Writer Tao Lin Devours Baby Watermelons, Staves Off a Love of Meat

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Writer Tao Lin sips iced Think Coffee in Washington Square Park. Photo: Melissa Hom

Novelist Tao Lin “writes in a showy outsider style — deadpan realism garnished casually with absurdity,” New York's Sam Anderson wrote earlier this year. He joins Grub Street favorites Jonathan Lethem, Colson Whitehead, and Gary Shteyngart on September 13 at the Brooklyn Book Festival, where he’ll read from his new novella, Shoplifting From American Apparel. Lin describes his own work as “Direct. Minimal. And detached.” His New York Diet is equally succinct.

Saturday, August 29
I had a baby watermelon from Lifethyme at my house in Brooklyn, and then I had iced coffee from Think Coffee on Mercer, black usually. And then I didn’t eat again until dinner.

For dinner, I had nori rolls and nut-meat salad from Bonobos.

Then I had an apple, later. Fuji.

Sunday, August 30
I had brunch at Taco Chulo: cornbread, chips, guacamole, and a vegan taco.

Then I had an iced coffee from Think coffee. I didn’t eat again till dinner.

For dinner, I made a stir-fry that had noodles, broccoli, zucchini, garlic, ginger, olive oil, tamari, eggs, and onion.

Monday, August 31
Monday, I had half of a baby watermelon from Lifethyme.

Sometimes I just eat raw garlic, and I had four raw garlic cloves. It just seems healthy.

I had an iced coffee from Think Coffee.

Then I had four bananas from Lifethyme. I do writing in the NYU library.

And I had another iced coffee from Think Coffee.

I had a bag of raw nuts and berries from the co-op on Fourth Street: pistachio, cashew, goji berry, mulberries, and cocoa nibs. I think it’s called the Hunza mix.

Later at night, at home, I had a whole baby watermelon from Lifethyme.

I had a salad at home: avocado, kale, nori sheets, olive oil, nama shoyu, and garlic. I try to eat all organic foods and mostly raw foods. I think everything I’ve mentioned is organic except the food from Taco Chulo. I know that it’s better for me, and also better for the world. So I do feel better overall. I guess I crave any kind of meat, but I eat it really rarely.

Tuesday, September 1
I had a whole baby watermelon from Lifethyme.

I had four garlic cloves.

Then I went to the library and got an iced coffee from Think Coffee. On the way home, I got another baby watermelon at Lifethyme, and ate it at home. I eat it a lot more in summer. It’s only 59 cents a pound from Lifethyme; it’s healthy; and I like how it tastes.

Later that night, I had a salad with avocado, olive oil, nama shoyu, and garlic. I guess I wouldn’t call it a salad, just some avocado with that stuff.

Wednesday, September 2
I had whole baby watermelon. The day before, I had bought two. And then I had four garlic cloves. And then I had an iced coffee from Think Coffee.

I had fruit ice cream from Bonobos — banana and durian. They have ice cream there that’s 100 percent from fruit. Then I had three pears and two bananas from the co-op on Fourth Street.

And then I had another iced coffee from Think Coffee. And then I had a coconut water that I had bought at Bonobos when I got the ice cream.

That night, I cooked at home: a bowl of noodles, broccoli, olive oil, garlic, onion, and tamari, and nori sheets.

I don’t think my family was healthy. My parents moved back to Taiwan about two years ago. But growing up in Orlando, I ate things like Wendy’s and Burger King. I think when I started really getting into writing and I was just spending every day alone, I was focused on eating whatever would make me feel the best. I thought it would allow me more time and energy to write. Now, I have a girlfriend and when she’s in New York City, I am pretty much just with her. She goes home to Pittsburgh sometimes. If I’m not with her I’m working on writing or promoting my career.