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you are a little bit happier than i am Paperback – November 1, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I accidentally read Tao Lin's table of contents as a poem; it's a hilarious poem and it hooked me right away. This is also how his poems work--they are aggressively mundane. But behind that aggressive pose those poems are real and free. And really funny. There's a confidence in them that not only undercuts their surface pose, but makes that pose something meaningful. --Matthew Rohrer, author of A Green Light

you are a little bit happier than i am has the energy and oddness of a thing that is rising very fast that is not supposed to be rising, or that is supposed to be rising but for a moment you forget that, and for a moment this ordinary thing looks very strange and exciting--sun, ball, airplane, tree. That is Tao Lin's poemish pieces. --Deb Olin Unferth, author of Revolution

Tao Lin's you are a little bit happier than i am is poetry unadorned, offering a stark portrait of our modern world and its alienation. Pulling no punches, and drawing the reader in with seemingly simple statements, Tao Lin is one of the most inventive and insightful authors I have read this year. --www.largeheartedboy.com

Tao Lin's poetry collection gracefully proves the theorem that nothing can be truly sad if it isn t also funny...Lin's is a harsh, insular world of sadness (the word appears countless times throughout the slim volume), hopelessness and despondency. But for every ounce of drear and self-pity, Lin inserts an arresting aside: this poem has all this between each stanza / ...someone on the largest dose of tylenol cold in the history of the world falling off a sixty-story building at night." --Jeb Gleason-Allured, Timeout Chicago

Reading Tao Lin's you are a little bit happier than i am (Winner of the 2005 December Prize) is reminiscent of covertly eavesdropping on a private conversation over a cup of hallucinogen-spiked black coffee. The reader cannot help but feel a little like a transfixed interloper. The poems are powered by direct, confessional statements which reveal the interior life of a twenty-something year old who is an alternately suicidal and homicidal, infatuated, self-conscious and self-loathing, ambivalent observer/poet. --Aysha Somasundaram, Bookslut.com

From the Publisher

Reading Tao Lin's poetry is like looking the wrong way down Frank O'Hara's ear trumpet at a 21st century Mayakovsky IM-ing Lili Brik. It's fun, smart, manic and ecstatic; it puts on a clean shirt before it loads the gun.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Action Books; 1st edition (November 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097656923X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976569237
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #772,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Frens on December 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
you can tell when you've been reading tao lin. you look at the world differently, you mood is different. its hard to describe, but its definitely worth reading.
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I like this book. 16 more words required. Twelve more words required. Eight more words required. Four more words required. Submit.
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Format: Paperback
I don't think I usually like poetry. I went to a poetry reading tonight and I did not enjoy it. I liked this book. It was like reading transcripts of my own thoughts. It validated my thoughts somewhat I guess, in letting me know that other people thought similar things, and that other other people were publishing transcripts of them. I think writing like this is positive in that it encourages calm reflection on one's own life through direct analysis of another's. I feel like an idiot right now. I have tried to describe why I like this book. I like this book.
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Sometimes, I run out of realistic life things to think about, and instead wonder how to escape from the bottom of a swimming pool that was entirely filled with bubbles. Tao Lin explores other similarly important scenarios, like if you are a police officer and hit yourself, can you be arrested for assaulting an officer of the peace? Also, where other poems take a long time to say "I am f---ed existentially", Tao Lin will just say it repeatedly, which really streamlines the process because I understand his point very clearly even just skimming a poem which covers two pages. I'm not trying to be critical. I feel like my college humanities classes would have gone a lot faster if people could have just said what they meant. The only things I don't like about this book of poems is when Tao Lin expresses fondness and longing for a random female, which I can't relate to. However, he also writes poems about wanting to kill his literary agent, and I can relate to the lazy, noncommittal misanthropy. He also sometimes writes about eating pasta after having engaged in a violent or dramatic act, which is exactly what I would do because pasta is my favorite food. I think I might be Tao Lin's target demographic because I like gchat, and would use it a lot if all the people I know weren't using facebook instead, which makes me feel bored. But I am also gainfully employed and not depressed or lonely, so I think you can still enjoy Tao Lin's books even if you do not feel hopeless and confused. I hope in a future novel or poem, Tao Lin will address how mermaids have sex. I have wondered about this for a really long time. Also, Tao Lin does not censor the f-word like I just did in this review, which I only did because I thought amazon might not allow the review to exist if I didn't only include that one letter.
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Format: Paperback
Motifs in _you are a little happier than i am_ include emails, fruit, hamsters, loneliness, beauty, and sadness--what would have been a difficult and problematic combination of objects and abstract terms in the hands of a less talented poet. Tao Lin, however, links these elements effectively with plain, frank language that conveys immediate feelings and observations, often with sympathetic or humorous results.

The surprising concerns in these poems range from the personal to what many readers may resonate with. For example, in the poem "thanksgiving," Lin writes:

i feel most comfortable around middle-class japanese people
i know they are all thinking the same things as me

WHY ARE THE LINES SO LONG?
WHY AM I IN NEW JERSEY?

though their faces appear calm
their thoughts are exactly like i just put them
(Lin)

It does not seem to matter here whether the people are middle-class Japanese or middle-class any-other-American-or-foreigner. Lin points out how anyone might feel in this situation: the lines are long, and (more philosophically) why New Jersey? The contrast between calm faces, yelling interior monologue, the poet himself and Japanese people proves humorous when one reads Lin's conclusion to the poem "we just want to get our food/ and eat it/...and go to sleep."

An uniquely enjoyable, highly recommended collection. Tao Lin's other books include Bed, Eeeee Eee Eeee, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
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Format: Paperback
ok. well.

this book started out a little strong.

i really wasn't expecting that.

i mean JESUS.

an AXE &a CELL PHONE?

too many things. too soon.

but then

it got a little racist

against spacemen.

and that's good

because i hate

spacemen.
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Format: Paperback
Going through Tao Lin's first collection of poetry after being introduced to him through Taipei and his second collection, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, is a bit odd. I'm inclined to say it's an almost preferable order, however, because I think starting with his strongest work and ending with his weakest would have left me with a more sour taste in my mouth than reverse did.

It's easy to see why Tao Lin rocketed to the top of the literary sweetheart list after this collection was published. If anything, that's likely due more in part to his prose and short-stories/novels than this book of poetry, but I'd like to believe the rawest, most sincere facets of his voice are embodied in You Are A Little Bit Happier Than I Am. The honesty, sincerity, and disarming sparsity that are now hallmarks of Lin's style are all here in their primeval form, and the effect is to create a delightful war in the reader's mind between wanting to hug the author as an entity, and also to berate him for being such a mopey sad-sack. The 'whining child' persona that some of Lin's dis-creditors have ascribed to him since his rise to fame is at full form here, but it's easy to cut Lin a break when his moments of agonizing honesty and sincerity break through.

Frankly, if anything has made me want to read more of Lin's work, this is it. I felt a mix of happy irony and earnest melancholy bleed through on almost every page: even when experimental poems repeated the same line over and over, or began sentence after sentences with rambling conjunctions, it seemed obvious to me that Lin didn't have anything other than sincerity in his efforts.
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