RICOCHET BOOKS LAUNCH PARTY!

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 25th, 2014

Nigerians in Space by Deji Olukotun Good Night, Mr. Kissinger by K. Anis Ahmed

Started by Skylight's own Chris Heiser, Ricochet publishes literature, comics and lost classics from around the world.  It also distributes books with publishing partners like sister nonprofit phoneme Media. 

Get exclusive preview copies of Ricochet's first two books, Nigerians in Space by Deji Olukotunand Good Night, Mr. Kissinger by K. Anis Ahmed. Both titles are available together as a Ricochet Launch Special, which will give you Ricochet's debut books at a discount.

About Nigerians in Space

1993. Houston. Dr. Wale Olufunmi, lunar rock geologist, has a life most Nigerian immigrants would kill for, but then most Nigerians aren’t Wale—a great scientific mind in exile with galactic ambitions. Then comes an outlandish order: steal a piece of the moon. With both personal and national glory at stake, Wale manages to pull off the near impossible, setting out on a journey back to Nigeria that leads anywhere but home. Compelled by Wale’s impulsive act, Nigerians traces arcs in time and space from Houston to Stockholm, from Cape Town to Bulawayo, picking up on the intersecting lives of a South African abalone smuggler, a freedom fighter’s young daughter, and Wale’s own ambitious son. Deji Olukotun’s debut novel defies categorization—a story of international intrigue that tackles deeper questions about exile, identity, and the need to answer an elusive question: what exactly is brain gain?

About Good Night, Mr. Kissinger

Good Night, Mr. Kissinger opens in 1970, in the days before war, when an unfinished suburban house is suddenly occupied by the family of an untouchable and disarming girl. Her brief appearance in her young neighbor’s life overshadows (at least for a time) the tanks that soon roll onto their idyllic street.  Kissinger ends in present day Dhaka, with the construction magnate Shabhaz ruminating about his dysfunctional family on the forty-first floor of the highest tower of the city—one which he himself built. 

Ahmed plunges into this anarchic, overwhelming place, plucking individuals from the masses to tell stories of love and ambition, family secrets and exile.  There are the brothers Bahram and Jamshed, whose father dresses them in similar clothes to avoid sibling rivalry.  And Ramkamal, author of the greatest novel never written, whose disappearance leaves behind a group of disjointed followers trying to make sense of their lives.  And there is James D’Costa, the exiled Bangladeshi waiter with an unlikely name, whose encounters with Henry Kissinger force a tense confrontation between past and future. 

About RICOCHET BOOKS

Based in Los Angeles, Ricochet’s stories are anywhere but—set in South Africa, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Estonia and Istanbul. The translated poetry from our sister nonprofit Phoneme Media includes masterful translations from the Spanish, Portuguese, Uyghur and Arabic, as well as the experimental novellas of notorious Mexican writer Mario Bellatin.  

No matter where our stories are set, Ricochet’s mission is simple: to help introduce new voices and perspectives that broaden our view of the world and the people that live in it, rather than confirm what is already familiar and safe. Hopefully, our stories will surprise you in some way.    

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PEN CENTER USA presents EMERGING VOICES MEET AND GREET

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 25th, 2014

PEN Center USA will present an informational evening with current and former Emerging Voices Fellows and mentors for the benefit of interested applicants. Join us for a fellowship overview, a Q&A session, special summer cocktails, and readings by Amanda Fletcher, Natashia Déon, Jamie Schaffner, the 2014 Emerging Voices Fellows, and Samantha Dunn!

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REBECCA RASMUSSEN reads from EVERGREEN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 25th, 2014

Evergreen (Knopf)

From the celebrated author of The Bird Sisters, a gorgeously rendered and emotionally charged novel that spans generations, telling the story of two siblings, raised apart, attempting to share a life.

It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan.

Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost. Set before a backdrop of vanishing forest, this is a luminous novel of love, regret, and hope.

Praise for Evergreen

"Rasmussen has been steadily crafting a unique brand of Midwestern literature that combines offbeat characters and timeless rhythms reminiscent of folk tales with touching story lines about the pain and hard-won joys of real life. . . She shows her strong affection for the picturesque rural setting of yesteryear . . . In this character-driven saga of friendship and the thorny bonds of family, Rasmussen writes with wisdom and compassion about the people and places that shape us, for better or worse."--Sarah Johnson, Booklist

"Evergreen has the power of fable and the wonderful, idiosyncratic precision of memoir. A deeply moving novel of mothers and daughters -- and mothers and sons -- and the ties that bind."--Chris Bohjalian, author of The Sandcastle Girls and Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

"Evergreen is a gem of a novel. The story unfolds with the potency and certainty of fable and explores, with exquisite grace, the redemptive power of love."--Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl

"In luminous, evocative prose, Rebecca Rasmussen weaves a large-hearted story of resilience, hope and forgiveness deep in the wilds of Minnesota. Evergreen traces the gifts and burdens each generation passes on to the next, intentionally or not, and the flinty beauty that can be found in even the most hardscrabble circumstances."--Christina Baker Kline, bestselling author of Orphan Train

"Evergreen reads like a brilliant collaboration between a novelist and a naturalist. Rebecca Rasmussen's stunning eye for detail is perfectly matched by her understanding of how lives turn in an instant, decisions shape distant generations, and sometimes, if we're fortunate, loyalties survive to save us against all odds. Steadily beautiful, occasionally brutal, Evergreen is always vivid, always compelling, always ringing with truth."--Robin Black, author of If I Loved You I Would Tell You This

Rebecca Rasmussen is the author of the novel The Bird Sisters. Her stories have appeared in or won prizes from TriQuarterly, Narrative Magazine, Glimmer Train, The Mid-American Review, among other journals. She was born and raised in the Midwest. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter and teaches English part-time at UCLA.

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SCOTT CHESHIRE reads from HIGH AS THE HORSE’S BRIDLES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 25th, 2014

High As the Horse's Bridles (Henry Holt)

Join us this evening for an urgent, electric debut novel about inheritance, belief, and a father and son divided by a dangerous prophecy.

It's 1980 at a crowded amphitheater in Queens, New York and a nervous Josiah Laudermilk, age 12, is about to step to the stage while thousands of believers wait to hear him, the boy preaching prodigy, pour forth. Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, Josiah's nerves shake away and his words come rushing out, his whole body fills to the brim with the certainty of a strange apocalyptic vision. But is it true prophecy or just a young believer's imagination running wild?

Decades later when Josiah (now Josie) is grown and has long since left the church, he returns to Queens to care for his father who, day by day, is losing his grip on reality. Barreling through the old neighborhood, memories of the past--of his childhood friend Issy, of his first love, of the mother he has yet to properly mourn--overwhelm him at every turn. When he arrives at his family's old house, he's completely unprepared for what he finds. How far back must one man journey to heal a broken bond between father and son?

In rhapsodic language steeped in the oral tradition of American evangelism, Scott Cheshire brings us under his spell. Remarkable in scale--moving from 1980 Queens, to sunny present-day California, to a tent revival in nineteenth century rural Kentucky--and shot-through with the power and danger of belief and the love that binds generations, High as the Horses' Bridles is a bold, heartbreaking debut from a big new American voice.

Praise for High As the Horses' Bridles

“An unflinching exploration of American apocalyptic yearning. So many things at once, High as the Horses' Bridles is the heartbreaking story of a family, of a marriage, of the undying affection between a father and his son, and the redemptive power of love. It also happens to be a deep look at one of the more unsettling aspects of our national character—religion as desire. This is a rare and beautiful debut that will have readers thinking of Aleksandar Hemon, of E.L Doctorow, of Don DeLillo.” ―Colum Mccann

“From its opening tour de force to its equally extraordinary conclusion, Scott Cheshire’s debut is searing and fierce. His protagonist, Josiah Laudermilk, provides a rare bridge from our familiar every day to the strange, rich territory of Evangelical Christianity – and back again. Josiah’s – and Cheshire’s – brilliant evocations make the whole world new. This novel is truly memorable.” ―Claire Messud

“High As the Horses’ Bridles is a great new American epic, one that spans two hundred years, and takes us cross-country from the streets of New York City, to the beaches of Southern California, to the bluegrass hills of Old Kentucky. Cheshire tackles the biggest questions of all, God, love, and death, and he does it with such style and raw psychological insight. Nothing less than Dostoyevskian.” ―Philipp Meyer

“Scott Chesire has made the insane choice to write with nuance and intelligence about religion.High As The Horses' Bridles refuses to dismiss or lampoon the kind of people who are usually just fodder for comedy. Because of this, his debut novel is tender and enlightening, riveting and raw. The man can write but, just as importantly, he keeps his eye on the humane just as surely as the divine.” ―Victor Lavalle

“The prophets of High as the Horses’ Bridles live struggling in anticipation of the Apocalypse they think they want and struggling in denial of the one they already have. In a three-book bible, written to profound and devastating purpose, Scott Cheshire counts the cost in love of inviting the end of the world.” ―Chris Adrian

In High as the Horses' BridlesScott Cheshire explores with poignancy the lasting generational impact of both faith and fanaticism.” ―Said Sayrafiezadeh  

High as Horses' Bridles is a book of revelation, in every sense suffused with biblical allusion. It reveals the hidden histories that shape our lives.” ―Peter Manseau

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JOSH WEIL reads from THE GREAT GLASS SEA and MIKE HARVKEY reads from IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 25th, 2014

 The Great Glass Sea (Grove Press)   In The Course of Human Events (Soft Skull Press)

Join us for a captivating reading from two dynamic writers of fiction.

Josh Weil’s critically acclaimed 2009 novella collection The New Valley was the winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” selection, and a New York Times Editor’s Choice. He follows this success with his debut novel, The Great Glass Sea, an epic, dystopian tale inspired by the true story of Agrikombinat Moskovsky, an area on the outskirts of Moscow that was transformed into a 24 hour greenhouse. Set in an alternate present, Weil spins a tale of brotherly love steeped in Russian folklore that will appeal to fans of Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, beautifully illustrated throughout with Weil’s own line drawings.

In this thrilling debut novel - equal parts satire and morality play - Mike Harvkey shines a sharp light on the dark and radical underbelly of the floundering American Midwest. As he leads us down the violent spiral of a desperate youth, he explores with unflinching acuity the ugly nature of hate, the untempered force of personality, and the sometimes horrific power of having someone believe in you.

Praise for Josh Weil

"Weil meticulously imagines people and their histories, and presents them as a product of their places. This is perhaps the hardest thing for a fiction writer of any age, working in any form, to accomplish.."--Anthony Doerr, New York Times Book Review

"[Weil] gives voice to those without, to those entombed on forgotten hillsides, to those orphaned and tending calves and tractors, reminding us that no matter how isolated, how lonely, tender hearts burn everywhere, they burn bright, and they burn on."--Don Waters, The Believer 

Praise for Mike Harvkey

"With this stunning debut, a major new talent bursts upon the world of American Letters. In the Course of Human Events is as brave as it is brilliant, as unsettling as it is important, and unlike anything else I've read. Mike Harvkey writes scenes of uncommon imagination, characters that leap to life at a single stroke. They will grab you in a bear hug, or by the throat (and sometimes both), and carry you along through a story every bit as gripping. A fearless exploration of an uncomfortable corner of the human heart--and an America little examined and even less understood--this is an important novel. Add to that the fact that it's also so damn funny and here comes one hell of a book." - Josh Weil, author of "The New Valley"

"In the Course of Human Events is a dark, and yet compassionate gaze into the frustrated, violent, and broken heart of America. Mike Harvkey has written a gripping, bold and daring novel unlike any I've had the pleasure of reading before."--Dinaw Mengestu, MacArthur Genius Fellow and author of "How to Read the Air" and "The Wonderful Things that Heaven Bears"

Josh Weil is the author of the The Great Glass Sea (Grove, 2014) and The New Valley (Grove, 2009), a New York Times Editors Choice that won the Sue Kaufman Prize from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New Writers Award from the GLCA, and a “5 Under 35” Award from the National Book Foundation. Weil’s other writing has appeared in Granta, Esquire, One Story, The Sun, and The New York Times. A recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, MacDowell, Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, he has been Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bowling Green State University and Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. He lives in the northern the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Mike Harvkey grew up in rural northwest Missouri, near the city of Independence, a crystal meth stronghold long before Breaking Bad. When he moved to New York in 2001 to attend Columbia’s Creative Writing MFA Program as a Bingham Fellow, he began training Kyokushin, a brutal form of martial art known for bare-knuckle fighting, and was promoted to black belt in 2006. One of his short stories won Zoetrope All-Story Magazine’s short fiction contest; others have been published in Mississippi Review and Alaska Quarterly Review.

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TODD GLASS reads from THE TODD GLASS SITUATION

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 18th, 2014

The Todd Glass Situation (Simon & Schuster)

A hilarious, poignant memoir from comedian Todd Glass about his decision at age forty-eight to finally live openly as a gay man--and the reactions and support from his comedy pals, from Louis CK to Sarah Silverman.

Growing up in a Philadelphia suburb in the 1970s was an easy life. Well, easy as long as you didn't have dyslexia or ADD, or were a Jew. And once you added gay into the mix, life became more difficult. So Todd Glass decided to hide the gay part, no matter how comic, tragic, or comically tragic the results.

It might have been a lot easier had he chosen a profession other than stand-up comedy. By age eighteen, Todd was opening for big musical acts like George Jones and Patti LaBelle. His career carried him through the Los Angeles comedy heyday in the 1980s, its decline in the 1990s, and its rebirth via the alternative comedy scene and the explosion in podcasting. But the harder he worked at his craft, the more difficult it became to manage his "situation." There were the years of abstinence and half-hearted attempts to "cure" himself. The fake girlfriends so that he could tell relationship jokes onstage. The staged sexual encounters to burnish his reputation offstage. It took a brush with death to cause him to rethink the way he was living his life; a rash of suicides among gay teens to convince him that it was finally time to come out to the world.

Now, Todd has written an open, honest, and hilarious memoir in an effort to help everyone--young and old, gay and straight--breathe a little more freely. Peppered with anecdotes from his life among comedy's greatest headliners and tales of the occasionally insane lengths Todd went through to keep a secret that--let's face it--he probably didn't have to keep for as long as he did, The Todd Glass Situation is a front-row seat to the last thirty plus years of comedy history and a deeply personal story about one man's search for acceptance.

Praise for The Todd Glass Situation

“Todd Glass is one of my all-time favorite comedians.But he is not just a brilliant comedian, he is also a terrible friend.”— Sarah Silverman

“Todd Glass is not only the funniest person I know, he might be the funnest. This book is like Todd: fun, engaging and honest. And having ghost written so many classic books (War & Peace, Elmo Goes Shopping, The Celestine Prophecy, The Notebook) it is nice to see Todd finally put his name on one! Also: Todd Glass is much funnier than his brother Ira.”— Jim Gaffigan

“Todd is a human hurricane and comedic force of nature. And now that hurricane has written a book. HOW DID HE TYPE WITH HIS WIND-FINGERS?”— Patton Oswalt

“There are comics and then there are comic’s comics. Todd Glass is the rare comic’s comic’s comic. Which means six people find him funny.”— Norm Macdonald

Todd Glass is a stand-up comedian who has performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Jimmy Kimmel Show, among many other programs. He’s also the host of The Todd Glass Show, a popular podcast on the Nerdist Network. Visit www.ToddGlass.com and follow Todd on Twitter at @toddglass.

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EDAN LEPUCKI reads from CALIFORNIA: A NOVEL

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 18th, 2014

California (Little Brown and Company)

A former Skylight staffer comes home to read from her much anticipated debut novel! You might recognize this book is you're a regular viewer of The Colbert Report -- this is the novel Sherman Alexie and Stephen Colbert recommended on the June 3 show! (You can pre-order it from us, too. Just click the Add to Cart button below.)

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. 

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust. 

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

Praise for California

“In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities.” —Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize winner

“An expansive, full-bodied and masterful narrative of humans caught in the most extreme situations, with all of our virtues and failings on full display: courage, cowardice, trust, betrayal, honor and expedience. The final eighty pages of this book gripped me as much as any fictional denouement I’ve encountered in recent years....I firmly believe that Edan Lepucki is on the cusp of a long, strong career in American letters.”—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

“Edan Lepucki is the very best kind of writer: simultaneously generous and precise. I have long been an admirer of her prose, but this book—this book, this massive, brilliant book—is a four-alarm fire, the ambitious and rich introduction that a writer of her caliber deserves. I can’t wait for the world to know what I have known for so many years, that Edan Lepucki is the real thing, and that we will all be bowing at her feet before long.” —Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures

“A stunning and brilliant novel, which is a wholly original take on the post-apocalypse genre, an end-of-the-world we’ve never seen before and yet is uncomfortably believable and recognizable. By turns funny and heartbreaking, scary and tender, beautifully written and compulsively page-turning, this is a book that will haunt me, and that I’ll be thankful to return to in the years to come. It left me speechless. Read it, and prepare yourself.” —Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

“It’s tempting to call this novel post-apocalyptic, but really, it’s about an apocalypse in progress, an apocalypse that might already be happening, one that doesn’t so much break life into before and after as unravel it bit by bit. Edan Lepucki tells her tale with preternatural clarity and total believability, in large part by focusing on the relationships—between husband and wife, brother and sister, parent and child—that are, it turns out, apocalypse-proof. Post-nothing. California is timeless.”—Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Edan Lepucki is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a staff writer for The Millions. Her short fiction has been published in McSweeney’s and Narrative magazine, and she is the founder and director of Writing Workshops Los Angeles. 

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JULIA FIERRO reads from CUTTING TEETH, IVY POCHODA reads from VISITATION STREET, CAELI WOLFSON WIDGER reads from REAL HAPPY FAMILY and JJ KEITH reads from her forthcoming debut novel

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 11th, 2014

Julia Fierro's debut novel, Cutting Teeth, was recently included on "Most Anticipated Books of 2014" lists by HuffPost Books, The Millions, Flavorwire, Brooklyn Magazine and Marie Claire. Her work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Guernica, Ploughshares, The Millions, Flavorwire, Poets & Writers, Glamour and other publications, and she has been profiled in the L Magazine, The Observer and The Economist. In 2002, she founded The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, and what started as eight writers meeting in her Brooklyn kitchen has grown into a creative home for over 2000 writers. She is a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow, and currently teaches the Post-MFA workshops at Sackett Street. Julia lives in Brooklyn and can be found online at juliafierro.com and on Twitter @juliafierro 

Ivy Pochoda is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Visitation Street published by Ecco / Dennis Lehane Books. Visitation Street was chosen as an Amazon Best Book of the Month, Amazon Best Book of 2013, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Huffington Post, Self, and House & Garden. Her first novel The Art of Disappearing, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2009. Ivy has a BA from Harvard College in Classical Greek and an MFA from Bennington College in fiction. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in downtown Los Angeles with her husband Justin Nowell.

Caeli Wolfson Widger is the author of the novel Real Happy Family (New Harvest/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 2014).  Her work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times Magazine, Another Chicago Magazine, and the Madison Review, as well as on NPR and CBS Radio. She earned her MFA from the University of Montana and currently resides in Santa Monica, where she teaches fiction for Writing Workshops Los Angeles. 

JJ Keith has written for Salon, the Huffington Post, The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Bitch, Babble, The Hairpin, Role/Reboot, Reader's Digest and other publications. Her first book will be out in 2014 from Skyhorse Publishing. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

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BRANDO SKYHORSE reads from TAKE THIS MAN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 11th, 2014

Take This Man (Simon & Schuster)

Join us this evening and welcome back an icon of literary Los Angeles, Brando Skyhorse!

From PEN/Hemingway award winner Brando Skyhorse comes this stunning, heartfelt memoir in the vein of "The Glass Castle "or "The Tender Bar," the true story of a boy's turbulent childhood growing up with five stepfathers and the mother who was determined to give her son everything but the truth.

When he was three years old, Brando Kelly Ulloa was abandoned by his Mexican father. His mother, Maria, dreaming of a more exciting life, saw no reason for her son to live his life as a Mexican just because he started out as one. The life of "Brando Skyhorse," the American Indian son of an incarcerated political activist, was about to begin.

Through a series of letters to Paul Skyhorse Johnson, a stranger in prison for armed robbery, Maria reinvents herself and her young son as American Indians in the colorful Mexican-American neighborhood of Echo Park, California. There Brando and his mother live with his acerbic grandmother and a rotating cast of surrogate fathers. It will be over thirty years before Brando begins to untangle the truth of his own past, when a surprise discovery online leads him to his biological father at last.

From an acclaimed, prize-winning novelist celebrated for his "indelible storytelling" ("O, The Oprah Magazine"), this extraordinary literary memoir captures a son's single-minded search for a father wherever he can find one, and is destined to become a classic.

 Praise for Take This Man

"Take This Man is a grand story full of fantastic characters--characters whom the author brings vividly to life because they ARE his life. Skyhorses's shifting identity creates an intense quest for meaning, a kind of whodunit memoir that explores the sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, often absurd, and always fascinating childhood that the author, no matter his lineage, has no choice but to claim as his own. Pour a shot of Wolff's This Boy's Life, add a jigger of Moehringer's The Tender Bar, throw in a splash of Rivera's Family Installments, and this is what you get: a heady cocktail of memories with a twist."--Kim Barnes, Author of In the Kingdom of Men and In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country

"Take This Man is as astonishing a memoir as I've ever read. Brando Skyhorse's beautifully-told tale of his truly bizarre childhood and his search for a father moved me in a way that few books have. I will never forget Skyhorse's charismatic mother and grandmother, nor the tortured triangle the three of them formed. I was reminded at times of Geoffrey Wolff's "The Duke of Deception", and also of "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls and "The Tender Bar" by J.R. Moehringer. But I guarantee that this is a family story unlike any you've read before. It deserves to become a classic."--Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club

"The details of Brando Skyhorse's life are as outlandish and attention-grabbing as his name. Imagine the kind of mother who advertises you for adoption in the back of a magazine and then denies it to your face, or the kind of stepfather who calls his prison 'Arizona State, ' as if discussing his alma mater. Take This Man is a funny and harrowing and touching portrait of the abyss in families between what we know we should do and how our hearts lead us to behave."--Jim Shepard, author of Like You'd Understand, Anyway and You Think That's Bad

"A beautiful, compassionate, but also hilarious and hair-raising tale of one boy's life, the lies and truths his mother told, and the damage and the magic she created. Brando Skyhorse is an irresistible writer with an incredible story."--Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle

"This gorgeous, wrenching, ultimately uplifting book is a testament to the large and generous heart of its author. Brando Skyhorse has made art out of the chaos of his own extraordinary family history, and, in so doing, has raised the bar, not only for memoirists, but for us all."--Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of Still Writing

"Take This Man reaches beyond the bounds of my imagination. We use the word "survivor" with disgracefully casual ease. But this writer truly survived being held hostage, raised by wolves. Brando's grandmother and mother are terrifying and mesmerizing. Their cruelty to their biographer was audacious, calculated and thrilling to read. Stories molested him and nourished him. And it is with relief that I read in Take This Man flashes of Brando's bitterness and heat, sane fury directed at the Scheherazades who toyed with him. Whatever else they did to him, when he escaped he knew how to tell a story, and this is one hell of story."--Geoffrey Wolff, author of The Duke of Deception

Brando Skyhorse's debut novel, The Madonnas of Echo Park, received the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award and the Sue Kaufman Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The book was also a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. He has been awarded fellowships at Ucross and Can Serrat, Spain. Skyhorse is a graduate of Stanford University and the MFA Writers' Workshop program at UC Irvine. He is the 2014 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-In-Washington at George Washington University. 

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SMITH HENDERSON reads from FOURTH OF JULY CREEK in conversation wtih BRIAN MCGREEVY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 11th, 2014

Fourth of July Creek (Ecco)

Smith Henderson, author of one of the most anticipated debut novels of the season, discusses his work with novelist Brian McGreevy (Hemlock Grove).

In this shattering and iconic American novel, PEN prize-winning writer, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation's disquieting and violent contradictions.

After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face to face with the boy's profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times.

But as Pete's own family spins out of control, Pearl's activities spark the full-blown interest of the F.B.I., putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Praise for Fourth of July Creek:

“This book left me awestruck; a stunning debut which reads like the work of a writer at the height of his power…Fourth of July Creek is a masterful achievement and Smith Henderson is certain to end up a household name.”—Philipp Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of The Son

“Fourth of July Creek knocked me flat. This gorgeous, full-bodied novel seems to contain all of America at what was, in retrospect, a pivotal moment in its history...Smith Henderson has delivered nothing less than a masterpiece of a novel."—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

“Fourth of July Creek cannot possibly be Smith Henderson’s first book. Its scope is audacious, its range virtuosic, its gaze steady and true. A riveting story written in a seductive and relentlessly authentic rural American vernacular, this is the kind of novel I wish I’d written.”—Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn

“Fourth of July Creek is an astonishing read. The writing is energetic and precise. Henderson has a mastery of scale that allows this particular place and these particular people to illuminate who we are as Americans...I could not recommend this book more highly.”—Kevin Powers, bestselling author of The Yellow Birds

“Tremendously satisfying—think Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone...or Jimmy McNulty...set...in...another kind of violent American wilderness...[a] mesmerizing accomplishment. I cannot think of a finer first novel; it’s hard, in fact, to think of a finer second, third, or fourth one, either.”Antonya Nelson

Smith Henderson was born and raised in western Montana. His family were in the timber industry, ranching, and other trades, but he was the first to go to college, earning a Classics degree. He worked with traumatized children for a few years, and briefly as prison guard. He took writing jobs where he could find them, until he was admitted to the MFA program at the University of Texas. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of journals and been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. In 2011 he was the Philip Roth Resident and Bucknell University and won the Emerging Writer Award in Fiction from the PEN Foundation. 

Brian McGreevy is the author of Hemlock Grove, which was adapted into a Netflix series of the same name. He is also a founding partner of the production company El Jefe, with multiple film and television projects in development. A former James Michener Fellow in fiction at the University of Texas, he currently lives in Los Angeles. 

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BRITTANI SONNENBERG reads from HOME LEAVE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 11th, 2014

 Home Leave (Grand Central Publishing)

Chris Kriegstein is a man on the move, with a global career that catapults his family across North America, Europe, and Asia. For his wife, Elise, the hardship of chronic relocation is soothed by the allure of reinvention. Over the years, Elise shape-shifts: once a secretive Southern Baptist, she finds herself becoming a seasoned expat in Shanghai, an unapologetic adulterer in Thailand, and, finally, a renowned interior decorator in Madison. 

But it's the Kriegstein daughters, Leah and Sophie, who face the most tumult. Fiercely protective of each other-but also fiercely competitive-the two sisters long for stability in an ever-changing environment. With each new move, the girls find they can count on only one thing: the consoling, confounding presence of each other. 

When the family suffers an unimaginable loss, they can't help but wonder: Was it meant to be, or did one decision change their lives forever? And what does it mean when home is everywhere and nowhere at the same time? With humor and heart, Brittani Sonnenberg chases this wildly loveable family through the excitement and anguish of their adventures around the world.  

Praise for Home Leave

“It's hard to believe that this astonishing novel is Brittani Sonnenberg's first--she writes about family with such wisdom, humor, and native daring. Here is Persephone's journey, undertaken by an entire family, the Kriegsteins, who ricochet through time zones, moving from Berlin to Singapore to Wisconsin to Shanghai to Atlanta, together and alone. Sonnenberg's prose is so vital and so enchanting that you will read this book in the dilated state of a world-traveler, with all of your senses wide open. Her family members are so well-drawn and complex that you'll close this book certain they exist.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove

“Brittani Sonnenberg, like the best storytellers, shows us what we carry and what we leave behind as we travel across time zones (from America to Germany to Singapore), as we sit in airports, alone with the aloneness, as we love, live, grieve, and then try to live once more. Authentic, beautiful, bravely-told, Home Leave is alive with characters you want to protect and hold—characters you won’t want to leave behind.”—Nami Mun, author of Miles from Nowhere

“Home Leave is a remarkable debut, notable for the insightful intimacy of its characterization and a restless formal invention which perfectly evokes the uncertainties of expatriate life.”—Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl 

Brittani Sonnenberg was raised across three continents and has worked as a journalist in Germany, China, and throughout Southeast Asia. A graduate of Harvard, she received her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. Her fiction has been published in The O'Henry Prize Stories 2008 as well as Ploughshares, Short Fiction, and Asymptote. Her nonfiction has appeared in Time, the Associated Press, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NPR Berlin. She has taught creative writing at the University of Michigan, Carleton College, and the University of Hong Kong. She is currently based in Berlin. Home Leave is her debut novel.  

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GREG SESTERO and TOM BISSELL present THE DISASTER ARTIST, together with JULIETTE DANIELLE, KYLE VOGT, ROBYN PARIS and JOSEPH SETELE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 11th, 2014

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made (Simon & Schuster)

Join us tonight for a very special event as we, along with cast and crew, step inside The Room, the movie Patton Oswalt referred to as "modern-day Plan 9 From Outer Space."

As part of tonight's event we'll be celebrating the release of the audiobook version of The Disaster Artist and will be screening a special behind-the-scenes, making-of documentary together with cast members Juliette Danielle (LISA),Kyle Vogt (PETER), and Robyn Paris (MICHELLE) and camera operator Joseph Setele. A can't miss event from a movie that redefines the term "cult classic."

In 2003, an independent film called "The Room"--starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau--made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as "like getting stabbed in the head," the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Ten years later, it's an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.

Hailed by "The Huffington Post" as "possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed," "The Disaster Artist" is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Greg Sestero, Tommy's costar, recounts the film's bizarre journey to infamy, explaining how the movie's many nonsensical scenes and bits of dialogue came to be and unraveling the mystery of Tommy Wiseau himself. But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, "The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I've read in years" ("Los Angeles Times)."

Praise for The Disaster Artist

"Finally, a hilarious, delusional, and weirdly inspirational explanation for the most deliciously awful movie ever made."--Rob Lowe, actor and author of Stories I Only Tell My Friends

"A great portrayal of hopefuls coming to Los Angeles to pursue their ambitions, and an even greater examination of what it means to be a creative person with a dream and trying to make it come true….In so many ways. Tommy c’est moi."– James Franco, VICE.com

"The Disaster Artist has to be one of the funniest, most deliciously twisted tales I have ever read. This extraordinary book is many things: a guide on how to succeed, sort of, in Hollywood; a life lesson in the virtues of deaf, dumb, and blind persistence; a very surreal variation on the archetypal American story of the immigrant dream. But at its heart lies the story of a deep and abiding friendship that survives against all odds, and the insanely bizarre film that stands as proof."--Ben Fountain, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

"The Disaster Artist doesnt just answer the question: How do awful cult movies get made? It also reminds us how confusing, hilarious, and wonderful it is to be in your 20s, and why youre glad you dont have to do it twice. Its like a wonderfully weird mash-up of a contemporary Candide and Sunset Boulevard.--Joel Stein, author of Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity

"One of the worst movies of all time has spawned one of the most entertaining books I've read in years. It's a happy ending worthy of Hollywood."--A. J. Jacobs, author of Drop Dead Healthy

Greg Sestero is an actor, producer, and writer. He was born in Walnut Creek, California and raised between the San Francisco Bay Area and Europe. He is fluent in both French and English. At the age of 17, Greg began his career in entertainment by modeling in Milan for such designers as Valentino and Armani. Upon returning to California, Greg went onto pursue acting and appeared in several films and television shows before co-starring in the international cult phenomenon The Room. Greg's many passions include film, sports, nutrition, animals, and traveling

Tom Bissell is the author of Chasing the Sea, Extra Lives, Magic Hours, God Lives in St. Petersburg and the  winner of the Rome Prize and a Guggenheim  Fellowship.  He writes frequently for Harper’s and The New Yorker. Originally from Escanaba Michigan, he now resides in Los Angeles.

 

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EMMA STRAUB reads from THE VACATIONERS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 4th, 2014

The Vacationers (Riverhead Books) 

Skylight Books is proud to welcome back one of our favorite authors, Emma Straub!

For the Post family, a luxurious vacation to the island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is meant as a celebration of Franny and Jim’s thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and their daughter’s graduation from high school. 

The sunlit beaches, mountains, tennis and tapas also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan.  But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the trip, secrets come to light, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds reopen.  Written with Straub’s signature wry humor and tremendous heart,The Vacationers is the richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of change and the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again. 

Praise for The Vacationers: 

“I would read anything Emma Straub writes. She's a natural talent and a gorgeous and witty storyteller, who makes each sentence of The Vacationers look not only easy, but perfectly real. I came to care so deeply about every single character in this great travelogue of a novel that I found myself unable to go to sleep at night until I was certain they had all landed safely. And they will linger with me, this richly imagined family, long into the future.”—Elizabeth Gilbert

“Witty, big-hearted, and packed with wisdom, The Vacationers is a breezy read that sneaks in its emotional wallops and leaves you smiling for days.”—Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette

The Vacationers is a beautifully told story that walks the tightrope of family angst and connection with hilarity and truth. . .  Straub's writing is deft, clear and wise in ways that will surprise and delight you. It's a beyond the beach read. It's Ms. Straub at her dazzling best.”—Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker’s Wife

“Charming and absorbing, this is a novel that demands to be read in long, satisfying gulps.”—Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements

“We’re sure you’ll see armies of folks reading The Vacationers on the beach over the summer”—Flavorwire

Emma Straub is from New York City. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in Vogue, Tin House, the New York Times, and the Paris Review Daily. She is a staff writer for Rookie. Straub lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn, New York.

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WALLY RUDOLPH reads from FOUR CORNERS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 4th, 2014

Four Corners (Soft Skull Press)

Writing under the pen name of Wally Rudolph, writer/actor Walter Wong (best known for his role as Chris 'V-Lin' Von Lin on Sons of Anarchy) drops readers into the bare-knuckled world of Frank Bruce, a 37-year-old meth addict tangled up crime, drugs, and his far-too-young fiancé, Maddie. Struggling to be a decent man and leave his toxic life behind, Frank's attempt to save his best friend's son from the child's violent grandfather turns into nightmare of drugs, kidnapping, and corruption.

Set in the striking southwestern landscape of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, Wally creates a cast of unfortunate, marginalized characters and tells their story with dignity, compassion, and in their own unflinching words.  

PRAISE FOR FOUR CORNERS

"Wally Rudolph's meth-and-cocaine-addled protagonists reel through a nonstop catastrophe of violence, flight, and revenge, too self-destructive to have anything more than a prayer--but they are real. They suffer and love and worship, however crazily. The action is urgent and compelling, the details are as crisp as the light that falls on Santa Fe. Wally knows the territory. And the territory is the human heart." --Jack Butler, Pulitzer Prize Nominee for Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock

"Four Corners is a book that will stay with me for a long time, an outstanding first novel by a writer unafraid to scrape the crud off the floor of the human psyche. The best kind of crime fiction." --Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest and Hop Alley

Born in Canada to Jamaican immigrant parents, Wally Rudolph smoked marijuana for the first time at the age of fourteen, beginning a fifteen-year affair with illicit drugs that had him drop out of college and took him back and fourth across the American Midwest. His fiction has been published in Milk MoneyLines+Stars, The Brooklyner, and others. A graduate of The Second City Conservatory in Chicago, he now resides with his family  in Los Angeles. As an actor, he has appeared in numerous films and TV shows including "Street Kings," "Bang Bang," and "Sons of Anarchy."

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STEPHEN GRECO reads from NOW AND YESTERDAY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on July 4th, 2014

Now and Yesterday (Kensington Publishing)

In the three decades since Peter first moved into his Brooklyn apartment, almost every facet of his life has changed. Once a broke, ambitious poet, Peter is now a successful advertising executive. He's grateful for everything the years have given him--wealth, friends, security. But he's conscious too of what time has taken in return, and a busy stream of invitations doesn't dull the ache that remains since he lost the love of his life.

Will is a young, aspiring journalist hungry for everything New York has to offer--culture, sophistication, adventure. When he moonlights as a bartender at one of Peter's parties, the two strike up a tentative friendship that soon becomes more important than either expected. In Peter, Will sees the ease and confidence he strives for, while Peter is suddenly aware of just how lonely his life has become. But forging a connection means navigating very different sets of experience and expectations, as each decides how to make a place for himself in the world--and who to share it with.

Beautifully written, warm yet incisive, Now and Yesterday offers a fascinating exploration of two generations--and of the complex, irrefutable power of friendship--through the prism of an eternally changing city. 

Stephen Greco has contributed features on the arts and entertainment, style and fashion, youth culture, and new media to publications such as The Advocate, American Way, aRude, Art News, Casa Vogue, Dancemagazine, Elle, Elle Decor, Empire, France, HX, Harper's Bazaar, Latina, the London Observer, the Journal of Movement Research, Manhattan File, New York magazine, the New Yorker, the New York Times online, Opera News, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

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