsession. This I don’t care for.
178 woah. Erin should definitely take her medical issue more seriously
179 agh. Paul ignores her joke and immediately makes it about him again. How can HE be a better BF
180 sometimes it’s scary how similar conversations are in this book to ones I’ve had in life.
181 the first paragraph seems to want to justify the lack of environment in the writing. Ill go with it
182 “beauty” bleeds through paper cuts peppered throughout this novel
183 skinny men can be so cruel
184 this has become a two person play
185 I’m feeling like the inclusion of only “western” or global elements (eg 7-eleven) while in Taipei is on purpose but frustrating nonetheless.
186 it feels like they’re not having any fun at all
187 “I forgot we’re not in America.” – exactly.
188 is this Paul following apart.
189 a flim cam or really any cam would probably be better than a MacBook for video recording
191 I think Paul just hates talking sometimes
192 is this what Paul was looking for all along? The pixie dream girl to unlock him? Blah
193 suddenly I’m extremely saddened by this book which feels like a historical look into my generation and I don’t want it to be
194 now I’m just bored
195 why doesn’t it seem like they’re on all the drugs they took? I’d probably be catatonic or in a mental hospital by now
196 “the Saskatchewan teeth crisis” #alternatetaipeititles
197 hehehe their banter reminds me if cheese beasts
199 finally a true Taipei personality
200 depleted is a good word to use for them
201 what if this first paragraph really was the entire plot of this novel?
202 I liked the ending of their night. It felt poetic and appropriate.
203 I feel the story changing in a fascinating way that makes me almost want to stop writing these and just read
204 this page really articulates the novel as a whole well…or perhaps just Paul. Same same?
205 is Paul really concerned about her smell or just wants to be alone?
206 the 1st half of this page depicts a typical relationship fight very accurately
207 I definitely would not have been able to handle this dinner with Erin, family, et al
208 Paul was unbelievably spoiled as a child. I wonder if he feels that way now
209 beautiful end
210 this page is intentionally blank
211 sucks about Erin’s face. I wonder how Paul feels towards her now (trapped, unattracted, etc)
212 why does Paul feel the need to control things about her like a red backpack? Possibly transference from the harsher feelings of not liking her as person
213 there weren’t not so many negatives in that first sentence. The rest of the page was quite remarkable in terms of writing about suicide
214 the end of this page is like a Beckett play
215 Is Paul sober still Paul?
216 depressed oral sex is the best!
217 this is a turning point in their relationship
218 as a reader, I feel relieved. Like being finally diagnosed properly with a rare condition that has long negatively affected my life
219 leaving was right
220 a book’s a book
221 “nice mode” #alternatetaipeititles
222 why is this moment significant to Paul. It keeps coming back and being forgotten.
223 why did you push it Paul?! You had a “yes” to an orgy.
224 or something
225 drugs in the morning, drugs in the evening, drugs at supper time.
226 Paul felt a fleeting urge to say something nice to someone
227 fascinating philosophy of shyness
228 I love this line! “I feel like I’m unsarcastically viewing this as a major ordeal.”
229 “remembering” typo?
230 end of first half of this page is heartbreaking
231 wait. What did Calvin do in Paul’s room?
232 you know it’s good stuff when you vomit continuously afterward
233 I like the heroin feeling description
234 I lost count of all the drugs these people are on
235 “I’m okay with everything” #alternatetaipeititles
236 I really like Paul’s nauseated forgetful walk
237 are Erin and Calvin hooking up??? #gossip
238 this feels very unfocused.
239 Paul feels pitiful now. The incessant vomiting and fighting with Erin. It’s like everyone is 14 years old
240 “unseen scar tissue” Searching for flaws?
241 sometimes I get angry at myself for feeling empathy towards Paul. I may be more like him than I want to be
242 read the end of this page! It’s beautiful and grants a window deep into Paul
243 beginning of page: is he changing? Growing?
244 the old “am I dead?” trip. We’ve all been there
245 I’m loving this. I love when an arrogant character is revealed as small, ignorant, and scared
246 pace quickened. This is great!
247 the beginning of this page is key. The rest feels like Paul is devolving back to his normalcy
248 is it all one long joke with a profound punch line? Character driven and painfully real. I’m glad I read this.