Thursday, September 16, 2010

On Tao Lin and Signed Copies and Quotes

When I saw that Tao Lin was going to be speaking at Quimby's I knew I had to attend.  His book "Eeeee Eee Eeee" ranks as one of the weirdest things I have ever read.  It was also one of our more emotional Novella group discussions.  Plus, I had just put myself out there to say I would not be shocked if he gets a Genius Grant.  If you are familiar with Chicago you also know that Quimby's is at the intersection of Hip-Hipper-Hippest (North/Damen/Milwaukee) so I wanted to see who would come out to hear him read.

Well, when P. & I entered Quimby's I was a little surprised that all the seats were not taken.  So we sat down and A. arrived in time to get a seat as well.  By the Sexy Art books.  When Tao Lin entered the store I just started laughing.  He is exactly as pictured.  Short, slight and nerdy.  Remember when you first had to start reading out loud in class and that one boy would read as if everything were one-big-sentence-and-would-not-breathe-and-put-no-emphasis-on-words-and-had-no-inflection?  That is how Tao Lin read from his newest book "Richard Yates".  You almost want to punch him or ask him if it's an act or if that is how he really reads.  I will hear his voice when I read this writing.  The Q&A was uncomfortable.  People tried to draw him out but he would have none of it.  Although he did make a really interesting point about how he does not write about good and bad.  He said to determine good and bad you need to make assumptions and he does not make those assumptions.  I found that really cool - it's true - he is a writer who is observing.  He catalogs activities but he does not make judgements.

He is not vegan.

I did buy the book.  I had to.  There was not a long line to get it signed although I did wait behind a female groupie and a very earnest, yet super shy, hipster.  As Tao signed my book I told him how my novella group read "Eeeee Eee Eeee" and how the discussion was very polarizing.  I told him one of my friends hated it so much she could not even come see him read.  That caused a genuine smile.  I love how he signed my book.  I am glad I went and glad P. & A. joined me so I would have witnesses to the humorous event.

Some other really great news to share -
Before we went to see Tao Lin P. and I met for a beer near Quimby's.  A guy came in and sat down and was reading "Infinite Jest" and he was flipping back and forth between the main text and the end matter.  I told P. I was going to tell him to use two bookmarks.  After my disaster of trying to talk to someone on the el about "Infinite Jest" I was still going to do it.  So I walked up to him and said "it's easier if you use two bookmarks" and he said he was almost done and I said I read it last summer and thought it was an amazing book.  And the reader agreed!  So yay for talking to someone about IJ!

Also - after being a huge fan of The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks I finally found a sign to send in to the site and it was posted today!  It's from the end of our alley.  If you've never checked out the site before it is really funny. 

Here are some other author signatures I thought you might find amusing from my collection - enjoy!
I saw David Sedaris read many years ago - and they let him smoke in the bookstore!  I love the $ in the "S" for Sarah.
Robert Rodi is a Chicago author and at his signing you could pick from 3 or 4 phrases for when he signed your book.  I chose "slut".  I don't remember why now but at the time I remember it being funny.  My co-workers (also fans) used to see him walking near our office and we would squeal "there's Robert Rodi!".
Of course I'm going to enjoy it!  It's from Dennis Lehane!

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