WRITEGIRL presents their latest anthology YOU ARE HERE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2015

You Are Here (Writegirl Publications)

 WriteGirl is an innovative nonprofit organization that empowers teen girls through creative writing. Join us for this special chance to hear our WriteGirl teens speak their minds and read their original poetry and prose. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be surprised—you won’t want to miss this one! Skylight Books has truly become a part of WriteGirl tradition.

WriteGirl’s latest anthology, You Are Here: The WriteGirl Journey, showcases the stories of 161 women and girls navigating their way through small moments and big adventures. You Are Here is available for purchase at Skylight Books.

Praise for WriteGirl

“These girls started with a few words and the seed of an idea. With WriteGirl's encouragement, each girl allowed the words to keep coming until her idea grew into an essay, a story, or a poem. What do writers do? They write. And how lucky we are to have these writers' words to inspire us!” – Carole King, GRAMMY Award-winning singer and songwriter

“The work of these young women reminds me what it's like to be young. Their voices are clear and passionate, carefully observant and exuberant. They celebrate their friends, their neighborhoods, new love, and mourn the losses from which their youth can't shield them. They tell the truth.” – Terry Wolverton, author

WriteGirl is a nonprofit organization for Los Angeles high school girls (ages 13-18) centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression. Through one-on-one mentoring and monthly workshops, girls are given techniques, insights and hot tips for great writing in all genres from professional women writers.

Founder and Executive Director Keren Taylor and WriteGirl’s unique programming have received numerous awards and commendations for exemplary community service, including being honored with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by First Lady Michelle Obama. While such recognition is much appreciated, WriteGirl is most proud of the accomplishments of its teen members—100% of our graduating seniors have entered college, many on full or partial scholarships.

For more information, please visit http://www.writegirl.org or email info@writegirl.org

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DAVID VANN reads from his novel AQUARIUM

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2015

Aquarium (Grove Press)

 Please welcome back to Skylight Books one of our favorite authors, David Vann!

 Twelve-year-old Caitlin lives alone with her mother—a docker at the local container port—in subsidized housing next to an airport in Seattle. Each day, while she waits to be picked up after school, Caitlin visits the local aquarium to study the fish. Gazing at the creatures within the watery depths, Caitlin accesses a shimmering universe beyond her own. When she befriends an old man at the tanks one day, who seems as enamored of the fish as she, Caitlin cracks open a dark family secret and propels her once-blissful relationship with her mother toward a precipice of terrifying consequence.

In crystalline, chiseled, yet graceful prose, Aquarium takes us into the heart of a brave young girl whose longing for love and capacity for forgiveness transforms the damaged people around her. Relentless and heartbreaking, primal and redemptive,Aquarium is a transporting story from one of the best American writers of our time.

Published in twenty languages, David Vann’s previous books—A Mile Down; Legend of a Suicide; Caribou Island; Last Day On Earth; Dirt; and Goat Mountain—have won enormous critical acclaim. A former Guggenheim fellow, Wallace Stegner fellow, John L’Heureux fellow, and NEA fellow, he has taught at Stanford, Cornell, FSU, USF, holds degrees from Stanford and Cornell, and is currently a Professor at the University of Warwick in England and Honorary Professor at the University of Franche-Comté in France.

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ALLAN MACDONELL discusses his book PUNK ELEGIESALLAN MACDONELL discusses his book PUNK ELEGIES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2015

Punk Elegies (Rare Bird Books)

 Punk Elegies arrives like a chemically unstable mixture of Richard Yates and Damon Runyon. Set along Hollywood Boulevard at the birth of punk and the death of the 1970s, the thirty-three melancholic, comic laments of Punk Elegies are a mesmerizing concoction of delusion and revelation. A cultural moment, a marriage and one young man's mind and soul spiral through a series of boundless possibilities and arrive at a harrowing finality. In the end, on the spin cycle of destiny, MacDonell circles alone, naked and bewildered in the labyrinth of a pre-AIDS bathhouse inferno. The first sunrise of the rest of his life dares him to step outside.

Allan MacDonell is the author of Prisoner of X: 20 Years in the Hole at Hustler Magazine and was a defining voice of the groundbreaking punk periodical Slashmagazine. While writing for Slash, he also co-invented slam-dancing.

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PAUL BEATTY discusses his new novel THE SELLOUT, together with DANZY SENNA

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2015

The Sellout (Farrar Straus Giroux)

 A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant.

Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens—on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles—the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I’d die in the same bedroom I’d grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that’ve been there since ’68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.

Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident—the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins—he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

Praise for The Sellout

The Sellout is brilliant. Amazing. Like demented angels wrote it.”—Sarah Silverman

“I am glad that I read this insane book alone, with no one watching, because I fell apart with envy, hysterics, and flat-out awe. Is there a more fiercely brilliant and scathingly hilarious American novelist than Paul Beatty?”—Ben Marcus

“Paul Beatty has always been one of smartest, funniest, gutsiest writers in America, but The Sellout sets a new standard. It’s a spectacular explosion of comic daring, cultural provocation, brilliant, hilarious prose, and genuine heart.”—Sam Lipsyte

 “Beatty, author of the deservedly highly praised The White Boy Shuffle (1996), here outdoes himself and possibly everybody else in a send-up of race, popular culture, and politics in today’s America . . . Beatty hits on all cylinders in a darkly funny, dead-on-target, elegantly written satire . . . [The Sellout] is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and, in the way of the great ones, profoundly thought provoking. A major contribution.”—Mark Levine, Booklist (starred review)

“Beatty creates a wicked satire that pokes fun at all that is sacred to life in the United States . . . His story is full of the unexpected, resulting in absurd and hilarious drama.”—Library Journal

Paul Beatty is the author of three novels—Slumberland, Tuff, and The White Boy Shuffle—and two books of poetry: Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. He lives in New York City. 

Danzy Senna is the author of two novels, Caucasia and Symptomatic, the memoir, Where Did You Sleep Last Night? (FSG, 2009), and a collection of short stories entitled You Are Free (Riverhead, 2011). Her fiction and essays have appeared in publications such as Vogue, O Magazine, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, as well as The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. She has been a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Percival Everett, and their children.




ALLAN MACDONELL discusses his book PUNK ELEGIES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2015

Punk Elegies (Rare Bird Books)

Punk Elegies arrives like a chemically unstable mixture of Richard Yates and Damon Runyon. Set along Hollywood Boulevard at the birth of punk and the death of the 1970s, the thirty-three melancholic, comic laments of Punk Elegies are a mesmerizing concoction of delusion and revelation. A cultural moment, a marriage and one young man's mind and soul spiral through a series of boundless possibilities and arrive at a harrowing finality. In the end, on the spin cycle of destiny, MacDonell circles alone, naked and bewildered in the labyrinth of a pre-AIDS bathhouse inferno. The first sunrise of the rest of his life dares him to step outside.

Allan MacDonell is the author of Prisoner of X: 20 Years in the Hole at Hustler Magazine and was a defining voice of the groundbreaking punk periodical Slashmagazine. While writing for Slash, he also co-invented slam-dancing.




SCOTT TIMBERG discusses his new book CULTURE CRASH: THE KILLING OF THE CREATIVE CLASS, together with JANET FITCH

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2015

Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class (Yale University Press)

 Rapid change is part of life in the twenty-first century, and we must all adjust to an evolving world. But for many thousands of creative artists, a torrent of recent changes has made it nearly impossible to earn a living. A persistent economic recession, social shifts, and technological change have combined to put our artists and those whose work supports them—from graphic designers to indie-rock musicians, from architects to booksellers—out of work.

As a group, artists, writers, and musicians have never been rich, but for most of American history, Scott Timberg argues, they have been able to build modest middle class lives through diligent work. Today, even artists who are quite successful—musicians with loyal fans and respected albums, award-winning novelists, visual artists with work in museum collections, architects with national reputations—cannot hold onto the benefits of the middle class: stable housing, access to healthcare, and educational opportunities for their kids. Along with artists themselves, the institutions and structures that have traditionally supported them have been decimated. Publishers, booksellers, galleries, record and video stores, radio stations, and newspapers have hemorrhaged jobs in a world of instantly available digital content and music piracy.

In addition to a brutal recession and a tidal wave of technology, Timberg examines other drivers of the crisis. Trends in academia have devalued literature, focusing instead on impenetrable theory. An avant garde that disdains “middlebrow” artistic production has led to a shrinking audience for art. Radio monopolies have homogenized the airwaves. The music industry has invested almost all resources in a tiny number of hitmakers. Perhaps most important, entrenched stereotypes of artists as idle dreamers or entitled bohemians, rather than hardworking, highly trained professionals, have made it hard for the broader society to see their vital economic and cultural contribution. Americans respond with more sympathy for job losses in the agrarian economy or in manufacturing than to similarly devastating losses in the creative economy.  

Timberg considers both the human costs and the unintended consequences for America if the people who create and support culture cannot stay in the middle class. When only the  independently wealthy can afford to engage in creative pursuits, he warns, culture becomes more narrow, robbed of important and critical perspectives.  When artists and artisans can’t make a living, we all pay the price.

Full of original reporting and thoughtful analysis, Culture Crash provides a sweeping overview of a very real crisis affecting real workers and their families as well as the broader culture. It is alarming and essential reading for anyone who works in a creative field, knows someone who does, or cares about the work artists produce.

Praise for Culture Crash:

“Scott Timberg has written an original and important study. He explores some of the most pressing cultural issues affecting the arts and intellectual life with remarkable clarity. This is the first analysis of our current culture from the bottom up—the precarious situation of the individual artists, writers, and musicians who are now struggling to survive.”—Dana Gioia, poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

“I read Scott Timberg’s pieces every week without fail. It’s great to see his book Culture Crash debunk the mumbo jumbo about the long tail, file-sharing, free information, and positive thinking —and take a hard look at what it all means for artists, musicians, critics and teachers.”—Dean Wareham, lead singer of Luna and author of Black Postcards: A Memoir

“We’ve all had the feeling of these enormous changes—long in the making, not ‘at the last minute’—but Scott Timberg has the synthesis that makes them make sense. Culture Crash throws a clear, defining light on the squeeze that digitally-based economies have put on our artists, the analog makers who have always defined us to ourselves. A hugely important book.”—Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age

“With coolness and equanimity, Scott Timberg tells what in less-skilled hands could have been an overwrought horror story: the end of culture as we have known it.  He mourns the loss of independent book- and record-store clerks who evangelized for quality.  He grieves for artists' ‘day jobs’, which allowed creative workers a toehold in the middle-class. Culture Crash is an urgent, necessary book (or eBook) for anyone who has ever been moved by a song, a film, a paragraph or a painting. Without the humanities, Timberg cautions, we may lose our humanity.”—M.G. Lord, author of Forever Barbie and The Accidental Feminist

Scott Timberg is a Los Angeles-based culture writer, contributing writer for Salon, and onetime LA Times arts reporter who has contributed to The New York Times, GQ, and The Hollywood Reporter. He is the co-editor, along with Dana Gioia, of the anthology The Misread City: New Literary Los Angeles. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he runs ArtsJournal’s CultureCrash blog and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

Janet Fitch is the author of the novels Paint It Black and White Oleander. Her short stories and essays have appeared in anthologies and journals such as Black Clock, Room of One's Own, and Los Angeles Noir, and she is a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.  A film version of Paint It Black has been recently shot in Silverlake and downtown.  She is currently finishing a novel set during the Russian Revolution. Her publisher, Little Brown, owned by Hachette Book Group,  went 14 rounds with marketing giant Amazon last year.

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CALARTS MFA students read from their work

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 23rd, 2015

Sydney Barile is a writer. She lives in Los Angeles—the city where she was born and raised; a city that continues to inspire and influence her work.

Anna Cruze is a writer and artist whose fictional work focuses on the supernatural/uncanny. Anna runs You Nerd You, a YouTube channel where she posts
lifestyle videos and discusses popular genre film, television and literature. She earned a BFA in Film/Video from CalArts in 2010. 

Regine Darius is a writer, associate editor and event planner for the internationally acclaimed magazine, Black Clock, and blogger for My Story Matters at
msmprettylipssealed.blogspot.com, where she explores and shares her Christian faith through devotionals. Darius also written for The Eye, Whole Magazine and The Good Women Project and is featured in the CalArts’ Writing program’s collection, Everybody Hold My Hand Right Now I Swear to God! 

Michelle Cohen is a native Californian writer and poet based in Los Angeles.

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SARAH MANGUSO discusses her new book ONGOINGNESS: THE END OF A DIARY, together with MIRANDA JULY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 18th, 2015

Ongoingness: The End of A Diary (Graywolf Press)

 In her third book that continues to define the contours of the contemporary essay, Sarah Manguso confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for twenty-five years. “I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened,” she explains. But this simple statement belies a terror that she might forget something, that she might miss something important. Maintaining that diary, now 800,000 words, had become, until recently, a kind of spiritual practice.

Then Manguso became pregnant and had a child, and these two Copernican events generated an amnesia that put her into a different relationship with the need to document herself amid ongoing time. Ongoingness is a spare, meditative work that stands in stark contrast to the volubility of the diary—it is a haunting account of mortality and impermanence, of how we struggle to find clarity amid the chaos of time that rushes around and over and through us.

Praise for Ongoingness:

“The memoir form is shaken up and reinvented in this brilliant meditation on time and record-keeping. Ongoingness is a short book but there’s nothing small about it. Sarah Manguso covers vast territory with immense subtlety and enviable wit.”—Jenny Offill

“It seemed scarcely possible that, after The Two Kinds of Decay and The Guardians, Sarah Manguso’s work could get more urgent, but somehow it has. Ongoingness confronts the deepest processes and myths of life and death: birth, marriage, illness, mourning, motherhood, art. Underwriting this book, as is true of all of Manguso’s books, is writing itself. Or, rather, the writing is about itself in the best, most vital sense. Our author/narrator/speaker/heroine is never not asking the most fundamental question, namely, Why live? The seriousness of the inquiry gives this book extraordinary purpose, momentum, and value. I am in awe.”—David Shields

“After I had my son I looked everywhere for a book that might serve as some kind of mirror. I bought so many silly books. Now I see what the problem was: I wanted a book about time—about mortality. I can’t think of a writer who is at once so experimentally daring and so rigorously uncompromising as Sarah Manguso. Ongoingness is an incredibly elegant, wise book, and I loved it.”—Miranda July

Sarah Manguso is the author of two memoirs, The Guardians and The Two Kinds of Decay, two poetry collections, and a short story collection. Her essays have appeared in Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, and theNew York Times Magazine. Born and raised near Boston, she was educated at Harvard and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Los Angeles.

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LATIFAH SALOM reads from her debut novel THE CAKE HOUSE

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 18th, 2015

The Cake House (Vintage)

 Part mystery, part compelling coming-of-age tale, The Cake House is a riveting debut novel that re-imagines the classic story of Hamlet amidst the hills of suburban Los Angeles.

Rosaura Douglas's father shot himself when her mother left him . . . or at least that's the story everyone is telling. Now her mother has remarried and Rosie is trapped in a new home she calls "The Cake House," a garish pink edifice that's a far cry from the cramped apartment where she grew up. It's also the house where her father died--a fact that everyone else who lives there, including her mother, Dahlia, and her mysteriously wealthy stepfather, Claude, want to forget.

Soon, however, her father's ghost begins to appear; first as a momentary reflection in a window, then in the dark of night, and finally, in the lush garden behind the house where Rosie spends most of her days. After he warns her that Claude is not to be trusted, Rosie begins to notice cracks in her new family's carefully constructed facade. Dahlia is clearly uncomfortable in her marriage; her stepbrother, Alex, is friendly one second, distant the next, and haunted by troubles of his own; and Claude's business is drawing questions from the police. And as the ghost becomes increasingly violent--and the secrets of The Cake House and her family's past come to light--Rosie must finally face the truth behind the losses and lies that have torn her life apart.

Praise for The Cake House

"Intense and savagely beautiful, Latifah Salom’s The Cake House grabs you, then grabs you harder.  The magic of this suburban-gothic literary thriller is the scale on which it’s done—small and absolutely terrifying. An accomplished, mesmerizing debut."  —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander

“Reading The Cake House, I vividly saw the whole edifice rising up before me, latticework covering a multitude of sins. A wonderful, chewy, complicated book that doesn't flinch from danger or pain but rejects despair.” —Naomi Novik, author of Uprooted and the bestselling Temeraire series

The Cake House is a gem of a novel: a mystery wrapped in a cloak of family dysfunction with subtle Shakespearean trim expertly woven in by an incredibly gifted debut novelist. Rosaura is a heroine with spunk and a vulnerability so endearing I missed her the second I closed the book for the final time. Salom has written a dazzling coming-of-age tale that will resonate long after you reach the end.” —Elizabeth Flock, New York Times bestselling author of Me & Emma and What Happened To My Sister

“Tense, shocking, and seductively dark, The Cake House is a brand-new twist on a classic story—an urban reinvention of a Shakespearean tale.” —Rebecca Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of The Kingdom of Childhood

Latifah Salom was born in Hollywood, California to parents of Peruvian and Mexican descent. As a teenager she attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and she holds degrees from Emerson College, Hunter College, and from the University of Southern California's Masters of Professional Writing program. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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ANN PANCAKE reads from her short story collection ME AND MY DADDY LISTEN TO BOB MARLEY

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 18th, 2015

Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley: Novellas and Stories (Counterpoint)

Ann Pancake's 2007 novel Strange As This Weather Has Been exposed the devastating fallout of mountaintop removal mining on a single West Virginia family. In Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, a follow-up collection of eleven astonishing novellas and short stories, Pancake again features characters who are intensely connected to their land--sometimes through love, sometimes through hate--and who experience brokenness and loss, redemption and revelation, often through their relationships to places under siege. Retired strip miners find themselves victimized by the industry that supported them; a family breaks down along generation lines over a fracking lease; children transcend addict parents and adult suicide; an urban woman must confront her skepticism about worlds behind this one when she finds bones through a mysterious force she can't name.

Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley explores poverty, class, environmental breakdown and social collapse while also affirming the world's sacredness. Ann Pancake's ear for the Appalachian dialect is both pitch-perfect and respectful, that of one who writes from the heart of this world. Her firsthand knowledge of her rural place and her exquisite depictions of the intricacies of families may remind one of Alice Munro.

Praise for Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley

"[P]owerful, sure-footed and haunting..."--The New York Times

"Pancake's novel is shockingly pure, like holding gold in your hands, or wheat--all the chaff winnowed away." --Orion Magazine

"Lush descriptions of the landscape are matched with a hurtling stream-of-consciousness narration to great effect: one doubts neither the characters' voices nor their places in a very complex poverty." --Publishers Weekly

Ann Pancake’s most recent book is Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley (Counterpoint 2015).  Her first novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been (Counterpoint), was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of the year, won the 2007 Weatherford Prize, and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award and the 2008 Washington State Book Award.  Her collection of short stories, Given Ground (University Press of New England) won the  Bakeless award, and she has also received a Whiting Award, an NEA grant, and a Pushcart Prize.  Her fiction and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies like Orion, The Georgia Review, Poets and Writers, and New Stories from the South, the Year’s Best.  She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University.

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KELLY HUDSON and DAN KLEIN discuss their book FUDS: A COMPLETE ENCYCLOFOODIA FROM TICKLING SHRIMP TO NOT DYING IN A RESTAURANT

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 18th, 2015

FUDS: A Complete Encyclofoodia from Tickling Shrimp to Not Dying In A Restaurant (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Since the FUDS parody menu went viral through the Brooklyn foodie scene, then the broader food world and the even broader Internet in 2012, people have been clamoring for the recipes behind those menu items. (Well, actually, no, they haven't, because most of them consisted of baffling nonsense words [Mini-hrak cuddles with malonies] or otherwise sounded disgusting [Dead dog co-plated with yam clippings and a leafy sage dumping.] Oftentimes, both.)

BUT.

People HAVE been clamoring for more of the deliciously absurd humor that characterizes the FUDS brand. And since that spot-on menu send-up, the young comedians behind it have spun out an entire "cookbook and field guide." Here are tips on planning a seasonal menu that's likely to make your guests ill; tips on kitchen safety that could leave your sous-chefs badly charred. And, of course, recipes for all the FUDS classics: Roundeye Flank Stringers with a Yankee-Poisoned Marinara and Fuzzy Rice Curds, Shitty Chicken Spanked with Cinnamon-Garlic Dirt and Dimpled with a Freshwater Whale-Tit Sauce . . . and the cult classic Bill Clinton Sandwich! The cookbook is designed and illustrated with a straight face--with a foreword by master chef Mario Batali--perfectly balancing the anarchic humor suffusing this parody. Your pretentious foodie friend has been asking for it: introduce them to the wonderful world of FUDS.

Praise for FUDS:

"This is the greatest book about food ever written since "Food Moby Dick."" - Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

"For anyone interested in culinary writing, I urge you to read it. I mean, you don't have to. I don't want to force you. No one has to do anything they don't want to." - Jenny Slate, Human Woman

"Take three teaspoons of genius, two cups of brilliance, and one pint of YES and you've got FUDS." - Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live

"I've been eating food for most of my life, but I never knew just how complicated, glorious, effervescent, and metaphysical it could be until I read FUDS.- David Rees, author, How to Sharpen Pencils

"I highly recommend this book to those who haven't read it yet, like me." - Robert Smigel, TV Funhouse

"I don't need this stinky little book." - Mario Batali, from the Foreword

Kelly Hudson is a writer and producer for AdultSwim.com.

Dan Klein is a writer for Funny Or Die.

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ARTHUR BRADFORD reads from his collection TURTLEFACE AND BEYOND: STORIES

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 8th, 2015

Turtleface and Beyond: Stories (Farrar Straus Giroux)

Please welcome back to Skylight Books, one of our favorite short story writers, Arthur Bradford!

 Paddling down a remote, meandering river, Georgie's friend Otto decides to do something both spectacular and stupid: He scales a sandy cliff that rises from the water and runs down its steep face, preparing for a triumphant running dive. As his friends look on, they watch something awful unfold: Otto lands with an odd smack and knocks himself unconscious, blood spilling from his nose and mouth. Georgie arrives on the scene first and sees a small turtle, its shell cracked, floating just below the water's surface.

Otto and the turtle survive the collision, though both need help, and Georgie finds his compassions torn. This title story sets the tone for the rest of Arthur Bradford's Turtleface and Beyond, a strangely funny collection featuring prosthetically limbed lovers, a snakebitten hitchhiker turned wedding crasher, a lawyer at the end of his rope, a menage a trois at Thailand's Resort Tik Tok, and a whole host of near disasters, narrow escapes, and complicated victories, all narrated by Georgie, who struggles with his poor decisions but finds redemption in the telling of each of his tales. Big-hearted and hilariously high-fueled, Turtleface and Beyondmarks the return of a beloved and unforgettable voice in fiction.

Praise for Turtleface and Beyond:

“Arthur Bradford’s work is uncategorizable and unprecedented, but if pressed, you could call it the improbable spawn of Raymond Carver and Roald Dahl. His stories are hilarious and strange, playful and deadpan, and often involve animals and strange injuries to these animals or their human friends. The world of Bradford’s fiction is populated by dreamers, doofuses, banalities, and mysteries, and somehow it’s a world you don’t want to leave.”—Dave Eggers

Turtleface and Beyond is filled with glorious little fables that are both yummy and nourishing.”—Matt Stone, co-creator of South Park and The Book of Mormon

“Arthur Bradford has the strange, poetic humor of a real writer, but his outlandish plots involving animals and/or underachievers read like pulpy page-turners. While reading Turtleface and Beyond, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to these injured reptiles and oversexed beach bums.”—Sarah Vowell

“Arthur Bradford’s stories are told plainly yet seductively. You might call them funny and lovely and laconic until you get to the twist and damage that swims beneath them like an unseen snapping turtle. They take straight roads to crooked places and I would read them all day until I was done and you should too.”—John Hodgman

“Writer and filmmaker Bradford will appeal to David Sedaris fans willing to visit the wrong side of the tracks . . . With bad choices and bizarre situations aplenty, Turtleface and Beyond encourages the reader simply to laugh at the strange turns life can take.”Booklist

Arthur Bradford is an O. Henry Award–winning writer and Emmy-nominated filmmaker. He is the author of Dogwalker, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, McSweeny’s, VICE, and Men’s Journal. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and serves as the co-director of Camp Jabberwocky, the nation’s longest-running residential summer camp for people with disabilities.

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CHARLES BAXTER reads from his newest collection of stories THERE’S SOMETHING I WANT YOU TO DO

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 8th, 2015

There's Something I Want You To Do: Stories (Pantheon Books)

From one of the great masters of the contemporary short story, here is an astonishing collection that showcases Charles Baxter'sunique ability to unveil the remarkable in the seemingly inconsequential moments of an eerie yet familiar life.

Penetrating and prophetic, the ten inter-related stories in There's Something I Want You to Do are held together by a surreally intricate web of cause and effect--one that slowly ensnares both fictional bystanders and enraptured readers. Benny, an architect and hopeless romantic, is robbed on his daily walk along the Mississippi River, and the blow of a baseball bat to the back of his knee feels like a strike from God. A drug dealer named Black Bird reads "Othello" while waiting for customers in a bar. Elijah, a pediatrician and the father of two, is visited nightly by visions of Alfred Hitchcock. Meanwhile, a dog won't stop barking, a passenger on a transatlantic flight reads aloud from the book of Psalms during turbulence, and a scream carries itself through the early-morning Minneapolis air.

As the collection progresses, we delve more deeply into the private lives of these characters, exploring their fears, fantasies, and obsessions. They appear and reappear, performing praiseworthy and loathsome acts in equal measure in response to the request--or demand--lodged in each story's center. The result is a portrait of human nature as seen from the tightrope that spans the distance between dreams and waking life--a portrait that could have arisen only from Baxter's singular vision. Readers will be stunned by his uncanny understanding of human attraction and left to puzzle over the meaning of virtue and the unpredictable and mysterious ways in which we behave.

Praise for There's Something I Want You To Do

“These accomplished stories of precarious marriages and family strife are so laced with paradox and the unexpected and so psychologically intricate, one turns them over and over in one’s mind, seeking patterns and gleaning insights…. Rooted in Minneapolis, its industrial ruins so poetically rendered, these ravishing, funny, and compassionate stories redefine our perceptions of vice and virtue, delusion and reason, love and loss.” —Booklist, *starred review*

“Bare storylines can’t convey the quickly captivating simple narratives…or the revealing moments to which Baxter brings the reader…Similarly, Baxter, a published poet, at times pushes his fluid, controlled prose to headier altitudes, as in ‘high wispy cirrus clouds threatening the sky like promissory notes.’ Nearly as organic as a novel, this is more intriguing, more fun in disclosing its connective tissues through tales that stand well on their own.” —Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*

 “Five stories named for virtues and five for vices make up this collection from a master craftsman….Baxter’s characters muddle through small but pivotal moments, not so much confrontations as crossroads between love and destruction, desire and death….The prose resonates with distinctive turns of phrase that capture human ambiguity and uncertainty: trouble waits patiently at home, irony is the new chastity, and a dying man lives in the house that pain designed for him.” —Publishers Weekly, *starred review*

“Baxter’s delightful stories will make readers hungry for more. Fortunately, there are more out there, and one hopes, more to come.” —Library Journal, *starred review*

“Charles Baxter is nothing short of a national literary treasure. To read these stories—hilarious, tragic, surprising, and indelibly human—is to receive revelation at the hands of a master. Who but this writer has such intimate knowledge of our most shameful depths, and who else can illuminate them with such stunning aptness of word and thought? These ten linked stories, fraught with loneliness, ultimately reveal the unbreakable ties between us all.” —Julie Orringer, author of How to Breathe Under Water

“With his latest collection, Charles Baxter has given us something altogether new in contemporary fiction: a series of moral tales that contain zero moralizing. At the center of each of these stories is a pivotal request—something I want you to do—and the ensuing narratives unfold with the nuanced complexity we’ve come to expect from Baxter, with a theological acumen few contemporary writers possess. Here is a cast of characters unparalleled since Sherwood Anderson’s Book of Grotesques, with a modern-day Minneapolis as tangible and strange as his Winesburg, Ohio. A stunning and unique work from one of the living masters of the story form.” —Jamie Quatro, author of I Want to Show You More

“Charles Baxter’s stories proceed with steady grace, nimble humor, quiet authority, and thrilling ingeniousness. In this his latest collection, all is on display—as are his honoring of the mysteries of love and his dramatic explorations of American manners, mores, family, solitude, and art. He is a great writer.” —Lorrie Moore, author of Bark

Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, andHarmony of the World.  The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included inBest American Short Stories. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

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DAVID VIENNA reads from his parenting book CALM THE F*CK DOWN

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 8th, 2015

Calm the F*ck Down (Knock Knock)

Based on a no-holds-barred post that swept the internet, Calm the F*ck Down is for parents who desperately need a chill pill. This helpful how-to offers a diaperload of practical advice from parenting blogger David Vienna, and shows that common sense can get you through most parenting dilemmas. The guttural stepsister to Keep Calm & Carry On, Calm The F*k Down includes advice from actual experts and blends authoritative and humorous in equal parts.

Praise for Calm The F*ck Down:

“Step 1: Buy this book. Step 2: There is no second step.” —Farah Miller, editor Huffington Post Parents

“If Vienna's CTFD had been available four years ago, the money I could have saved on antacid and Grecian Formula would easily fund my daughter's first year of college.” —Dave Engledow, author of World's Best Father

“David Vienna is a singular voice of reason amidst the obnoxious echo chamber of parenting philosophies and self-help guru-dom. His humor will persuade you to let your guard down, and his honesty in the face of one of life’s greatest challenges—raising children—will have you feeling sane again.” —Charlie Capen, creator HowToBeADad.com

“We’ve become a nation of risk-averse, safety-obsessed, Purell-loving freaks, and David Vienna thinks it's time that we all just calmed the f*ck down. Hilarious, helpful and—most importantly—the antidote to the age of over-parenting.” —Melissa Sher, creator of Mammalingo.com

“I've been trying to calm the f*ck down since the minute I found out I was pregnant with my first baby. Literally. Like, I'm medicated for it now so I'm mostly okay, but this book is like yoga for my obsessed-mother mind. I feel so Zen after reading it! And I also got a great ab workout from all the laughs. I think it should be required reading for all parents. Heck, can it just be required reading for everyone? Because I think parents and non-parents alike could use a little CTFD when it comes to dealing with kids.” —Jill Krause, author of Baby Rabies

David Vienna is a father of twin boys, a former journalist and spent a few years writing for reality television. That one really awesome episode of House Hunters—yeah, that was his. He covers parenting issues at TheDaddyComplex.com and other questionable sites, and has also spoken at the Dad 2.0 Summit. His work also appears in exquisitely crafted drunken emails to his friends from high school. He loves E.L.O., ’70s horror films, Philly cheesesteaks and napping.

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CECIL CASTELLUCCI reads from her young adult novel STONE IN THE SKY, and BEN LOORY reads from his new children’s book THE BASEBALL PLAYER AND THE WALRUS

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores by skylightbooks on March 8th, 2015

Stone in the Sky (Roaring Brook Press) The Baseball Player and the Walrus (Dial Books)

Please join us tonight as we celebrate the launch of Cecil Castellucci's Stone in the Sky, as well as the paperback release of Tin Star and the 10th anniversary of the release of Boy Proof, which was just named as one of the top 100 best YA Books of All Time by Time Magazine! For today's event Cecil will be joined by Ben Loory, who will be launching his first children's book The Baseball Player and the Walrus!

"Brother Blue.

His name, even the color, filled me with a furious fire of pure hatred."

Years ago, Tula Bane was beaten and left for dead on a remote space station far from Earth, her home planet. She started with nothing and had no one, but over time, she found a home, a family, and even love. When it's discovered that the abandoned planet beneath the station is abundant with a rare and valuable resource, aliens from across the galaxy race over to strike it rich. With them comes trouble, like the man who nearly killed Tula years ago—the man she has dreamed of destroying ever since.

In this sequel to Tin StarCecil Castellucci takes readers on an extraordinary adventure through space in a thrilling and thoughtful exploration of what it means to love, to hate, and to be human.

Cecil Castellucci is a two-time MacDowell Colony fellow and award-winning author of twelve books for young adults, including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes,First Day on EarthYear of the Beasts, and Tin Star. She lives in Los Angeles.

. . .

From acclaimed short-story writer Ben Loory comes a sweet and poignant story of friendship.

Once there was a famous baseball player who seemed to have it all. He made lots of money and had fans from around the world. But, he didn’t have the one thing he wanted most—happiness. That is until he went to the zoo. There the baseball player sees a walrus who “makes funny noises” and “flaps its flippers” in glee, and he decides he wants the walrus in his life.

When the baseball player leaves his job to spend more time with his new best friend, trouble arises in zoo paradise. Hopefully, the pair can find a compromise that will keep everyone happy and even leave a little time for one last game.

The Baseball Player and the Walrus brings the love of baseball and of friendship together in a humorous story of how we find happiness in the most surprising of places.

Author Ben Loory lives in Los Angeles and is the acclaimed author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, which Kirkus has called “one of kind.” His short stories have appeared in the New Yorker and on NPR’s This American Life. Visit him at www.benloory.com.

Illustrator Alexander Latimer lives on the outskirts of a national park, where rogue porcupines wander the nearby streets, though he has yet to find any walruses. He is also the author of The Boy Who Cried NinjaLion vs. RabbitPig and Small, andPenguin’s Hidden Talent. Visit him at www.alexlatimer.co.za.

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